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First Harvest - Lake Macquarie

This is my first Flow Hive and the bees arrived early in October with the super being added mid Oct. They’ve been working like mad and the Flow super filled rapidly once it was fully waxed.

Yesterday I checked to make sure the flow frames were sufficiently capped. All frames were 99 to 100% filled and capped (only the rear line of cells to go), except for frames 3 and 4. These both had oval areas about 75 to 100 mm wide and 50 mm high and a little towards the front of the frame where they looked like they hadn’t even been waxed.

Under these areas there was burr comb joining up with the QX. As I lifted the frames this broke (I cleaned it from the frames) and spilled honey into the brood area.

Two thoughts came to my mind - first was that the bees were saving this area for brood. Second was that they’d eaten the honey or fed it to brood. However, the plastic looked unwaxed so this seems unlikely, especially as there has been a good nectar flow here.

This morning I harvested all frames, but only took half of those centre frames to prevent honey leaks.

It seemed that most frames give 3 kg so I opened the frames in sections, and as the first bucket filled the flow slowed so I could swap in the second bucket and open the rest of the frame.

Most frames gave me two 1.5 kg buckets, centre frames gave one 1.5 kg bucket each.

Pic 1 is the first of the honey as it’s starting to flow. I dipped my finger in the flow to taste it, but forgot I was wearing a veil. Hmm, that didn’t work well. :slight_smile:

That’s 15 kgs for the first harvest, and would have been 18 kgs had those centre frames been filled.

So now I’m thinking of what to do with those centre frames. One thought is to leave them in place in the hope the bees wax them up and fill them. Second thought is to swap them for fully waxed frames from the outside as the bees might be more likely to wax those areas if they are not over the brood.

Perhaps somebody can give some advice on that.

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Congrats on your first successful extraction. I would do what you suggested and put the frames next to the viewing windows so that you can monitor it in future. It could be that the cells haven’t aligned enough for the bees to seal and store honey. Make certain that you reset the frames positively after extraction.

Also, I don’t suit up for extraction. So a veil in the way is not a problem. Have you got the flow super the right way around? I extraction side opposite of bee entrance? :sweat_smile:

It’s a great feeling of achievement to get your first extraction done. The bees have left the crescent in the middle frames for the queen to lay brood, but of course she can’t. What I would do is swap those frames to the outside positions and place fully extracted frames to the center so that the bees will be more inclined to use all of the cells for honey storage.
Made me smile about sticking your finger into the veil to taste the honey, I would bet your not the first to have done that.
Cheers

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Thanks for the advice about moving the frames.

FFFred, yep the entrance is on the other side of the hive. I started setting up for the extraction without the veil, also in tee shirt and shorts. However, the bees were buzzing me so I had to change to jeans, long sleeves and veil. I didn’t think the full suit was warranted. I think they were just exploring but I’d set up a bench and chair and didn’t want things to escalate into a bar fight. :slight_smile:

I’ll swap the frames when I can get in there. Having fire bans on and off means picking days carefully.

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I just love success stories. :heart:

Done that :laughing:

Happy for your first harvest Kim!

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Second harvest today. It took the bees five weeks to replenish the super and I undid all that work in an hour. 18 kgs this time as there were no blank spots on the frames.

The taste is quite different. #1 was light and floral, #2 is very slightly darker but stronger and sharper in taste. Like going from a Merlot to a Shiraz.

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5 weeks later and extraction number 3 a few days ago - Feb 29th, a date not often found on things. :slight_smile:

Once again the honey is very different. This time it’s darker and smoother, no sharp sweetness. I had an inch or so in the bottom of a jar at the end and just ate the whole lot with a spoon. Normally that would be burning my throat with sweetness, but this batch is almost creamy smooth.

With the rain in the last few weeks we’ve had Murraya trees burst into flower like crazy in my area, so perhaps that’s what they’ve been foraging on.

I think this might be my last extraction until spring, unless yesterday’s sudden heat continues through the next month.

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