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Bees moving honey so it is always evenly distributed


#1

I’m running a single brood box, a Flow super and a regular super in my hive. I’ve been wary of making sure that the colony always has a bit of extra space to build into, as I had an unexpected swarm late last year (like 6 weeks after I caught the initial colony).

The colony seems to be in the habit of evenly distributing honey amongst the frames, though, so there is a fairly even amount in all frames at all times. It’s making it really hard to actually get a harvest out of the Flow frames

For example:

  • I had 2 Flow frames last week that were 90% capped, and I planned on harvesting them this week.
  • 2 of the regular frames in the top super were full last week, so I took them out and replaced them with empty foundation.
  • This week, when I look, they’ve uncapped parts of the Flow frames and moved honey elsewhere.

Am I being overly cautious? Should I be waiting longer until I can harvest a big chunk of the hive at once? Is there any way to get them to fill the Flow frames before the regular ones on top?


#2

This is a good question. I too am planning on harvesting this weekend as one hive is now full. I was planning on just draining the FF’s however as the four outside frames are fully capped (hybrid) I was thinking of extracting them also so they didn’t move the honey around.
Do they still move the honey around once it’s capped and there is still a flow on?


#3

From what I can see, yep. I haven’t done full frame inspections each time, but I can see from the back inspection window that previously capped cells have been uncapped and emptied.


#4

I have been carefully observing same, and noticed they mainly only uncap the cells we can see and largely leave the Centre ones alone.
May have to do with the bees’ perceived risk area, because the open window introduces light.
Have been checking frames after the front cells have been emptied, and all good towards the middle.
So before I harvest, I check the flow frames by taking them out and check them for capping, with the least amount of smoke.
Then the bees shift honey from the cells near the extraction window, but not all over.
2 fo 3 days later everything is back to normal, and you can safely extract according to the capping you saw at inspection.
Next time I will check the frames without smoke, perhaps the bees don’t feel a need to ingest emergency honey to store elsewhere.
But I know for sure I will inspect my flow frames for capping before extraction.
My raw honey will never be sour honey.

Oh, and beware of the brood nest size uncapped nectar the bees like to leave in the Centre frames.


#5

They certainly do! Especially if you really don’t want them too… :smile:


#6

I believe that bees move honey around primarily so the queen can lay eggs in the cells. I don’t believe that bees move honey from one honey frame to another. That would take a lot of energy to do with no gain for the hive. I believe the bees consume honey, that would account for the cells being uncapped & the honey removed. Then as more honey comes in & is processed it could be stored in a different comb. That would give the impression that bees move honey around.

PS, on the subject of harvesting the honey: As “bee farmers”, we need to take into consideration certain factors. #1 being the flow of pollen & honey at the present & into the future. & #2 the weather & time of the season. Once we factor both of those into the equation, then we can determine how much honey to take.


#7

Mine had nectar stored in several flow frames that was visible in the back window a few days ago…now it’s gone…