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Don't just rely on the view from the end frames to ensure all cells are capped

I know this has been mentioned already but I thought I’d just add some pictorial evidence.

The end of my middle frame (3rd from left in picture below) was starting to look almost ‘done’ so I was thinking about maybe harvesting a frame this weekend.

But I thought I’d better have a peek inside first since this is my first flow harvest and I couldn’t be sure that the bees were working the frames middle to ends. Sure enough, I have bees that march to the beat of their own drum: :smirk:


This is very good advice, no harm is done by doing this kind of check. However, I see the bees are actually in the process of capping these cells (see the partially capped cells on the right) so I feel you could safely harvest this frame without risk of fermentation as long as the other side was also at the same state of being capped.
Another tip is to think about doing a brood inspection after you have extracted, this is the point at which your Flow super is the lightest and can be removed without straining your back.


OK, great, thanks for that, I was thinking I would have to wait until they are all fully capped.

The tip about doing the brood inspection AFTER harvest is gold. I was checking the frames by myself this morning, and think, well I’m in here anyway, I might as well have a look at the brood box and check the silver bullet beetle trap I have in there.

So I lift that super full of honey off the brood box, and wow, it was heavy! The supers we moved about during my bee course weren’t that full and therefore heavy but I definitely worked up a sweat today. Of course once I got it off then I had to work up the motivation to lift it back on.

Next time, I’ll bring a friend or check it when the frames are empty as you suggest.


I know how heavy they… and its really bad for your back especially if the hive is up on a stand. Typically a full 8 frame could be 20-25kg and a 10 frame 30-35kg including the box.

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I agree on checking until you get a feel for it. That frame is fine to harvest. Most of it is capped and they are in the process of capping the rest. I say that, but that would be in my climate and most climates maybe. A humid climate may actually have capped honey that’s too wet to harvest… still feedback is how you learn. If you look at the ends make your judgement and then pull the frame and look to get the feedback, you’ll get a better and better feel for what it means for the capping of the cells when you see something particular on the ends or on the side.


Is a puff of smoke required/advised to inspect the the Flow super? Maybe a silly question :hushed:

No such thing as a silly question. If your bees are very gentle then you may be able to lift the lid and pull up a frame or two, be careful not to bump the box or squash any bees. Otherwise a puff or two under the lid to push them down then wait 30 seconds or so. No need to puff the entrance as they push them up into the Super.

Not silly at all, but you will find that unless the question has specifically to do with extraction that there is no difference between the flow hive and any other hive. So when you have a question in general, like this, you can look for information from all sorts of sources, they will all be valid ; -)

Better to puff them before they are mad. Once they are mad it’s usually too late for smoke.


3 posts were split to a new topic: My Flow Frames are hard to pull out

Great pictures - thanks for the posting. Have you harvested yet?

Thanks! Yes, I harvested 2 frames about one week after those photos were taken and got just under 6 kilos.

About 10 days after that I harvested the other four frames and got just over 12 kg! That was just before Christmas, so all my friends and family got honey for Christmas presents last year!

I harvested another 4 frames last week (early Jan) for another 12kg.

Harvesting has been so easy, calm and relaxing watching the honey flow out of that tube. Its funny when I look back at photos of the first ever harvest, I was dressed up in full beesuit but not a single bee was interested in what I was doing at the back of the hive. Now, I don’t wear a veil or anything to harvest and just save the beesuit for inspections.


A puff of smoke is advised for any inspection of any hive.


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Good report! How long did it take to harvest a full jar of honey?

Depends on how big a jar you use …Just having a giggle couldn’t resist :blush:


How long to drain a frame?

Actually, that is an interesting question…

I’m harvesting in a Sydney summer, so its pretty warm, usually in the 30s or high 20s at least and the honey is pretty runny.

Let’s say I was to open the complete length of the frame all at once, I would estimate that maybe 80 percent of the honey is out within the first 10min, however for the last 20 percent to drain out, it probably takes another 20-30 mins. So I just leave it and come back.

However, I’ve noticed that if I do open the entire length of the frame at once I get problem with the initial pressure being so great that the honey actually bursts out of the lower capped rows of the frames and runs internally down into the brood box and out the bottom of the hive onto the corflute.

So, to get around this, I only open the about a fifth of the frame length first, let the bulk of the honey run out a little, wait about 5 mins, open another fifth of the frame, wait another five mins and so forth until the total length of the frame is open. Then I just leave it for another 20-30min to completely drain.

Doing it this way takes longer (60+ mins per frame) but spills less honey.

I’m not sure if other people find this happens or my bees just don’t make strong caps? Its definitely capped - I’ve checked.


This is fantastic info, thank you so much for sharing!


Not a bad problem to have :slightly_smiling:

That’s some great info ! It’s great to have feed from others experiences n issues !