This is my first honey harvest and I live on the Min North Coast of Australia and I followed the video and checklist. The honey flowed out beautifully, very pleased but a bit of honey seemed to leak out on to the baseboard and under the hive. Is this normal also the bees have now come out of the hive and are sitting on the front wall (hundreds of them) they have been there for 2 days now is this ok and are they only there to collect spilt honey (which seems to be all gone now.)
Sounds like you may have flooded the brood comb with honey from the Flow frames. Have you opened the hive to have a look at the situation?
There are lots of posts on this forum about the problem of honey leaking down into the hive during extraction.
This is one of the longest running threads discussing the issue:
My tips are:
If you have a hive at home and time to spare:
Make a bucket with holes in the lid- and add flexible tube to the flow frame extraction tubes- this is you can harvest flow frames slowly and incrementally without any worry about bees getting interested in what you are doing. Make sure the tubes into the bucket are not airtight.
Then: only harvest one or two flow frames in one day- and harvest those frames incrementally.
Place the key 1/4 way in- turn- leave the frame to drain for 15-25 minutes. Then insert it 1/2 way in and repeat. Do this four times over a few hours. You can leave the frame draining no need to hang around. If you are doing more than one you vmcan do them at the same time.
If you follow these steps you will minimize leakages- and the brood will never have honey dripping down over more that one third if the brood. The bees will be able to move out of the way and also lick up any spills pretty much as they happen.
Using this method I have not had any observable leaks at all and no bearding outside or notable disturbance.
If you harvest every frame completely and all at once- the disturbance to the bees can be far greater. Even in those cases the bees seem to settle down after a day or two
Honey leakage seems normal so far.
Hi Carol, I would, as a matter of urgency take a look into the brood to make sure that SHB haven’t had a chance to get started anywhere. I would check every frame.
I don’t think it is SHB we have had a couple but not very many. We kill them as we see them
thanks semaphore I will try this next time.
Hello there Jeff, I notice every time there is talk of leaking you mention hive beetles… So far (touch wood) I have never seen a hive beetle. I don’t know if they are much of an issue here in south Australia.
However concerning the honey leaking from flow frames: I am not sure if it is such a huge concern: the worst leak we ever had was the first time we harvested my mums hive- that time we harvested all 6 frames all in one session- and not in increments. Some honey flowed out from the front of the hive- and also underneath it. Having said that I would be surprised it is was more than 200 grams in total. The bees bearded- and we could see flecks of honey on many of them. they set about cleaning each other- and within just a few hours they had licked up all the visible honey at the front and underneath the hive. The colony didn’t seem to suffer and was back to normal within a few days.
Since then we have used the incremental method. In my hives and my brothers hives we haven’t seen any leaks at all. In my mothers hive a few weeks ago we harvested a few frames and there were some leaks but no more than a few tablespoons of honey. surely a large colony wouldn’t have much of a problem licking up such a quantity of honey?
I understand there are few leaks using traditional methods- but there are some- when bridging comb is broken, from fat frames, etc.
Like I said: I don’t know beetles and the problems they obviously cause- but I think if you use the incremental method- and keep an eye on the flow frame wire tightness- leakages can be diminished and even eradicated. It does seem as if leaks are more likely in the first few uses of the frames.
Hi Jack, when you say “within just a few hours” of the bees cleaning each other up, that is sufficient time for the SHB, in an area where SHB are present to wreak havoc. Then there is the “known unknown”, the “Rumsfeld Factor”. We know there is a honey leak, but we don’t know how bad it is.
You said your colony was back to normal within a few days. If it takes that long for a hive to get back to normal, that would certainly be a recipe for disaster if there were any SHB in the area.
It’s difficult for me to offer any advice to a new beekeeper who keeps bees in an area where SHB are present without me mentioning SHB avoidance in the advice I give.