I extracted from my Flow Hive today & found grubs in the honey.
Has a queen escaped into the super & laid brood or am I in trouble?
Keith, Sth East Queensland
Keith, Sth East Queensland
Your queen is in the Flow Frame section of your hive. Do you have a queen excluder above the brood box and if the answer is yes what is it made of?
What is in the photo is bee larvae, the question is how did the queen get there to lay eggs, and the second question is how did you not see the brood in the frames when you checked that the cells were capped before you extracted the honey?
With your answers we can help you with advise and thanks for the photo, it saved guessing.
Welcome to the forum, lots of good folks here and some locals to boot with good advise and help. You are not alone and isolated.
Maybe not a queen.
Workers lay in supers quite commonly.
Only way to tell is to look and find her
That was my exact thots … but I would like to know if there is actually a Queen below ! That might up the odds pretty good it’s a lousy laying worker n not a defective Q.E. or missing one, right ?!
Just a thot/buzz in my gray matter,
I think your answer might well confuse a guy new to bee keeping Dee. When he posts his answers to my questions we will have a clearer picture. I asked if he had a queen excluder fitted and what it was made of. Note that there are many so called Flow Hives here in Australia where he is that are the Chinese copies and have bamboo Queen excluders that a queen, drone, and most insects can happily get through.
I think it much more likely there is no queen excluder fitted or a one made of Chinese bamboo than the possibility of a laying worker.
Thanks for the helpful responses. Peter, the hive is one of the original hives which I bought 2.5 years ago. The QE is in place and is the original plastic one supplied by Flow Hive. Previously, I have extracted & got approx. 4 jars of honey from most frames. This time, I haven’t extracted for several months & from this 1 frame there was only 1.5 jars. I did not inspect the frame prior to extraction, but from the rear viewing window, the cells that I could see were all full & capped.
The hive is strong. The bees were actually bearding yesterday afternoon.
I haven’t come across any drone cells so I guess I have had luck so far. Is it better to trash a drone cell in the super as when it hatches it is a prisoner above the QX?
Very busy this past week, checked the splits and all have queen cells and larvae well developed. Extracted a flow hive last Monday and it is already getting lots of honey capped. Made base boards with two entrances to aid in better ventilation and again will be soon playing catch up with boxes, tops and bases.
From what you have said it is time for a spit or expect swarming if you don’t do a split. If you have not checked the frames by removing and looking at them you don.t really know how much of the frame was capped and full of honey.
I am not far from you and like a drive from Malaney to Kennilworth and through to Gympie so if you would like a visit give me a call 0456710016, happy to call in and compare ideas.
The grubs in the honey, what an interesting occurrence. So, we have established there is a proper QX, and the hive had been functional for about 2 seasons.
So the only options are really the hive became queenless (swarming and unsuccessful raising a new queen), or the workers upstairs indeed just tried to help the queen lay drones. Has that ever happened to any of you experienced beekeepers?
Or the queen slipped upstairs during an inspection?
I certainly don’t inspect each flow frame before harvest once I know how this particular hive operates and I can estimate where the bees are at.
But would certainly try to find the queen and have a good look for brood in the flow frames once I found grubs in the honey.
@Keicar, let us know of your findings, very interested.
You seem pretty successful Peter…what is the most you have harvested from a flow hive over the whole year?
I have a flow hive that has produced 38 kg from January to August in 2018.
That is a 6 flow frame super over two 8 frame brood boxes. No Queen excluder and so far no brood in flow frames.
Got to say it has never happened to me so I can’t figure what has happened that he only got 1.5 jars of honey from a frame, that must set a record low. The first thing is to look in the brood box for brood and a queen.
I would love to look into the hive and figure out what is happening.
I simply have to check the flow frames visually before extracting, bees can often throw a curved ball at you.
I follow your thinking and agree Jeff. My flow frames were filled from the outside in and left the ‘logical brood arch area’ till the last to be filled with honey. Looking in the end window is really no indication as to what frames are ready for extraction. There is no reason for not physically checking the flow frames to know if they are full and capped.
The Flow Hive windows can’t be relied on to get the whole picture.
How big are your jars? 500ml? You fit about 500g of honey into a 375ml jar.
A fully capped flow frame yields about 3kg of honey, usually more if the water content is way under 18%.
