Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Capped cells leaking into hive when harvesting - photo attached


Hi Tom, On this forum when I joined it I realized that there is a core of people who are very helpful and give good advise to beginners and through to open discussions about idea to improve our procedures in bee keeping. I have never thought I know as much as I still have to learn, that book is never ending.
Often something that seems unrelated to an issue is worth considering so don’t give up on the Flow system. My first harvest was a disaster of epic proportions, when I re-leveled the hive from the tilt to the back honey and bees flowed out the entrance. I thought I had done everything right but obviously not so and I was so disappointed.
I visit my brother at Carrara and would be happy to give you some time to have an eyeball and chat about your issue, it is what the forum is about


I havn’t deliberately done that- but I did use a ‘hybrid’ flow super with traditional frames as well- the outermost faces of the outermost flowframes have a wider bee space than is normal- and the bees do cap them out further than normal when there is a good flow on. However I stopped using my hybrid as I found the bees so much preferred the traditional frames.


We all hear about the deep freeze you call Winter but I’m totally blank on how long and hot your Summers get?

“and delight in trying to figure out what conditions honeybees naturally favor.”
To quote your profile Doug, I figure a bees life is so short they accept and favor what the weather and conditions are now where ever they are. Somehow they seem to adapt to some pretty harsh conditions at either end of the spectrum.


Imagine this Peter…it’s fall and the New Zealand package producers are busy prepping packages for the long flight to Canada. The queens that go in those packages were produced some weeks earlier and banked…but generally bees naturally are winding down big time in the southern hemisphere.

It’s a 20 hour flight for them to get to Vancouver, Canada…on the way they stop at Hawaii where they are fed/watered…finally they arrive on the west coast of Canada. Then they are loaded on transport trucks and moved inland (12 to 15 hrs bumping down the highway…over snow covered mountain passes…then into hot valleys where the truckers are worried that they may be over-heating)…finally they arrive in Edmonton where I pick them up. Some continue further inland for another 12 hours. I load them up and haul them another 4 hours north. The whole process from NZ to my beeyard will take 5-7 days.

Then in the evening I shake those wound-down southern hemisphere confused bees into my hives and the next morning I observe them orienting and by the afternoon they are bringing in loads of pollen and water. The species of plants they see are new, the sun is to the south…not the north from whence they came. The last time they flew in New Zealand there was very little around for them to bring into the hive…now they sit near at least 1000 acres (500 hectares) of willows loaded with pollen and if the weather is warm, nectar also. They get to work immediately as if the past hadn’t existed. It really is amazing how they adapt…and speaks to an evoutionary complexity shaped by time…alot of time.

But since beekeepers value their bees for their livelihood, they go to great lenghts to make sure the bees aren’t exposed to harsh conditions…otherwise they are out of business. The only harshness that comes to mind would be during our winter…where often they are confined for 4-5 months…it’s not the cold per se that they experience first hand as they are protected …it’s the lack of ability to fly.

Our spring/summer (the time they can bring in pollen/nectar) is about 4 months long and the summer temps can get up to 38C but in our area, unlike Australia, the nights cool down nicely to 16C-20C.

Photo shows our package hives working spring willow…back in the days when we ran them outside (now it’s inside beehouses all year) …note the 2" styrofoam insulation on each hive…they are happy bees.


Hi Peter, thank you for your kind offer. I would appreciate that. I presume you can message me somehow? (I am new to this forum.)


Thanks Doug for painting such a vivid picture, it is a real eye opener and obviously the bees are well cared for in transit by those involved in their journey.
We have a saying here to describe where you live in a remote area, “it is out the back of beyond” and it sure fits what you have said.
Thanks again


Ironically it’s far from remote…although some would debate that. The highway from Edmonton (450 kms) is 4-lane…the city that my bees are located on the perimeter of, has a population of 70,000 and services 160,000 in total. It’s a young people’s city where there are more under the age of 5 yrs old than over 65 yrs old…unofficial mascot is “a young pregnant woman”. Young people thrive here as there is lots of work and good paying jobs…lots of young people interested in beekeeping. Sorry for bursting your bubble!:smile:

Lots of young Aussies working in the ski resorts here…


Hi Tom,

I’m really sorry to hear about your leaking Flow Frames. I can see other Flowbees have offered a lot of advice and suggestions, but I’ll also add to the topic my observations.

  • I can see a lot of uncapped cells - which means the honey can leak out the front of the Flow Frames when you harvested. The best thing is to pull out the Flow Frames and check they are all capped before you harvest.

  • You are using 2 Supers and say that they are not interested in the Flow Super. I would remove the normal Super so they have to use the Flow Super. With this hot weather and lack of rain, there may be a low flow on in your area, affecting honey and wax production.

  • If you take out the Flow Frames from the Flow Super - this may not represent how they function normally in the Flow Super because they are able to flex more. When they flex this can cause the capping to split. When they are in the Super together this prevents excess flexing. If you feel like harvesting away from your hive, the best thing to do would be to take the whole Super off and place on a tray, etc.

  • You could check your wire tension in case they are loose causing excess flexing. This can be fixed pretty quickly if needed:

  • The Flow Frames are designed with offset heights to allow the bees to build out the wax cappings further to prevent splitting during harvesting. If you allow more time for the bees to work on the Flow Frames, they should be able to fill out the Flow Frames better - thicker caps, and all the honey capped.

