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Giving up on uncapped frames?

Hi all, this is my second year beekeeping and we appear to finally be getting a lot of nectar, very exciting! From what I have read online about my area (NC Piedmont), my flow is over by 7/4 and folks extract on or around the fourth. Here is my conundrum:

  1. I still see a lot of clover, dandelion and a ton of other flowers on my property. That plus the fact that there appears to be a massive number of foragers coming and going leads me to believe there is still plenty of nectar!?!?

  2. I would say half my hives have a full super of nectar (deeps, above excluder) but only a couple of frames are fully or even partially capped.

So, my question is, when do I give up on the uncapped frames, there are so many and they seem to be getting ready to be capped. Any advice?



Hello and welcome to the Flow forum!

Flowers do not mean nectar. If the weather has been dry, the plant will still make flowers and pollen to reproduce, but they may well not make much nectar. That is the case here in SoCal almost every year! :wink:

This is common in strong flows or when the climate is very humid. If you have an empty medium (with empty frames in it), you can try putting it on top of your supers. This will often help the bees to dry out the honey and getting them started with capping it. It has worked for me many times, and I think @Eva has had some success with it too.

I would try the empty super above trick, and if they haven’t capped it by late August, give up at that point.


Buy a refractometer and test the uncapped honey. Below 20% water its harvestable and you can always mix it with the capped honey.

You’ll need stores for overwintering so leave the uncapped frames and condense into single boxes.


sometimes even uncapped honey is ready to be harvested. The ‘shake test’ where you hold a frame horizontally and give it a shake to see if nectar falls out of the cells is a rough and ready way to see how ‘ripe’ the honey is. If it falls out like water it’s definitely not ready- if none falls out then its possibly ripe enough to harvest. In some climates and certain times of the season the bees never really fully cap a frame. If a frame is 80% or so capped it is often ripe enough to be harvested. A refractometer can tell you exactly how ripe the honey is.


Another note… If it’s uncapped don’t harvest insitu unless you have something above the brood box to deal with (likely) flooding issues.

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I agree with the others replies but if your bees are increasing the amount of nectar in the hive then your in a better than average micro climate. A mate only 12 miles away from my apiary during our Summer and bad drought late year was extracting really good amounts of honey while I was feeding my hives to save them starving to death. Assess how your hives are going and don’t remove any frames that have stores in them, if the hives are foraging well then just leave them to get on with it.
Cheers Clayte


Welcome to the forum @Impius1. I live here in Charlotte, NC and I’m located across from NorthLake Mall. I’m a new BEEK and have join our local bee club http://www.meckbees.org/. Great place to start in our local club as I also have a mentor from our club. Again welcome.

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Thanks Dylan! Are you noticing the nectar flow is still going or has it stopped for you? I’ll check out the club, thanks.

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Flow is going at my location. My girls are bringing in pollen at this time. Subscribe to my you tube channel. I have some landing board activity video. Enjoy.