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First Flow Hive Harvest - A wee bit excited I am :) But I have questions!

G’day Everyone,

I have checked over my Flow frames & tey are looking very very close to being full right to the edge cells. Prior to my tyrning the key & letting the honey FLoooowwwww I wanted to just check with the experts here & ask for some tips. I do have a few questions so please feel free to help a newbee like me out :slight_smile:

  1. What time of day/ temperature of day/ should I do the harvest? Keep in mind I live in a hot climate & the week ahead will be 35C+ most days. Should I wait till a day below 30C?

  2. I have a new brood box waiting for the day I split my hive into. Now I realise this would probably need a whole nother thread, but basically, would it be wise to do the split after harvesting or let the bees re-fill the flow hives one more time (which they will do over spring-summer) THEN split the hive after that?

  3. How many KG of honey should I expect from FULL flow frames? I have ordered a 30KG size bucket with tap to drain directly into with hoses.

  4. How long does it take to fully drain the flow frames?

  5. After draining the flow frames would it be a good idea to inspect the brood box while i have the opportunity & therefore see if the brood has outgrown its home & would be best to split? ( Albit related to my Q2)

  6. There is a problem with the plastic strip that goes on the inside of the flow frame box that would normally seal up nicely with the flow frame nearest the edge. My problem is that it has buckled (probably happened when i first put the flow frame in but I didnt notice) And now there is a 4 mm gap running up the edge & the bees are not filling the edge cells near that gap. Is that a big deal? I can fix that after I harvest OR maybe seal it with something temporarily?

  7. I keep thinking of new Q’s more related to the hive split… :slight_smile: If I split the hive & move the second hive to a new location approx 10 meters away, what will the bees do? Go back to original hive? Figure out that the new location is there new hive?

Thanks in advance fellow beekeepers :slight_smile:

PHOTO 1 - You can see the flow frames are nearly full but also can see on the left there the gap made because of the buckled plastic strip.

PHOTO 2 - The bee tray - Does everything look OK in there?

PHOTO 3 - Night vision of the HIVE - I have a “Bee cam” setup so I can watch them from work if I so desire! :slight_smile:

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Just from the rear observation window, or have you lifted the frames and observed the frames faces directly?

It shouldn’t really matter if it is that warm. I like to harvest around noon, and then I have the afternoon to let the frames empty if needed. A day below 30°C might be preferable to avoid the wax slumping, but I haven’t heard of any known temperature restrictions. Maybe @Freebee2 or @Bianca might know more?

I would want to see the results of a brood box inspection before deciding about a split. I would inspect a few days after the harvest, as the Flow super will be a LOT lighter at that point.

That is quite variable. For your first harvest, about 2.5 to 2.8kg per frame. Later harvests may be up to 3.2kg per frame.

Again, variable depending on the viscosity. You will likely have most of it within about 2 hours, but if you leave it draining longer, you will get the very low water content (desirable!) which flows out last, helping to keep the quality of your honey crop high. I usually allow 4-6 hours to drain my frames.

Yes, but I would wait a day or three to let them recover.

Filling to the edge is likely nothing to do with that gap. Bees often don’t fill to the edge. I would lift the frame out and inspect the faces before harvesting. I would do that for all of the frames before harvesting. Bees can surprise you with leaving an arc of empty or uncapped cells, which might make you think twice about harvesting.

I would read this booklet about splitting before you do it. It will answer your questions better than I can - http://www.wbka.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/webAn-Apiary-Guide-to-Swarm-Control-2nd-edition.pdf

Photo 1 - looks good, but I would never rely just on the end view of the frames
Photo 3 - looks like you need to empty the tray MUCH more often. There shouldn’t be that much debris in there. I would suggest emptying and cleaning it every week or two

A couple of final things. I strongly recommend that you open your frames in 20-25% increments to help avoid flooding. Watch the Flow tube to make sure that you aren’t getting an airlock, and wait 5 - 10 minutes, between increments. Plus don’t harvest more than 2 frames per day, to give the bees time to recover.

Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou Dawn for your prompt reply & advice, all of which shall be taken on board & used :slight_smile:

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Harvesting on a warm day should be fine, here is our harvesting checklist for some more tips

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Your bucket will hold all of your honey from one harvest. Each frame holds up to 3kg of honey, so a full 6 frame super will yield 18 kg, and up to 21 kg from a 7 frame.

This depends a lot on the type of honey (nectar source in the area) and climate on the day you harvest. Warmer days = faster harvests. If you have any thixotropic crops nearby (e.g. Manuka, Jellybush, Heather) this will slow your flow right down. (Please let us know if you do have these nectar sources nearby and would like some further information on these).

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I’d tend to keep harvests and inspections separate - others may offer different opinions on this :slight_smile:

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Please could you email info@honeyflow.com with a description of this issue and ideally a photo, so we can see if it should be replaced - thanks :slight_smile:

[quote=“Beaver82, post:1, topic:28414”]

  • I have a new brood box waiting for the day I split my hive into. Now I realise this would probably need a whole nother thread, but basically, would it be wise to do the split after harvesting or let the bees re-fill the flow hives one more time (which they will do over spring-summer) THEN split the hive after that?

You will need to split your hive before your colony outgrows the brood box you have, this is really determined during inspections and by the bees behaviour - I wouldn’t base this on when you harvest as the timing isn’t really related (except to say that if you DO NOT harvest once your super is full, you run the risk of your colony starting to fill the brood box with honey and your colony becoming ‘honey bound’ - i.e. there is too much honey and not enough room for brood etc… so in that sense the harvest can sometimes reduce the urgency to split somewhat by allowing the bees room to store more honey and therefore freeing up more room in the brood box - you’ll still need to split soon though, if you want to prevent swarming - which you do :slight_smile:). Note that the best time to split can often be before the nectar flow comes on strong early in spring, as long as your colony is thriving and has strong numbers, so this can be well before you are ready to harvest.

Your two colonies will each be attracted to the hive containing their queen, and will recognise her pheromones, so having two hives ten meters apart won’t confuse them.

@Bianca do you want to add (or correct) anything here, since you have significantly more beekeeping experience? :wink:

Cool, so would the plan be to make sure the original queen goes into the new box? So the original hive will create a new queen?

@Beaver82

Hey Ryan, you might also like to check out this live video showing Cedar and Mira doing a split - I hope you find it informative :slight_smile:

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If you do a split consider removing the super so they can build up again and not have so much room to heat and defend.

Cheers
Rob.

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Yes good tip Rob… :slight_smile:

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Now that’s awesome… in that video alone I have had so many questions answered :slight_smile:

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That’s great Ryan! We have loads of information and videos showing different aspects of beekeeping, so let us know if you need anything else and we should be able to dig something up for you :slight_smile:

This is another…

Plus, as your local club is non-functional for now, you could always join https://www.thebeekeeper.org and watch some of their lessons for new beekeepers. Every teacher on that site is an experienced and respected beekeeper. It might help a lot.

:wink:

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If I split the hive & move the second hive to a new location approx 10 meters away, what will the bees do? Go back to original hive?

Yes. The flying bees, the workers, will fly back to their original hive as they have orientated to it.

The young bees will stay with the split.

For this reason it is important to overpopulate the split when making it. Add as many young bees as possible, and ideally the brood frames should be capped and ready to emerge. Young bees can be found in the super and on the brood frames. A light shake will knock off the flyers leaving the housekeeping bees attached.
If the weather allows you, closing the new hive for 24 hours after the split will also help too.
As the workers will have left, it is also important to have feed available in the hive, either a couple of frames of stores or a feeder of syrup.

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