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Crystallized flow frames and mold in flow frames

Hi everyone. I’m in North-east Victoria, and just did my first harvest. The yeild was so, so. Not as much as would have hoped from 100% full and capped end cells. So post harvest, I inspected some flow frames. Most were at least still 1/2 to 3/4 full of what I can only guess is crystallized honey that didn’t drain. I removed the frames and by putting then in the sun (it was 40 degrees here yesterday) was able to extract about as much honey again, but there’s still heaps left. Any advice?
My main concern though, sorry to double up, was that two frames had what I think is moldy cells around the edges. These were the only cells in the whole super that the bees had not filled. Ive emptied and cleaned one with hot water. Here are some pics.

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Hi Sammy, you must be getting a fair bit of moisture into the hive for that mildew to appear. It will normally appear in areas that the bees aren’t occupying. It’s best to try to eliminate excess moisture into the hive.

If you’re lucky, the bees may cycle the remaining crystallized honey out.

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Hi Jeff. Thanks for that. Do you have any tips for moisture proofing the hive? I will certainly cut back a bush that hangs quite close over the hive before next Autumn. I suspect it was dripping water onto the hive…

The only tip I would have is to replace the roof for a migratory lid. Then replace the crown board for a hive mat. Then the bees will propolize around where the roof meets the honey super. That’ll keep the inside dry. You can paint the lid white, that’s to keep the hive cooler during the summer months.

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I didn’t think of Benalla as a high humidity area but it must be to have got that amount of mildew. You could soak the frames in a bleach to kill the mildew spores for a few hours then rinse in water and air dry them. As well as a hive mat as @JeffH has said you might try a few layers of hesion or cut up a towel when the wife isn’t watching and place it on top of the hive mat, once a week air it in the sun if it is damp.
I would also consider placing a vent at each end of the roof to give some air flow that will also help keep the hive drier.
It might be worth removing the Flow Super off the hive in Winter when the bee numbers in the colony are less.

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My bees propolised about 6 rows of cells open. They ran some hive beetles up in them then sealed them in the super. I had to clean the propolise off of the super with bleach because it was a huge mess and the bleach broke it down. I rinsed it very well and used some more wax to give an incentive to the bees and while they were air drying the bees were landing on them and inspecting them. I agree giving more ventilation might head off the mildew. However since my hives have gotten stronger the mildew in my high humidity area as stopped.

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Clever bees, using them as jails :smile: …sounds like a mess tho. Nice to hear your bleach treatment worked!

I think you made a good point too - mildew has less chance of getting a hold in a well-populated hive.


here in South Australia I have also had frames darkened by mildew. Especially on frames left on over winter- and in particlar frames that are not full of honey. For that reason alone we no longer leave the supers on over winter. Moving forward my ongoing plan is to remove the flow frames at the start of winter and replace them with an ideal shallow box.

I’ve had moderate success cleaning the frames using nappisan- soaking them in it and then spraying them down with a high pressure hose. the bees also do some cleaning up themselves. I haven’t tried bleach- does anyone know if that could damage the plastic?

I am hoping one day flow might offer a trade in deal for old dirty worn out frames- offering a replacement set as a discount?

I haven’t tried a strong bleach like ammonia Jack, but I have used a ‘basic’ laundry bleach for ages now and had no ill effects. Laundry bleach does the job for me.
I also soak wooden frames after I cut the comb out when they have done a few years service as well as scorching them to kill any nasties, that might be an over kill for some bee keepers but I figure it won’t do any harm.

Hi Jack, do you have some old dirty worn out frames to trade? I have some 30 year old wooden frames that are still going strong.

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Nuh, uh. No thanks. :upside_down_face:

All our frames are still working well 3 years in. The darkening bothers me more than the bees I think. I am just thinking down the track. And yes- there is nothing wrong with wooden frames- at a $1.60 a pop- they are an absolute bargain.

but for me: little in beekeeping beats harvesting a flow box! The sheer ease of it! caveats and all.

I had an ugly(ish) box of flow frames that I cleaned a bit- put them on and the bees have entirely filled the box over the last 8 weeks. I start harvesting this afternoon if I get a chance. That will involve 15 minutes of light work to gather maybe 5-6 kg’s off the first two frames. It’s a joke how easy it is. Then I will spin out maybe 12 beautiful virgin wood foundation frames of the most stunning honey. I wired them up 10 weeks ago and the bees capped them out sooooooo nicely. That’s gonna require considerably more effort… but it’s all good- I do both.


Hi Jack, your bees did a beautiful job on that frame.

I’m holding out til Tuesday, that’s when I’ll see what honey is available to rob out of 1/2 of my hives. A lot of my hives are down on population or non existent due to splitting & a poor season. However the colony customers have largely dried up, so hopefully my hives will build up again.

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I fear we are heading for another poor Summer for the bees. Maybe because of the loss of the amount of bush due to the bush fire my hive are not building up as strong as in the past I suspect. A lack of rain so the remaining bush is not producing much nectar. It isn’t looking good. How are things looking at your Wises farm site Jeff?

Not too bad at Wise’s Farm Pete, the bees not far away at Kuluin are doing better for some reason. I’ll have a better idea on Tuesday. That’s when I check the doctor’s hives as well as more than 1/2 the hives at Wises.

My bees are getting a lot of backyard honey plus what’s growing on the motorway, as well as whatever gum trees are in flower. There’s a few Brushbox trees around that flower this time of year as well as Bloodwoods should be in flower soon.

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