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Harvest advice of partically filled FF?


#1

Hello everyone,

Last year we were able to harvest honey from our first hive with flow frames (see our short youtube movie). This year both hives with flow frames have not been filled as actively. (Due to one colony having swarmed 3x in the spring and the other one having been queen-less for a while).

What would you recommend? We don’t keep the supers with flow frames on the hive in the winter (we are in the middle of France). Harvest the flow frames even though they are only maybe capped for a 25% at most? Then give the bees a couple of days time to restore the flow frames again (for next season), take the super off, leave it nearby so that the nectar that they might have started to store in there can be retrieved, before storing the flow frames supers for the winter?

I suppose if we do the harvest, we best do it with the flow frames taken out of the super (since they are far from fully capped), to prevent extensive leaking to “drown” the broodbox?

What would you do?

Cheers!


#2

Since you are taking the flow super off the hive you could do what I did last fall and harvest the honey from them and then feed it back to your bees. I used a thin aluminum foil pan and put some pieces of wood in the pan so the bees could walk across the pan to get to the honey. Depending on how much is there you could use some of it yourself but it will more than likely need to be used right away if it isn’t close to 18%.

Again if you decide to feed it back to them they will definitely eat it and store it for the winter. Definitely look at what they have for stores. If its been as slow of a year as you say it was they very well may need it!

John


#3

I actually took my Flow super off the hive for the last harvest, and drained it in the kitchen. Most of the frames were uncapped, or 25% or less as you describe. It only leaked about 50ml of honey into the drip tray I used and I got about 7 liters of honey from 6 frames, so I think next time I would do it on top of the hive. I might give them a day to calm down and clean up the drips, then I would take it off and store for winter the next day, before they got excited about refilling it! :blush:


#4

I harvest the Flow frames on the hive to allow the bees to clean it all back up. There is nothing better at cleaning up the honey and capping than the bees themselves, with the added bonus that they get their honey back to re-store and eat. Give them a couple of days to do a good job of it to get any unripe honey out before removing the super and storing it. Firstly leave it covered in a warm part of the house for some time with a permeable moth/mice proof cover to allow water moisture to evaporate off, before taking it to longer term storage (I’ve used biodegradable weed matting and an old bedsheet). Tip them on an angle for a few hours so any remaining honey drains out of the bottom channel and leave the cap off the end to allow water vapour to escape the channel whilst in the warm dry spot in the house. As long as the longer term storage of the box and frames are on a solid base (like a wooden table etc) and the permeable sheet or matting is over the top with a steel queen excluder on it - held down with some weight, I’ve found that the mice and wax moths can’t get at them.

Leaving the super with honey in it anywhere near the hive at this time of year (fall) is very risky for robbing and disease spreading. When bees get in a robbing frenzy they also can become aggressive and liable to sting anyone in the vicinity.


#5

Thanks for the replies, advice and suggestions! :slight_smile:

I think I will try to harvest wit the super on the hive, first and see how it goes.