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Frames are leaking honey


#10

Hi Jeff, yes the hive is tilted backwards slightly and I will be checking those drain slots next hive check.
Any other suggestions now the pics are up would always be helpful.


#11

Hi Andrew, thanks for your suggestions. I shall be checking the drain slots. A few people have said just leave it to the bees. But I smell the honey aromas wafting through the house and I have only harvested that 1 frame. I am getting a bit downhearted. The old look but don’t touch scenario.


#12

I kept finding bees in that channel in one frame, one of the sections of the frame wasn’t seated in the bottom and had obviously slipped through quality control. The key would still turn, opening and closing the cells but left a gap big enough for a bee to fit through right above the trough.


#13

Sadly it wasn’t me you remember from Fiji, I was there for 3 months sailing my yacht in the Pacific but that must be about 15 years ago. Enjoyed the people but not the commercialism.
I just looked at your profile for your location in NSW but you haven’t said, I’m wondering why you haven’t more honey in the Flow Frames. My first harvest of 4 capped frames was after only 5 weeks on the hive on July 1st, but then I’m in a great climate and lots of nectar year round for bees.
The wax and propolis in the pics is totally normal, it seems if a bee can’t crawl through and build more comb in a gap they just seal it up.
How long has the super been on the hive??
Regards


#14

Hi Peter, I am in Parramatta, I shall change my profile to be more exact. I purchased the flow hive thinking it would be easier to harvest with neighbours very close to the fence-line here in the city.
I think this leakage is why I haven’t had more honey, when I opened them up a lot of the cells are capped but as you can see the end ones never get a chance to fill with honey for the girls to cap them.
I started with a 1 brood box in September 2017, then added another box at end October with an excluder between, then added the flow super on top in early December, as each box was filled. I found the weight of the boxes when full was too heavy for me to lift off. So the 2nd super box I removed in November just gone, getting 18kg of honey. The flow super has always had honey in it but never fully capped to harvest.

Im very confused as to why it doesn’t seem to work. I also have 2 conventional hives at a farm down south which produces more honey each fortnight than I have ever had from this one flow hive.


#15

I think this may be a misconception/“non sequitur”. The cells around the edges of many frames are often not capped. @JeffH posted some beautiful photos of capped frames within the last 24 hours, but if you study them, you will see that virtually every frame has empty cells around the edge.

This is just what bees do. I don’t believe it contributes to leakage from the Flow frame. Just my opinion, and I would of course defer to @Cedar, @Faroe or Flow company experts.


#16

Hi Fiona, Let me get us both on the same path, A brood box is anything below the queen excluder(QX) and any box above it is a super, be it a Flow Super or a langstroth(conventional) super. So what you are saying here is that you have a single brood box, the Flow super and a conventional super above that. And that now you are reduced down to the Flow super.
I know the Parramatta area a bit and from memory it is very much built with flats and units and short on open space.
You have done the right thing by removing the 2nd super. Foraging flights for nectar and pollen could be to the flying range of a bee, your area is heavy in concrete and short on shrubs and trees that flower. For that reason a 2nd super will be a ‘bridge too far’. You will find that the Flow Super will be where the honey goes now simply because that is the bees only choice for storing excess honey. The last frames to be capped will be the outer frames if the bees do what is normal, but sometimes bees will change the rules of the game just to frustrate you.
Worker bees normally store honey in a super as they would in a brood box with a new frame, the top corners and down the sides; but nobody told them what the QX is for so they leave the middle are for the queen to lay in, which she can’t do, so it is the last area to be used for honey storage and to be capped. Herein lies a dilemma, Flow doesn’t say to remove the flow frames to be sure it is ready to extract or should you assume from the viewing windows it is ready. From my experience I remove each Flow Frame in turn at least a day, preferably two days, before the day of extraction and do an eyeball check that at least 80% of the cells are capped, further you can hold a frame horizontally and give it an up and down jerk to see if any honey come out, if that happens the honey that is uncapped is not ripe so I would not extract that frame. It might be right in a week or two but not now.
The result of extracting unripe honey is that it will ferment and spoil and ruin the rest of the honey it comes in contact with.
Re the bigger honey yield on the farm, that is to be expected, there is more to forage on and it is closer to the hive so the bees will do many more flights to a tree in flower in a day so they will bring in more nectar.
Make sure the hive at home has a supply of water for the bees to drink and to cool the hive in the hot weather especially, a shallow tray with twigs, corks, stones is needed, anything the bees can land on to get a drink of water, any open space of water is a place they could land on and drown, so the more floating landing places the better…
Cheers


#17

Hi Peter,
yes that is/was the set up of my hive. We are very close to Parra Park and Wistaria Gardens, not too many flats around us yet. So there is a lot of pollens and nectar around for the majority of the year. We have a giant pond in the garden where the bees get their water.

I am going to check the individual frames a week before harvesting from now on to double check that most cells are capped. This is why I have only taken from 1 frame in a year - the rest hadn’t had enough cells capped.

