Hello everyone - I’m delighted to share my first Flow harvest was a success this week!
I was nervous leading up to harvesting:
- It’s a little later than I usually harvest
- The end cells of my frames were not capped - they didn’t even have any honey in them
- I’d done an inspection a couple of weeks ago to see how much capped honey there was in my flow frames and several had about 80% capped honey, but doing that check sparked some interest from local wasps, and I actually saw one IN an end cell in my Flow super, despite having a robbing screen on the entrance
- I was concerned about robbing wasps and bees being overly interested in my harvest
- Having seen posts of first harvests gone awry with honey flooding down into the hive, I was sure this would spark a robbing frenzy and be bad news for the girls
Nevertheless, we gave it a go! It was a nice warm day - about 90 F. We set up some straw bales to support the jars during harvest, used some plastic wrap to cover the tops, and I had pliers, a wooden skewer, jars, and a fly swatter for good measure in case of wasps.
I started with center frames I’d seen honey in and took it slow - inserting the key 1/4 of the way, then 1/2, then 3/4, then all the way over a few minutes’ time. The honey flowed beautifully! I was really pleasantly surprised at how few bees and wasps came back to investigate. I kept my veil nearby just in case but didn’t wear it for most of the team - brilliant!
I harvested all the frames so the girls could clean them up and I’ll remove the super for winter this week, and add in a varroa treatment. Again, a little late, but I didn’t know about Hopguard, which you can use before harvesting honey instead of needing to wait until after the harvest. Good to know! I also tend to keep the hives closed up late summer as I often obeserve robbing activity this time of year.
Using a refractometer, only one of the jars from the end frame was at 18% water - everything else was 16% or below! Hooray bees!
I keep 2 brood boxes over winter and the top one is currently filled with honey, so they should be strong for winter. I’m so excited about the ease of the Flow Hive and plan to purchase a second - this year my other hive needed to be harvested the usual way.
Happy harvesting everyone!