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Crystallisation in the Flow Frames


#1

As an experiment I left the Flow Super on over Winter. From memory the Flow had 3 frames about 30% capped and the other 3 perhaps 10%. I figured that the bees could use this over Winter and all would be good for Spring/Summer.
What I found was the bees uncapped and capped randomly on the frame I could see (didn’t want to open the hive) The status quo seemed to be maintained even though there was a lot of movement.

Over the last couple of months the rear observation window was starting to show more and more, what looked like crystallisation.

!
Sorry about poor quality pic.

I have now taken what honey would flow, as there is sufficient nectar and pollen about and the pic above shows what is left.

Not overly concerned at this time as I believe the bees should get to work and clean up all the cells.

Any comment? Seen this before?


#2

Just thoughts as I haven’t seen it before in any type of frame, so maybe it has happened because of the internal hive temperature over the winter being a bit lower than ideal.

I think the bees will clean out affected cells and eat the crystallized honey, likely re-storing it.A case of sit back and let the bees do the hard yakka.
Cheers


#3

I’ve seen it exactly as on your pic. The bees cleaned them out real well (cells looked as new) when they were ready to fill them, not before.
Had one frame once, frame 6, that partially had capped honey that crystallized over winter, then the bees filled the rest with fresh honey in spring. Was leaking terribly at harvest.
Still figuring out how to avoid that in future.


#4

Any moulds built around empty flow cells?


#5

Think I recall reading somewhere that putting the frame in upside down might work?


#6

Not sure if the flow frame would fit though?


#7

The frames can’t be fit upside down unless the Flow Super box is also fitted upside down, but with crystallized honey I can’t see it working as it would not flow out of the cells. Just my thinking.
Cheers


#8

No mould in the empty cells


#9

Thanks Busso, your ventilation obviously worked well, but not mine! What had you done and how big are your vent holes? Thanks.


#10

Will it rinse out with really hot water?


#11

Idea is to get the bees to take out what is in the cells and store it else where as they can’t use the cells upside down


#12

I don’t think I have to worry. Already the cells are getting cleaned out.
As I tapped all the honey which would flow only honey crystals were left and the bees are in there cleaning.


#13

I had this happen too after leaving a super on over winter- later on the bees refilled it and I harvested without issue. I am not sure if I will leave flow supers on over winter going forward- as they dodn’t fill them with honey and they became damp- with some dark mold.


#14

Yes me too. I am leaning toward leaving it on again next Winter.


#15

I left a couple on and a couple off. I was going to drain the off ones but didn’t get there and the on ones were always full of bees otherwise they’d have come off too. I have a feeling I have some crystallised full Fframes. I’ll probably put them back on and see what the bees do with them. Maybe the hive temps will liquefy them…


#16

Thinking further Skeggs, and in the simple way of bee keeping maybe the best option in our climates is to leave the crystallized honey frames in the hive and the internal hive temperature will convert it back to honey as the ambient temperature rises. I guess this also happens in the ‘wild’.
Cheers


#17

I doubt it. The temperature required to re-dissolve crystallized honey is higher than would be healthy for a hive! :blush:

To quote from Wikipedia “The melting point of crystallized honey is between 40 and 50 °C (104 and 122 °F), depending on its composition.” I think most hives would have trouble surviving this temperature, and the comb in the hive would likely melt or at least slump massively too.


#18

Interesting to read that Dawn, so as crystallized honey ‘disappears’ from a frame is it that the bees consume it in that form. I thought they would have preferred honey in liquid form, maybe that is true as they would consume it easier.
I’m still learning…
Regards


#19

G’day Peter, I’m pretty sure the bees consume it. I read that one reason why bees need water is so they can use the water to help liquefy the crystals. I notice that any jellybush honey returned to the bees is normally gone next time around.

@akthommo finished up with jellybush honey in flow frames last year. I don’t know what the final outcome was. Maybe the bees consumed it before replacing it with regular honey.


#20

I guess the temperature melting could work for the middle frames, but didn’t work for my frame six in the flow super, the outside frame.
In future, I will make sure to drain the outside frames for winter, even though there is some nectar coming in, getting deposited in the middle frames.
Frame 6 is on the south/east side, the coldest, so the bees avoid it in winter, and whatever is in there can crystallize easily, depending on forage.

I have seen bees decap cells and fill out the cells further, not sure if they took the previous honey out or just added to it. I was surprised, since I read they don’t decap.
Things you read.

Cool that flow hive 2 has a window on the other side.