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First season, second harvest, brood in frames, but harvest anyway?

First year with Flow. Have harvested all frames once, no queen excluder used and there were no brood laid in flow. During normal inspections and in preparation of second harvest, now have center two flow frames with brood in center. Brushed all bees down into two lower brood boxes. Added excluder. What are next options? If I wait for hatch, can I just harvest as normal without further action or do I need to do something else. For note, this is late in season, we are in New Hampshire. Thanks.

It is likely that most of that brood is drone, because the Flow cells are too deep for regular brood. So when they hatch, the drones will be trapped above the queen excluder. They will probably kill themselves trying to get down into the hive through the excluder, unless you provide a top entrance for them.

The problem with harvesting is going to be the cocoons in the brood cells. I would expect those cocoons to get in the way of any honey draining vertically down in the frame. If it was my hive, I would take the frame out of the hive to harvest it, and open the frame over a tray to catch any leaking honey. Not very convenient, but at least you won’t lose it. You will then need to remove the cocoons yourself. It will probably be easiest to dismantle the frame completely, wash in hot water, then reassemble. The honeyflow.com website has some good videos on how to dismantle and reassemble the frames. You probably shouldn’t sell the honey you drain from the brood frames - it will have larval feces in it. :flushed:

Listen to @Dawn_SD Dawn and always have your flow frames above an excluder. Flow frames and brood do not play well together.


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You probably shouldn’t sell the honey you drain from the brood frames - it will have larval feces in it. :flushed:

I found this comment genuinely interesting and have been pondering it since you posted it. I have never heard this raised as a concern before as the bees thoroughly clean the cell before back filling it with honey, but I am interested to know if this is a common concern, and I just haven’t ever come across it?

I know have the cocoons will be an issue with the flow and will need to be removed, but I can think of two instances where I have heard of reasons for ex-brood frames in honey supers.

A beekeeper I once spoke to at a meeting said that it was common to use brood frames in the super after the first year (or arbitrary period of time really) as the cocoon/lining made the comb far stronger and less likely to deteriorate under centrifugal/mechanical extraction. He did mention it affected the colour of the honey and he suggested using fresh frames if the honey was for competition use.

The second would be the Warre method of nadiring when adding new boxes as the new boxes are always added to the bottom and the other boxes ‘pushed up’ until they are rotated off the top and the honey removed. In this situation, all the boxes essentially rotate through the brood nest at some stage, so it would be expected they contain cocoons etc. before they contain honey. The warre people don’t seem to mind!

So I don’t disagree, just interested if others had heard similar from elsewhere!

I think it isn’t a concern if you are going to centrifuge the honey out. However, @Dee started a long and somewhat amusing discussion on another thread when she posted this comment:

My thought is that if the feces is trapped between the outside of the cocoon and the plastic cell wall of the Flow frame, any honey running down through the cell wall split has the possibility of washing some larval poo into the honey. Minute amounts, sure, but enough of a chance that I wouldn’t sell it. I might feed it back to the bees, or give it away to problematic neighbours… :smiling_imp:

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Thanks for the link, it appears others had the same reaction I did. It all makes a lot of sense and I am keen to find any other information/sources mentioning this and the potential impacts to the resulting honey!

When I harvest I separate the clean comb from the old brood comb. The honey is different but I have never worried about the bee poo problem.


that’s just wicked! :wink:

we just harvested two frames from our brood box- and mum used a combination of the gravity method and crush and strain to finally- after much sticky mess and over several days- get the honey out. I am not sure to tell her it may be ‘contaminated’ with bee poop…

seriously though: if bee poop was a real concern- surely a lot of honey ends up with some poop in it? Isn’t the honey itself antibacterial and hygroscopic? Is bee poop a real threat?

supposedly bee boop is mostly partially digested pollen grains and honey is bee vomit. If we eat the vomit so happily- and it’s so good- maybe the poo’s not so bad? :wink:

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G’day Jack, I think your right on the money there. This topic was discussed quite a few months ago. It hasn’t changed the way I extract honey out of frames that had previously been used for brood & then turn around & sell it.

The honey I got out of the tree recently springs to mind:) It came out of really old comb & that’s the honey Wilma doesn’t want me to sell, she likes it so much.

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Maybe people spend so much of their working lives taking poo from other people, that they don’t want to eat in their honey? :smile:

Seriously, I can’t see it is a major health risk. After all honey from wild hives (as @JeffH mentioned) and honey from skeps will always have larval bee poo in it. However, I also know that @Dee would never sell it, and I suspect she wouldn’t eat it given a choice, but I have no proof of that… :wink: (She is remaining determinedly quiet on this subject this time around. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)

Personal preference. I prefer not to grind it into my honey and neither would I chew cut comb with brood cocoons in it. And no. Honey extracted from a flow frame or spun out of a traditional frame will not have larval poo in it. Larval poo remains between the cell wall and the cocoon until liberated by crush and strain. I have no qualms about extracting and eating honey from comb that has been brooded. That is a completely different animal to crushed brood comb


…yet ironically we’ll ever-so-happily eat what amounts to nectar that has been regurgitated. Regurgitated multiple times at that. :smile:


Wilma & I have eaten bee larvae/pupae, We cook it first & find ways to disguise it in the meals. I haven’t had any desire to eat it uncooked, however I think it would be chocked full of vitamins & enzymes & safe to eat. There are some cultures where the people eat it straight from the comb. The bears & honey badgers are primarily after the brood, the honey is a sweet reward.


I’m not keen on eating insects…I guess it’s a cultural thing. I have eaten a cooked Mopane worm once on holiday in South Africa. I was rather drunk though but not drunk enough to forget that I shouldn’t ever do it again.
Snails are quite good though but really only just taste of garlic :slight_smile:


But snails aren’t really insects, are they? :smiling_imp:


I am really keen to get a written source so I can use this information in training. I had a look yesterday and found a few similar discussions/posts but I haven’t found anything referencing a source. Do you have any books/scientific articles that discuss this and the potential impacts on the resultant honey? It definitely makes sense, just wanted to find a reference!

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I bought a can of snails once & had a taste. It was the most disgusting thing I ever tried to eat. At the time we had an oscar fish in a tank that ate garden worms. It wasn’t the least bit interested in the snails. I guess that put me off snails for the rest of my life. On our flight from LA to NY, someone told us we had to try a NY Pretzel after I told her I wanted to buy a hot dog from a NY street vendor. I found out you don’t have to worry about giving them a tip. They take out a quite substantial tip before giving you the change. Getting back to the pretzel, we both thought that was pretty disgusting. And here’s me buying one after I saw 3/4 of one lying in the gutter. That should have been a good enough indicator.