I have had a flow hive for about 2 years but this is the first season where its looked like we’ll be able to harvest. The bees are filling the frames but I can see that the bottom chamber of at least 3 frames has filled or almost filled with honey. It may mean that there are leaks in the body of the frame that the bees haven’t been able to plug. I have not attempted to harvest and wasn’t planning on it for at least another couple of weeks. This issue has only appeared over the last few days as the frames are getting full.
Has anyone experienced anything similar and do you have any ideas on the best way to respond?
I like to taste it…
There’s some info here on this topic:
If there is honey building up in the chamber the bees have not sealed up the cells of the Flow Frame well enough or the wire tension is not tight enough causing the frame to sag under the weight of the honey.
Either way I would extract the honey from the frames with the issue before you get honey leaking onto the brood. It won’t fix itself.
Once you have taken the honey I would take those frames out and look for the problem. Are you using genuine Flow Frames, the reason I’m asking is because I recently helped a guy out with that issue who thought he had a Flow Hive but it was a Chinese copy he bought on EBay. When I say I ‘helped him out’ all I did was to tell him he didn’t have a Flow Hive and the sag of the frame really was so obvious.
Sorry, I just re-read… this isn’t supposed to happen.
Have you got photos? If you look directly into the chamber, you could potentially see which part of the frame the honey is dripping from. Make sure you have reset the frames properly too.
Pete’s suggestion is worth looking into. You could check the tension without pulling the frames out. See how many fingers you can get under the assembly wire and report back.
Welcome to the Flow forum!
Lots of people have had this happen, but it doesn’t happen every time. In addition to the advice above, I would like to suggest that you remove the flow tube cap and clean the little gap behind it at the bottom of the channel. This is designed to let any slow leak of honey into the channel drain into the hive so that the bees can recycle it. You can clean it out with a toothpick or similar. Bees often stuff it with wax or propolis, so that it fails to drain the way it is meant to do.
Before you clean that little gap out, sniff the honey in the channel. If it is fermented, the bees will not want it back. They don’t really like fermented honey! You can clean out fermented honey with warm water through the Flow tube (stops it from going into the hive) or let it drain into a container, then use a wet cloth (Chux works) firmly attached to your flow key to wipe it out.
Thanks for all your suggestions. I have real flow frames and don’t think its an issue with tension as the wires seem tight. Will try the drain/clean option and see how it goes. Hopefully I can feed the excess back to the bees and keep them producing. First time they’ve been close to producing enough honey to harvest.
That is what I would do and just check with the frame out of the hive that all of the segments close aligned. Leaking can be a one off issue for some reason.
Good luck, Cheers