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First time harvest take it slowly


Further to my previous posts. Yesterday I harvested the remaining 5 frames.
In all bar the very last frame to connect there was no leakage around the box or on the bottom board slider.

The 6th frame did leak just a little onto the bottom board slider. Maybe a teaspoon or less and I believe this came about from my lack of patience
Being last to connect and well behind the others I unlocked the frame in 3 steps rather than the 5 or 6 steps on the other frames.

My recommendation for first time Flow harvest (if not other harvests as well) is to unlock the cells in 5 or 6 steps. Doing it this way a frame took me about 1 hr 15 minutes to drain.

So the first harvest is complete with 18.3 KG (nett) of honey.


@busso Did you do the harvest on Sat in 40degC temps or on Sun in 30degC temps?


Other than the comfort of the beekeeper, does it matter? Does honey flow more smoothly when it is hotter? Do the bees mind?


Honey does flow better when it’s hotter but the bees probably keep the temperature in the super relatively stable and so, theoretically, outside air temp shouldn’t massively impact the speed of harvest.

Now that I’ve harvested quite a few times and the harvested honey isn’t accessible to the bees, I am confident to open the frames, head inside for a cup of tea and go back and open the next section.

Currently I’m doing the frames in 2 steps (however, I tilt the hive up at a pretty steep angle and it’s my second year of harvesting); I’d suggest being more conservative, like Busso, for the first few harvests and then cautiously experiment to see if you can cut down the number of steps required.


Did you check your flow frames for complete capping beforehand?
I found what I see in the observation window Is not an accurate indicator of percentage of capping of the entire flow frame.
In fact all my middle frames have a brood nest size of uncapped honey/nectar, even though the front cells I can see are full and largely capped. Whereas my outside frames’ front cells appeared largely uncapped, partly filled, but the entire frame was fully capped otherwise.
Observed the same in my brother’s hive. He wanted to harvest his middle frames, but only the outside ones were ready.
I harvested a middle frame once without checking, the water content was 19.5%, and yielded only just over 2kg. Guess the bit of uncapped nectar went back into the hive.
Today I harvested a fully capped frame, 3.4kg. My first good and ready ripe honey! I wouldn’t have known without checking the day before.


Sunday Morning 27 deg


Yes .
I waited for the side window to show fully capped then extracted frames 2, 4
and 5 and they were fully capped. 3 was previously harvested and I could see down to the other side of 1 and inside of 6


I am learning a lot from here. I just harvest a few to I am not sure if I did it right…


You can
A. Test the honey with a refractometer for 18% or less water content.

B. Do the honey in water test. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh5-LAKL2lw

C. Do a search on this forum for other tests for ripe honey.

If your reading this forum I am sure you did it right. And hey if you didn’t there are no penalties, you just eat the honey faster if not ripe and sort it next time.

I have been eating slightly un ripe honey for a week or so and is just beautiful. I keep it in the refrigerator though.


But, @busso, did you actually physically take the frames out before harvest to check properly!
Just asking, because I encountered a maybe unique to my bees stumbling stone, that I would like to share with somebody who really took out their frames before extraction as well.


Yes. To get the first frame out was a bit of a struggle, but with it out, just like regular frames, the other were OK. Next time I will only take out 2 frames instead of the 3 this time as with moving them around the box you can pretty well see all both sides of the frames in the box.


When I take the flow frames out to check for capping, my bees suck up all the honey from most of the cells near the extraction window, but leave the rest alone. By the next day all is full again as before.
I am just not sure what the bees are doing? Next time I will check without smoke.
I can see though which frames are fully capped and will extract those 2 days after, when they brought back the honey to the window cells. It’s just odd, and don’t hear from many others with shifty bees.


Yes I had a lot of problems with the bees capping …particularly the frame nearest the window. They capped the majority of cells but leaving small holes in the cap. These holes fully capped seemed to shift from day to day.
The moment I saw most (90% or so) fully capped I took the honey.