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Crystallised honey in flow frames...how to extract?

How do flowies deal with crystallised honey in the flow frames? Extracted this frame yesterday. 1kg of honey out which was well below our expected amount. Pulled the frame today and over half the frame is full of crystallised honey. Weather is nice and warm so probably couldn’t ask for better conditions to extract. All I can see to do is soak the frame in hot water to remove the crystallised honey and clean out the frame. Any advice out there?

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Could you put it in a slightly warm oven (45-50°C) with a bowl or tray underneath with the cells open? I’d make sure the oven isn’t actually on so the plastic doesn’t get any hotspots.

Or maybe you could do the same by wrapping most of the frame in a black plastic bag and putting it in the sun.

Be careful you don’t exceed 70°C anywhere on the plastic!

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A solution… I placed the frame in a clear plastic tub with a clear lid in the sun. The heat built up in the tub (up to 65 degrees) has softened the honey (and wax) and the honey is running out when I crack the frames. Thanks to everyone for the feedback. It will be interesting to see if the extracted honey quickly recrystallises.

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Hi Dale, that’s a great outcome. It wont matter if the extracted honey quickly crystallizes & it probably will. The main thing is that it’s out of the frame. You can store it in small jars so that it will quickly decrystallize out in the sun or in a dish of hot water

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Crystalised honey returns to liquified honey at 40-50°C or so, so nice trick.

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I seem to be having this issue also.
I’m on my third attempt to extract honey.
The first time I got about 3 kilos from 2 frames - a bit of a test run about 6-8 weeks ago. The honey was fairly viscous at the time and I noticed the bees didn’t chew off all the capping as I expected they would.
The second time, I brought the whole super inside to extract the remaining frames.
This time there was a mixture of flooding, normal extraction, and patches of honey retained in the flow frames. I extracted another 3 kgs.
The third time today, I brought in again a very heavy super. Initially, I put it in a (hot) box in the sun, but, approaching winter, couldn’t get enough heat to warm up the honey. I then stuck the whole flow super in the oven on 50 degC for 2 hours. I covered the top of the super to avoid any risk of radiant heat on the flow frames. I also chucked in a thermo to check the temp didn’t get too high.
I got a bit under 1kg of runny honey and the rest (I estimate about 9kgs) is still there.
I repeatedly waggled the flow keys to try and jar the honey loose and can see the frames are clearly in the open position. I can also pull the frames out and see plenty of capped honey as well as cappings with no honey below.
My mission is to get the honey out, let the bees clean up the flow frames and remove for winter.
The problem is, I can’t get the honey out and don’t want to be messing with the hive (for clean-up) as it’s getting too cold to open them up. I timed this last attempt with fine weather to get the flow super back on the hive, but no joy.
I’ve extracted a kilo or so of uncapped honey to feed back to the bees but would welcome any ideas on how to extract the remaining honey without using a high-pressure hose.
Cheers

If you have access to a honey centrifuge, you could uncap the frames carefully with an uncapping fork and gently spin them. You have to be careful, because the force can strain the wires and the frames could fall apart. If it is a “tangential” spinner, rather than a “radial” spinner, I would try to give the frames some support from a cake cooling rack or something similar to avoid this. :wink:

Thanks Dawn! I don’t have access to a centrifuge and wouldn’t know how to use it.
Perhaps I can extract as much honey as feasible (not much - I’ve got about 100mls in 22 hours so far from one frame), then return to the hive for a clean-up. I can then remove again and freeze the frames with honey before storing over winter. I’m trying to avoid mouldy frames so what would be the best way to store? I was just going to put a roof over the flow super and inner cover then slot flywire between the flow super and base.
I think it’s really odd there are so many empty capped cells that the bees have not chewed through to clean up. Has anyone had that before?
Cheers

Sorry this is a bit late - guessing your super is probs back on the hive again by now :relaxed:

I did have this happen with a couple frames this season, which I figured was due to a relatively poor fall flow after the usual summer dearth around here. The spring flow was also not as robust as last year’s. I think my colony might’ve done a more thorough cleanup if there was more incoming nectar to store. Instead they probably concentrated it in the brood box and just a few of the Flow frames.

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