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Can a viewing window help when to rob


I am waiting on my flow hive and like so many others, reading up on every little bit of published info on bees.
My hardest task was to determine where to place this question. I figured that because there was already some talk on windows in the FlowHive suiper it would be here. My apologies if it isn’t the best.

Anyway, there is a lot written on when to harvest your honey and the general consensus of opinion seems to be when 75% or 3/4 of the frame is capped. When there are 6 or more frames in the FlowHive super, it would seem you need to examine all the frames , thus disturbing the hive to determine when to “crank” to extract the honey from the flow hive. Doing this inspection often maybe detrimental to the hive.

I also observed from the many YouTube videos, that the bees tend to start capping in the frames at the middle of the hive and work outwards. So if you had a viewing window on the hives side and see 75 % capping on the frame closest to the window, could you be reasonably confident that the super was ready to rob or at least use it as a guide to inspect.
I realize this may be a all academic and from experience you just know when to inspect for capping with a degree of confidence tand not disturb the bees unnecessarily.


That sounds pretty correct to me


You had me there, thought you were referring to other bees taking the honey but you meant yourself as the robber. Think we call that “harvesting”. Nicer term, the most assured way is to lift the lid and have a peek across the top of the frames for consistent capping. I wouldn’t rely the 75% rule as there could moisture still in the honey and it may ferment. Lifting lid really won’t disturb them, it when you pull the brood frames and move them around after an inspection that will set them back a way, necessary evil, it has to be done occasionally.


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Hi Busso, from my experience, if a super of honey is chock-a-block, fully capped & ready to rob, the outside frame & the side closest to the wall will be the last one capped. It would be good to have a viewing window on both sides. So if the side closest to the window was 75% capped, you could be reasonably confident that the hive is ready to rob.


so when are you getting your Flow hive @JeffH


Hi Valli, I haven’t ordered one. I’m probably what you’d call a frugal beekeeper. I’m working between 60-70 hives. I wouldn’t have a clue which one to put it on. Plus with our $ buying around 75 US cents. It makes the exercise fairly expensive. I think at the moment I can think of better things to do with that kind of money. However, I wish you & others well when your Flow hives arrive.


Thanks people.
What a surprise to get up this morning to all the replys and I felt humble that someone with 60-70 hives was answering.
I think perhaps I was looking for permission or an excuse to put in a window. Now I could probably justify putting a
window in each side.LOL
However, I feel reassured now that with hands on I will get to know the hive, all its inhabitants and how to look after them.

The rob/harvest terminology seems very loose. I must admit I am not comfortable the term “to rob the hive” but my late father had 3 hives and that was the term he used. I also see the term “thief window” used often to refer to the window where the honey flows in the FlowHive.

Having to wait till December to get our hive, I feel like 73 year old child waiting for Xmas.

Thanks again


Hi Busso, your most welcome. The term “robbing the bees” is used a lot around my place. Now the term “robber bees”, that’s different… The term “reasonably confident” in my reply to your question, just leaves a tiny bit of room for the possibility that there may be on the very odd occasion, brood on some of the frames. Also the possibility that some of the honey in the center frames could be unripe. A physical inspection of each frame is the only way to have a 100% guarantee.


Hi Jeff. I looked at your record honey harvest video yesterday. Fantastic work and thanks for all your input. I’ve designed a window to go right up against the side of my honeyflow super. This should allow me to check the capping without disturbing the bees. I can see how the way you do it would work for you. I noticed in your video, you visually check each frame and only select frames that are more or less fully sealed.

In the video, you seemed to be cutting quite a bit of honeycomb with the uncapping knife. You were saying you deliberately space the frames so the sides of the comb are convex. I can see how this would make uncapping easier but I couldn’t see what was going on with all the uncappings.

I know the uncappings get rescued and the wax recovered but does the honey sliced off with the caps get rescued too?


Thanks JeffH,
I understood what you were saying in the only 100% certain way, was to inspect each frame.

Just a further question. Is it likely, in the event you took the honey from say the inner most 2 frames because they were capped and ripe, the bees would restart those inner 2 frames before preceding to the outer frames. Or would they just carry on and finish the outer frames then return to the centre ones.
I ask this because with the Flow Hive it is possible to select the frames to empty. I’m guessing though the whole super should be harvested at the same time.



Hi S’master, thank you, yes the honey in the cappings runs through a false floor in the bin & into a bucket. The drained cappings get warmed so the wax comes to the top & the honey is retrieved, you can see that in my processing beeswax video. The water after processing the wax gets used in my vege garden as does the slumgum. However, care needs to be taken in relation to slumgum as shb love to breed up in it. thanks again, cheers, ps, go the maroons.


Hi Busso, if your in the middle of a honey flow, you could harvest the whole lot. If you harvest say 2or3 frames from the middle, I believe the bees will work on those 2or3 frames at the same time as finishing the other frames off. I guess it depends on the hives population a lot. In my case, if I select 4 frames to rob from the middle of a super, (I use 9 frames in a ten frame super) I will put the other 5 frames together on one side & put the 4 stickies together on the other side. Chances are, next time I rob, the 5 frames I left behind will be ready to rob, but the other 4 wont. A lot of the times, that’s how it works out. Sometimes I’ll only take one frame out of a hive & leave the other 8 behind, then next time the 8 are ready but the one is not. But to answer your question, the bees will work on all the frames together, provided there is a full box of bees. I only use 1 box for brood & 1 box for honey (all deeps), I have a large bee space in the lid, if the population explodes, it shows in the lid. I’ll ttyl, bye


Thanks Jeff, a bit more slotted in the memory banks.



Yes nicer description, but robbing the hive still seems to be a well used term.

I am getting the message that I should not rely on any single indicator but when all the indicators add up, lift the lid and look at the frames.