The problem of leaking honey into the tube tunnel is still my biggest problem. Maybe after harvesting from all the frames it might improve. But the circle continues with the girls not capping them because they can never fill them and around we go again.

I do thank you for your help and advice and some great suggestions which I have taken on board.


#18

I get the picture of where you are, the park should supply good nectar when it is in flower.
Going down to just the Flow Super will be a big step forwards for the honey production and capping of the honey when it is ripe.
Any other issues give me a yell, there is a lot of regulars here for advise.
Cheers


#19

I have 5 hives here yet I only get harvests from two of them. The others are still busy colonys they just don’t seem to hoard as much for some reason.
Yeah I probably should requeen but who knows they may be the most productive next year, besides its just a hobby anyway.

Maybe try the Flow super on a different colony.


#20

Hey mate, bee keeping is like a merry-go-round, you get on for the ride that goes nowhere so we wonder why we get on in the first place. Bee keeping often gives us more questions than answers, but hey, it is fun.
A non productive hive can suddenly become a great honey producer for no apparent reason and we wonder why. We give ourselves a pat on the back and take the credit but deep down ‘mother nature’ is just playing with our minds to keep us hooked on our bees.
I’m rambling on, time for my meds :grin:


#21

Thanks Peter, you are probably correct, the girls with their mum will sort it all out when they are ready. I shall do the things people have suggested and then sit back and wait.
They mesmerise me everyday with their comings and goings. That might have to be enough here until they are ready. Thanks for all the suggestions and support.


#22

Thanks for the support. Shall leave them to it for a while and see.


#23

Hi Dawn, thanks for drawing attention to my photos. On reflection, we should have taken the photos from an angle. That would have shown the high & low points more clearly. Photos are good because in these photos you can clearly see how my bees left gaps in the top corners, I’m guessing to aid them with air circulation.

Also you can see potential for the bees to store a lot more honey. A question that was recently asked. We think they’re full, however the bees manage to fit more in.


#24

Hi Fiona,

It looks like there is a bit of debris at your leak-back gap.

image

image

This may be blocking the honey from flowing to where the bees will be able to lick it up.
It’s true the bees will take care of any honey that runs down there from cells that aren’t sealed correctly, but the leak-back gap needs to be cleared so the bees can get to the honey.

p.15 of the user manual: (it is also mentioned a few other times throughout the manual) https://www.honeyflow.com/media/docs/Flow_Hive_Instruction_Manual_WEB_290517.pdf

image

You also mentioned the propolis. I remember reading that when propolis is used instead of wax the bees may be experiencing a low nectar flow. (I think that’s what it was). I wonder if there is enough food around for your bees at the moment?

This is how the cells should look like when they are all sealed up with wax:

You can just stick your Flow Tube into the end of the channel and it should clear any blockages. Or you can try turning the cap around with your fingers of pliers and see if that will clear the leak-back gap so that you don’t have to open it.
I hope that works for you, and the bees are then able to clear up any honey.
And then of course that the bees are able to seal up all the little gaps properly so that no honey flows down the channel before you harvest.

The other thing you can check is your Flow Frame wire tension. If they are a little loose you can tighten them which will bring all the parts of the Flow Frame closer together.

https://www.honeyflow.com/resources/starting-with-flow/flow-hive-manual-assembly/bent-mis-aligned-flow-frame-re-assembly-guides/p/433

Please let us know how you go after clearing those leak-back gaps.


#25

Bravo @Faroe, you really are a true gem. Nice to have you back in the Forums. :blush:


#26

Hi Faroe, thanks for that advice, I shall give them a clean as soon as the weather is a little better, we have thunderstorms due together with the 35 degree heat. The girls seem a little agitated today, maybe the electricity in the air. How long should I give them to clear it up and to see if it still leaks before trying to tighten the wires on the frames? Fiona


#27

I clear my leak back slots with the blade of a small screwdriver and push the wax well in. If the slot is open a build up of honey in the chamber simply can’t happen. The bees will slurp up the honey till the chamber is dry, I’m thinking a day or two. Before your next extraction clear the slot, I don’t rely on the draining tube to do the job, and you won’t have a build up of honey again.
Cheers


#28

Hi Fareo, Just giving an update on my leaking problem. I did give the leak-back gaps, they were completely blocked. As soon as they were cleared I could see little tongues licking up the honey. They are still clear a week later. I also opened and checked the frames, 6 fully capped which I harvested the next day and got 14kg out. All just in time cause its meant to be rainy here for the next week or so.
Thank you again and others in the forum for your help and suggestions.


#29

HI Fiona,

That is great news :slight_smile: I’m glad that little tip worked, and you were then able to get a good harvest before the rain hit. This lack of rain is like unrequited love. Promises, promises, but it never comes :disappointed_relieved: Big build up today and only about 30 minutes of rain in The Channon (northern rivers NSW).