  • The Flow Frames have larger cell sizes compared to regular wooden Langstroth frames, so you actually get more honey per frame compared to wooden frames.

I hope that helps and you have great success in the future :slight_smile: :honeybee:

Here is our harvest checklist in case you haven’t seen it yet:


When you are ready to harvest honey from your Flow Hive, have a look at the harvesting checklist below.

The Flow Hive 2 has new additional features which make the experience of harvesting honey even easier. Please note: some of the steps are different from the original Flow Hive Classic and those in the Flow Frame Manual.

Harvesting Checklist

  • Wear a suitable protective bee suit to minimise stings.
    Check out this Flow® sponsored safety pamphlet for an introduction to beekeeping safety and first aid.
  • Ensure that the hive has a slope towards your honey outlets.
    Flow Hive Classic

    The whole hive should have a 2.5 to 5-degree slope toward your honey outlets. You can check this with a spirit level app on your phone, or simply make sure it is visually obvious that it has a good slope towards where your jars will be placed. Flow Hive 2 Your base side spirit level and rear spirit level will both be aligned when the hive has the appropriate 3º angle.

  • Flow Hive Classic
    Slide the baseboard corflute slider into the closed (top slot) position.

    The corflute slider is the plastic slider in the baseboard. It has two positions. For harvesting make sure it is in the top position. This will keep any dribbles of honey that may occur within the hive for the bees to re-use. If you have a solid bottom board, ignore this step. Flow Hive 2
    Clean out your base tray prior to harvesting.
    Remove any pest treatments and hive debris.

  • Ensure that each frame you are harvesting is ready and that the bees have capped the cells.

  • Attach your harvesting shelf brackets (optional) or find a suitable stand for your honey jars.
    Check each bracket is secure and fit the Flow Super rear window cover to create a shelf.

  • Are the collection tubes pointing the right way?
    The little tongue on the end of the tube goes into the frame and blocks the honey leak back point. If the tube is the wrong way around honey may flow into the hive.

  • Do you have enough jars?
    Each Flow Frame can hold up to 2.3 L /3.2 kg, (2.4qt) of honey. If you are harvesting for the first time, it may be a good idea to start with one or two frames first to make sure everything is set up right.

  • Have covers for your jars ready
    Place a cover over your jar to keep out bees or other contaminants. Some netting, kitchen cling wrap, cloth etc. can be used to cover the open honey jars while harvesting.

TIP: The Flow key may be hard to turn
To make it easier, you can insert the tool part way and turn, then insert further and turn again.

Flow Hive Classic Harvesting Checklist



@Faroe. The time we harvested from our flow frames, the frames were all mounted in the flow super, on our dining room table. We opened the frames in increments. We still experienced flooding. We had to put a baking tray under the frames to collect the honey.

The thing about when bees don’t build the comb out far before capping is: once it’s capped, that’s it. They’re not going to add another layer onto it & cap it again.

It would be nice if the bees built every frame out evenly, with the same thickness of comb away from the plastic edge. That’s not going to happen every time with bees being bees & honey flows being sporadic.


I have done the same- taken off an entire super and drained it over a tray- from six frames I had maybe 500ml of leaking.


Hi Jack, would you consider 500ml a large, medium or small spill? 500ml would be a little over 300grams. Actually that is quite a bit of honey to pour over the brood in an uncontrolled manner.

Also there’s no guarantee that 500mils would be a typical amount of a spill.


i would consider it medium/large perhaps? In that case it was wet capped: and not deep capped, and had some edges uncapped. And I cracked all six frames fully in one go, using just one tool. It was from a hive that took ages to fill the super- months and months. I had removed the super at the end of the season.

It’s true- there is no guarantee- but from our own experience (which is a fair bit now) noticeable leaks are uncommon. My mum just harvested her hive again and saw no signs of leaks on the coreflute and no excessive agitation. We have never had any noticeable damage to hive that has been harvested. But like I say- we don’t have beetles yet thank the Lord. The first ever time we cracked flow frames was the biggest leak- that was all six at once. The bees bearded and honey came out the front entrance- since then we’ve had nothing like that.

any how- this season I am just worried the bees will never put a drop of honey in- leaks are the least of my worries. Down to my last dozen kilos!


I’m sorry to hear that Jack (your closing comment).

I’m pleased that the flow frames are working well for you & your mum.



Thanks for your feedback @Faroe, I agree that my problem seems to be that my hive is not strong enough to support two honey supers, and I will remove the traditional super.


Hi Tom, for what it’s worth, I only run single honey supers. I do splits rather than add a second brood box or a second honey super.

When it gets time to inspect the brood, I find it much easier to lift only one honey super. Also with a weaker colony by splitting it, brood inspections are that much easier. Then there is the advantage of a reduced desire for the bees to swarm.


This is a common mistake made by many by expecting their hive is stronger than it really is. The assessment I make is looking for an average over all of the frames of 80% covered by bees.
When another super is added to a hive it has a slight setback till the bees adjust to the changed conditions. It can also lead to honey stored to then be moved elsewhere in the hive using up bee hours.


Very interesting Jeff, sounds like a practical technique.