Hi we were about to extract honey for the first time and not sure whether it is ok to do so on a windy day.
Hiya BooBees, welcome to the forum.
It’s windy alright! Yes you can harvest when it’s windy but.
My hives are facing east and when behind the hives the bees are blown at me which usually makes me jump. I like to wait for it to warm up first so the honey flows faster and usually the wind has eased by lunchtime.
Normally I don’t wear any protective clothing when Flow extracting but the Flow’s over and the bees are looking for other sources so it may be wise to at least wear a veil when beginning to gauge their attitude.
Let us know how it goes.
Cool. It is still a bit windy so we’re going to delay extracting for another day. Dad is saying that when it is windy the bees are grumpy.
How long does it take to empty one frame?
There are factors like the heat of the day and how thick the honey is being the main two that varies the time it takes for a Flow Frame to fully drain, But anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half is ok. The main thing is to take your time doing it, open 1/5 of the frame at a time and only open the next 1/5 when there is just a trickle of honey coming from the tube. heck the hive is tilting towards the back of the hive. Take a frame out you want to extract and visually check that at least 80% of the frame is capped on both sides that way you will know the honey is ripe and your not extracting nectar that will ferment (spoil). I examine the frames the day before I plan to extract.
Your Dad is right that bees are more angry on a windy day but with a Flow Hive your not opening up the hive and the bees aren’t aware of what you are doing till they realize the frame is empty so a windy day doesn’t matter with a Flow Hive like it does with a Langstroth.
Okidoki. So we don’t have to leave it draining overnight to make sure it is completely empty?
The frames we are about to extract are 100% capped on both sides, but still covered with bees. We don’t think we are going to give it any chance to spoil, we are going to eat it straight away
I drain my frames over night with a plastic tube fitted to the extracting tube into a bee proof pail, Best to extract all the available honey there is, if you try to rush the job there is a risk of honey flooding. I do 3 frames at a time with my set up. When you have extracted just check the leak back gap is open at the base of the chamber where the disc fits in so that any drips are cleaned up by the bees and doesn’t build up in the chamber and spoil. Common for bees to still be on a capped frame.
You don’t have to drain over night but it is the best way.
Okey, I’m confused. Is it “40 minutes to an hour and a half is ok.” or "I drain my frames over night, drain over night but it is the best way. "
I am searching the flowhive website for more specific information but can’t find any.
If you can fit a 25mm plastic tube from the Flow extracting tube to a firm fitting hole in a honey pail lid that you make the hole in the lid bee proof so that bees can’t get in then that is the way I do it, you can drain the frames and leave it all hooked up over night so that there is no honey remaining in the draining chamber. Next morning use the flow key to close the frame cells and close the hive up.
Hey Boo, unfortunately you’ll find more useful extracting advice here on the forum than on the Flow website.
There are tried and proven methods of successfully extracting Flow frames, and, like most things beekeeping, everyone thinks their own way is the best. They are, of course, wrong because my way is best.
Really it’s all dependant on the viscosity of the honey which is why extracting on a warm day is advised but not essential.
The biggest issue by far is leaking frames. Often this is not obvious and by the time the honey has leaked down the faces of the brood combs and out the bottom it’s too late.
You may like to be a bit more specific as to your location as some areas have the dreaded SHB and some don’t and this will vary advice.
Anyway, harvest in increments (1/4-1/5, you can use a marker on the key) and ensure there is an air gap at all times in the tube exiting the Fframes. When to open the next increment depends on that air gap.
Once fully open and your precious harvest is only dripping out close the frame but leave the hose in for a while.
Honey, being hygroscopic, absorbs moisture from the air so It’s best to minimise it’s exposure so my harvest goes straight from harvest bucket to sealed storage. I have a bucket with 2 holes (2 Fframes) that the pvc extension pipes fit snuggly into and a 3mm hole as a breather also in the lid. This keeps the bees out and minimises smells that will attract bees at this time of year.
I wouldn’t expect to take more than 2 hrs to harvest and have done it in an hour on a hot day during the Marri flow.
I agree 100% with that Greg, climate can dictate to a huge degree on advice we can give and WA has the whole range of climates. We are not needing the actual address of the hive but a nearby town can be a huge help in accurate advice.
Cool, that was helpful @skeggley. According to this website there is no small hive beetle in Perth, hopefully it is up to date.
Our plan was to harvest direct into 750ml jars to minimise water absorption. Today the weather is still windy and coldish, so we’ll find a day next week when it should be warmer although I thought that inside the hive is a constant 35 degrees or so, so the honey should be viscous even if the outside temperature is cooler.
We already have the keys marked every 10cm. My dad had a major catastrophe two years ago before we learned about the incremental harvest. He also found that with the weight of honey the frames bowed downwards and they were pretty much resting on the queen excluder. It was a big setback for our new beekeeping journey.
That’s what my dad does, but there will always be honey in that bottom trough on the next day, no matter how long he waits, that’s why I asked whether it need to be done overnight.
Yes, you are correct, no SHB in The SW of WA but there are further north and your profile only said WA. Every area can have its own little micro climate so being a bit more specific allows others in that area give more accurate advice based on their own experience.
Sounds like you guys have all the harvesting plans in place, well done.
Bowing frames are an issue I’ve had too, as you say they can bow down and mess with the bee space at the excluder and often it will be waxed and filled with honey. When opening the frames the bow will straighten and could also cause unexpected leaks. Once again a reason I like to harvest on warm days as the wax is more malleable. And just in case you don’t, using 2 keys is also good practice.
Only the brood nest needs to be kept at that temperature, keeping the entire hive contents at 35 deg would be a waste of beenergy.
Cool. I have two ‘Location’ fields in my profile for some reason. One is WA and I added Perth foothills to the other.
Thanks for your help.