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Bees will not remove cappings on drained flowframes

For some time the bees have not fully removed old cappings from the flow frames after robbing. They clean up some cells and refill them and cap them as per usual, but when we inspect the frames before robbing we can see ‘older differently textured/colored caps’.
on inspection these cells are empty so remain closed to the bees for honey storage.
This can dramatically reduce the amount of honey stored in a frame. Its been happening a while now - Any Thoughts anyone ?

Where are you located?

Does opening and resetting the frames help? Have you manually uncapped them to see if this encourages them to fix everything up?

Thanks for your response
located SE Qld half way between Bris and the border

  • opening and resetting doesn’t seem to help, have tried scratching some off but doesn’t seem to make any difference. They are definitely old cappings, and when I remove them the cells are unfilled. Tried hot knife removing them on one frame and they remain unworked by the bees. Its happening on several hives in both standard flow supers and in a flow hybrid - so it seems that the bees are not interested in fully cleaning up old cappings off emtied cells.

Hi David, it would be good to see some photos, primarily to see if there is any discoloration. I have seen how bees wont fill comb with honey after recent hive beetle larvae activity. The beetle larvae leaves a dark stain which is basically a bee repellent.

Hi Jeff, thanks for your reply and thoughts. I didn’t think to take photos, but will endeavor to do so in the next day or so. The usual look of a filled and capped cell could be described I suppose as a wet creamy semi translucent appearance (i.e. you can tell that there is something behind and right up to the semi translucent surface). Those with the old unremoved cappings look ‘dry’ and are a pale cinnamon to light brown. We have luckily had few problems with SHB (using suspended oil traps under the brood box base) and have not seen dark cappings as you mention, although there is dark film inside the end colums on the flow frames where the bees chase the few beetles that manage to get up there, and as you say - the bees wont go there afterwards.
Cheers
D

G’day David,
I have seen it before where the cells still have some candied honey in them and for some reason they don’t uncap them. Potentially some liquid honey may have drained out leaving candied honey behind and on a quick inspection the cells may have looked empty but the bees are happy to leave it there as stores.