First Flow Harvest, and Brood Inspection

I drained one frame this weekend, as I’ll be removing the flow supers and beginning fall treatment and management next week. It is so unbelievably cool to harvest directly from the hive, especially after harvesting a few frames the traditional way, so much simpler!

I opened in sections, and had no leakage at all. I removed the frame after to inspect, and the majority of the capping wasn’t even broken.

Afterward, I performed a full inspection. The upper brood box was almost completely full of honey, all 10 frames. In the lower brood box there was only brood on 2 1/2 frames. I’m nervous that they may not be strong enough going into winter. I can’t tell if her laying has been choked off with honey above, or is she simply not very prolific.

Any thoughts on next steps?

I was thinking of replacing a couple of the honey bound frames in the second brood box with empty frames next weekend to see if she increases laying, but if that doesn’t work I’m running out of time for re-queening. There are still drones flying right now, but cool weather will be here in a few weeks (20C highs and 5-10C nights) so I think the opportunity is fading fast.


Were there empty cells in the lower box? In other words, was there space for the queen to lay if she wanted to? Bees are really good at anticipating seasons, so if there is some space, I would just suggest that your queen is winding down in preparation for winter. I would only put empty (preferably drawn comb) into the brood box if there is absolutely no space for the queen to lay.

The hive doesn’t want a big population to eat all of their stores over winter, unless they are Italians, in which case they love being numerous and greedy! :smile:

There were still some empty cells on those few frames, but all the other frames were completely packed full of honey, nectar and pollen.

I thought of that, but find it hard to believe they would be that much different than my other hives, which seem to be consistently laying across both brood boxes still, although they are from different stock. This hive is not Italian, but a very local mixed mutt from a gentleman running over 50 hives for the last 15 years in our area.

I’ll inspect the other hive I got from him next weekend and compare.


It will be interesting to see if there is a marked difference between your local ‘mutt’ bees & your Italians. An indication perhaps that they are acclimatised to your location & more ‘aware’ of local conditions? Perhaps they will overwinter more successfully too? Look forward to reading your observations after your next inspection.

1 Like

Well I inspected the other “local bee” hive this weekend, and it is nearly identical, only half a frame with eggs/brood in the upper box, and 3 frames in the lower box. Almost every other frame is a mix of honey and pollen.

Amazing how different from my other 3 colonies which are still laying a basketball sized patch through the middle 8 frames of both upper and lower boxes. 2 of those colonies are queens from swarm cells in July that both appear very Italian; bright gold color. The queens in the “local bee” hives look smaller, and darker. The last queen is my only remaining queen from 3 NUCs purchased in June, and is reputedly mainly Carniolan.

The new queens came from frames with swarm cells ,one I transferred into a queen castle, the other directly into a queenless hive. Interesting side story, I had attempted 2 swarm cell frames in the queen castle, and after 4 weeks it appeared only 1 queen was successful. I introduced her to another queenless hive, and pulled all 4 frames that were left in the queen castle out, but left the castle on the hive stand. A week later I went to empty the castle to find the remaining bees had drawn out 2 brand new combs attached to the lid, and they had eggs in them. I searched, but could not find the queen, so I moved the combs into a frame, and put them in a new box. Sure enough this weekend when checking I did indeed find a queen happily laying; pleasant surprise. I’ve added them into my long double deep hive to see if I can get them up to the equivalent of 3 or 4 double frames before winter, and hopefully with the shared heat they make it through.

1 Like

I like your harvesting jar and tube setup. Did you make it or buy it made like that?

I added the honey gate to the jar. It is a nice clear jar, and comes with a vacuum seal lid.

I cut the clear plexi lid for the tubing.

In order to mount the tubing on the flow tubes, I had to soak it in boiling water for a few minutes to make it soft and pliable enough to stretch over the hard plastic flow tube. Makes a nice tight fit.

This season I will make a second lid that will accommodate 3 or 4 tubes at a time.

Wishing winter would end here,


1 Like

Do you mean it creates a vacuum? The honey doesn’t back up in the tube? Some people on the forum have mentioned that an air-gap needs to exist so the honey can flow out more easily.
What is your experience with this? Your honey seems to flowing out okay though, and not too high in the top Flow tube.

I was careful to open the flow frame in sections so the tube never completely filled, worked great for me, but I was happy to hang around the beeyard and play with it.

I’m not sure if opening all the way may contribute to leaking in the hive that others have seen. I didn’t want to test my luck.


Ah okay, that makes sense :slight_smile: