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Frame maintenance needed? Large amounts of honey not releasing from the frame

I’m on year 3 of using a couple of flow hives… Overall it’s been a good experience.

I have an issue that is getting worse.

The big issue is that not all of the honey gets released from the frames.. At first I thought my bees were not bringing in a lot of honey but when I took down the super in the fall and looked things over, it was quickly obvious that there were lots of “columns” where the key didn’t move the cells enough to break the cell and release the honey. About 15% of the honey wasn’t coming out - especially towards the far end of the frame.

I eventually got the honey out by putting the frames in a room and setting the temperature to 95F to soften things up an then and adding some duct tape to my key to make it slightly thicker.

Now I’m about to put the supers back on and I can tell that some of the columns towards the end just don’t move very well and I’m going to have the same issue.

This problem seems to be be getting worse year over year as the columns get stuck with propolis and wax. I have a new frame so I can compare how easy new frames are to move.

Is anyone doing anything to maintain the frames? Can you lubricate the columns? Anyone using a thicker key?
I did used a thin scraper to loosen up the columns but it’s definitely not as good as a new unused frame.

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Hi Shane, welcome to the forum. You’ll need to take some photos then @Freebee2 from Flow should be able to point you in the right direction.

Welcome to the forum Shane. In my area the bees produce a % of honey we call ‘Jelly Bush Honey’ that refuses to drain from a flow frame and I can’t extract from conventional frames in an electric extractor. The bees collect it from ‘Tea Tree’s’ but they can be short shrubs rather than a tree. As Jelly bush honey is so reluctant to extract it accumulates in the comb so the honey yield progressively reduces. One option is to extract what honey you can and then wash the frame in warm water till there is no trace of honey then air dry the frame.
The width of the key should fully crack the cell open.
My thought is the issue is with the honey and not the Flow Frame.
Cheers

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Welcome @shaneTX!
May I recommend contacting our lovely customer support team via info@honeyflow.com if you have any product issues as we’ll be happy to troubleshoot any issues with you until you have complete success (we’re receiving an insane amount of emails at the moment so could easily overlook any calls for help on this forum). Meantime you should get some great tips from the experienced beekeepers on this forum as well. Good luck!

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I suspect as Peter below has mentioned about the honey type but during different seasons some people experience difficulty opening frames. My solution to this is only opening small sections at a time, using two keys at the same time and rotating them back and forth many times. Particularly moving both keys to the outside edges where the plastic can’t flex as much.
Good luck.

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