Had a flow hive for about three years now, last few times I ve tried to harvest the flow has been pretty much none existant, have just spend an hour to get about 500g of honey out of two frames (yes the cells were all full and capped)… does anyone else have similar issues?
That sounds s l o w… What is growing around your area? Some plants (for example tea tree) create a very thick honey so I am wondering whether this may be the cause. Is it cold where you are?
Hello Mike, Maybe edit your profile and give your location so that we can better give you advice.
It could be that you are in a cold climate and so the honey is very thick, but without you location it is just a guess.
The other possible, again depending on your location is that you have a flow of ‘tea tree’ nectar which is called “Jelly Bush Honey” in Australia, that behaves like Manuka honey in New Zealand and is a real hassle to harvest. As soon as I see Tea Tree in flower in my foraging range I remove my Flow Supers and fit traditional supers to do a ‘crush and strain’ to harvest the honey, it is so thick it won’t spin out in an electric extractor.
Hi Sorry, have edited the Profile I am in far north NSW not that far from where they invented it really. So no cold, I am on a 40 acre macca farm (not that they are flowering right now) but couldn’t really say what else is around. The honey I did get out doesn’t appear think or anything
So it won’t be that the honey is cold so thick and reluctant to flow so I would check with your local bee group if there is a lot of tea tree in your area, I suspect that is the issue. In desperation you could remove a frame and put it into a black plastic bag and put it in the sun for a couple of hours and extract the frame in the kitchen, I have done that when I haven’t noticed the tea tree in flower in the heath land where my bees forage.
Your frames should be draining for about 3 kg of honey from each frame is about an hour roughly given you days should be mid 30’s.
Thanks for the TIps, if I am having to rip out the flow hives and sticking them in bags to extract I might move on was easier just doing normal hives and crushing the comb. With the price of the flowhive I can buy a topbar hive (got one and that’s doing really well)
Note that only relates if you have Jelly Bush honey in the frames and I’m thinking as your on the Northern NSW rivers it isn’t an issue to extract the honey because of a cold climate. When I have a Jelly bush flow happening I whip the super off and fit a traditional box of frames and do a crush and strain, as using my electric extractor doesn’t spin out the honey. I have Jelly bush for a couple of months when there is a flow of it so it’s not a big issue, but I would prefer not to have it about. Some love it but not for me., it takes too long to extract it.
Hi Mike. I am in Picton, New Zealand and having the same problem as you. I know of one other in NZ also having the same problem. Location unknown though.
Honey is not thick. Temperature is not cold. Have been having 30 degree celcius plus days. I have now taken 3 frames out of the hive and trying to drain them on the kitchen bench. Still oh so slow.
Last 2 summers have been great. Easy. Simple.
This year the bottom chamber is just filling when the key is turned to offset the cells. I’m wondering if the cells have actually been offset. Your thoughts?
Oops…I mean bottom chamber is NOT filling.
Mike, when did the problem start?
Did the honey ever flow out at an acceptable rate? If it did, did you inspect those frames to make sure you weren’t harvesting unripe honey? Unripe honey usually flows faster because of the high water content.
I suspect your honey is Manuka honey, it looks like it is a liquid honey but behaves like a jelly and very reluctant to flow. In Aussie we call Manuka honey Jelly Bush honey, a fairly apt name for it. On a flow frame opening the cells the honey seems to stay put indefinately.
No, it is not Manuka honey. I live in an urban area with lots of flowering gardens, etc. I’m told the bees will go for anything other than Manuka as a first choice.
The honey is not dark enough to be manuka.
I strongly suspect the cells are not offsetting when the key is turned as the bottom chamber that usually fills has little to nothing in it.
Not unripe honey. Last 2 summers all cells were capped and flow was fine. This season ‘oh sooooo sloooowww’ to nil. It seems to me that only a very few of the cells are offsetting when key is turned.
Honey has same consistency as other years.
Hi Angela & Mike,
Just out of curiosity have you tried clean out the FlowFrames completely by opening the frames.
If the honey was flowing easily at first and now it is not, might want to eliminate all possible problems.
Also check with your local beekeeping clubs if they are getting honey that does not drain easily on the traditional harvesting methods.
Hope you are able to discover what the issues is
I can’t see if you are turning the key thru 90 degrees that the cells can remain closed. Is the issue the same with all of the frames or just on the one? If it is just one frame it might be worth checking the wire tension, some on the forum have reported that as a problem in opening a frame but I have not had that issue. When I have had slow draining honey it has always been the honey.
Problem is definitely with 3 of the 7 frames. Unable to fully confirm the others yet. Thanks for the tip re tension. I will check it. Currently have the 3 frames in a black bag in the sun. Just trying…
How did warming the honey go in the sun Angela? Did it help?
Sorry, I meant to post the result. No. The frames got very hot so should have liquified any jelly or crystalising. But still no joy. Lucky to have flowed 300ml off the 3 frames in the last 26 hours.
I have sent an email to email@example.com as suggested by Freebee2. Still awaiting a reply.
Ummmmmm…how do you open the frames?