Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Annual Maintenance on Flow chambers?

Does anyone know what we should do on an annual basis with our flow chambers? Should we take them out and heat them up a little bit to let the wax out of it? It seems like I am getting less capacity now on my 3rd season.

Bob

I would leave the bees to maintain the Flow Frames, they will either reuse the wax or store it and if there is an excess they will dis-guard it onto the brood box floor, but that seldom happens.
There won’t be a build up of wax in the chamber, any granules of wax that gets there in the flow of honey extraction will flow out of the chamber with the honey. Filtering of the honey I extract I find only dust sized particles of wax.
I would do a visual check by taking out the Flow Frame to make sure it is fully capped before taking the honey from it.
Hope that answers you question, Cheers

2 Likes

Hi Bob are you sure the frames are actually fully capped before extraction?
I find that the bees still regularly leave arches of unfilled cells as if for brood from time to time.
I can generally tell this as I only move the key in about 25% at a time and the flow level in the tube reduces when you hit sections not filled yet.
Good luck.

1 Like

Do you typically take flow frames off after honey harvest? So you can feed sugar syrup before it’s to cold.

Hey Eric, just wanted to mention you’re asking a local climate related question of one of our members who bask in semi-tropical sunshine all year round, at least compared to you up there in Wisconsin USA :smile:. Here in southeastern Pennsylvania I take my Flow super off after harvesting, allow the bees to clean up the residual honey, freeze the frames overnight then store in the super in a closed area until spring.

Fall brings a mini-flow the bees can then fill regular frames with to add to their winter stores. Might still need to feed 2:1 syrup though, as you say.

2 Likes

Hey Eric, I’m in a sub-tropical climate in Queensland, Australia and I harvest all year, except for 3 months over last Summer because of a drought and heatwave my hive are constantly increasing in excess honey stores. My practice is to always leave 2 frames of honey in a super so even then in the dearth there was still stores in the hive to carry them thru till the weather cooled and we got rain.
My winter lasts about 6 weeks when I wear jeans and sometimes a jumper, the bee brood reduces by a frame in size but the bees are always foraging. Last mid November till mid March we had record heats right across Australia and there was guys on the site talking about it. Some lost hives from comb melting and collapsing and everyone across the country suffered. The bush still had flowering but some were totally dry of nectar.
So my supers, both Flow and traditional remain on the hives as in ‘normal’ conditions there is a constant flow happening. I have never needed to feed my bees.
A lot different to your climate Eric.
Cheers

2 Likes

Thanks for replies. Yes it get pretty frigid here in winter. Could be possibly freezing from November till late March.

3 Likes

Then as @Eva says, you should definitely take off the plastic Flow super frames when the nectar flow is over. That would usually be some time between now and September, depending on local forage.

You can feed syrup until the temps get down to the mid 50s, then switch to fondant or bee candy, or even white granulated sugar. Bees won’t take syrup when temps are much lower than mid 50s.

2 Likes

Gary,

From the side window and the end of the frames, it looks like everything is capped off. I will look inside this next time to be sure. Thanks for the advise.

I wouldn’t do that. If you are getting less capacity, I would imagine that the weather and nectar flow are more to blame than wax. Bees tend to cap honey when the nectar flow slows down. Some years they may draw out the super comb cells more than others. Less flow means early capping and smaller volumes of honey. :blush:

Brood nest cells decrease in volume over time because of the build up of multiple layers of cocoons. However, comb which has never had brood in it is not subject to this problem. Bees just make a continuous lay of wax on the plastic and polish it. They don’t need to add more to the interior year after year, the only reseal the cracks.

1 Like

Removing each second Flow Frame will let you do a visual on every frame on both sides so that you are positive that 90%+ of the cells are capped and you will be extracting honey that will stay honey. I learnt the hard way once and once was enough for me not to assume what you can see in the widow is true for all of the frames.
Cheers