Have to add here:
One of my colonies tends to cap the honey close to the plastic cell ends and yields consistently around 2.6kg/frame, whereas another tends to build out and yields above 3.3kg every time.
Hey Gillian, I bought the flow supers(2) in April this year and after painting on molten wax onto 1 set and spraying sugar water on the other I fitted them both in July 1st 2018. That is our “Winter” and the bees forage all year. The waxed hive was harvested after almost 6 weeks, that was about 23 litres of honey. after less than a week about half the cells are already capped. The sugar water frames had only a few bees storing honey so I waxed that super a week ago and already have a heap of bees storing honey in the frames.
I have 8 frame hives Single brood boxes. and 7 frame flow hives supers fitted with queen excluders on all of my hives. I only use the metal ones after past experience. experimenting with the plastic ones as well as the metal. Sooner or later you will have the queen laying eggs in the Flow Hive and then you will have a problem so I would use one.
I do hive inspections weekly and like to keep on top of any issues but am also happy to let my bees do their thing. I am always looking and learning and not adverse to learning and thinking things through when I see something unusual happening.
Am I successful? That hat is not comfortable on my head, every time I go to my apiary I am prepared to look and learn and do what is best for my bees, I enjoy my time in the apiary.
Thanks for your reply, I too waxed my frames before use and started that hive from a swarm I caught in March 2017. I too believe in minimal interference once the hive is set up and am always experimenting. I will be using a metal queen excluder and top entrance on my next swarm.
What sort of quantities of honey have other people got from flow hives?
I am interested in finding out if the queen excluder is also a partial honey excluder as some people have stated.
In Esperance we are lucky enough to have a great environment for bees with plenty of feral colonies.
The metal queen excluder is a lot better than the plastic ones, the bees don’t like the sharp edges of the plastic compared to the round wire of the metal ones.
Once the bees get used to the metal queen excluder they will pass through it to the super without a second thought, having a flow super without a QX is simply asking for trouble like brood in the flow hive being chopped up when you extract the honey. It taint the honey that you then have to filter to get the bits of larvae oy of the honey but the ‘juices’ of the larvae remains in the honey.
The story of queen excluders being honey excluders has been around for as long as queen excluders and it simply has no basis in facts. If you want honey from a hive then there is no option than to use a queen excluder and the best is the metal ones to use.
As for the amount of honey extracted by bee keepers, firstly that will depend on the size of the Flow super, a 6 frame or 7 frame, The strength of the colony, the amount of nectar and its proximity to the hive and even down to the flora that they have to collect from as well as seasonal conditions…
I recently took 23 litres with my 6 frame flow hive and I am thinking it will be ready again for extracting after 2 weeks but that doesn’t mean extracting every two weeks over a year. For that answer I will have to wait and see. Claims are wide and varied by other bee keepers and frankly it is of little interest to me, my results are what counts to me.
From a bit or research your climate is not a lot different to what I have here so I hope you have plenty of jars.
Believe me it’s actually fairly common. Every hive has laying workers. There is plenty of research into this. Have a read of Jürgen Tautz. Normally the house bees police any eggs that are not laid by the queen but sometimes they are ignored in the supers. If you have a stack of supers you sometimes even get the odd King Cell up there. Why is there this misconception that you get one laying worker and only when the hive has no queen. And yes I have seen it in my own hives.
I must have missed your thread Jeff, You have also done videos on laying worker bees that I found very interesting and on a subject that I have not experienced myself. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I recon a video is worth a million.
Bee keeping is a constant learning experience and still a lot to understand.
Hiya Peter, are you saying you have an 8 frame brood box under a 10 frame super? If so how have you adapted the two different sized boxes?
@JeffH, I think that comment editing after a given time can really mess up a productive thread and I have had a whinge in the past but move on.
And for the record my rear inspection window cells rarely fill which has caught me out thinking the frames aren’t full even though they are. I was thinking it was a light thing.
And on the grub in the honey, I’m stuffed if I know how a lavae can make it through the opened cell labyrinth into the lower chamber unscathed.
Sorry Skeggs, a 6 frame Flow super on an 8 frame Langstroth brood box.
I’ve got to change the brand of my wine, when I am counting on my fingers I forget I have one missing