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Harvesting and super question


Hi everyone,
Last thursday our bees swarmed, there was quite a bit of honey in the super and we could see lots of capped honey through the panel except there was almost no honey in the back of the hive which made us hesitate on harvesting a frame and providing more space.

Aswell as that, I’ve been looking quite frequently at the back of the hive and noticing that some days there’s honey in some cells and the next days there isn’t. What’s the reason for this?

Also, roughly how many cells on a frame can be uncapped when it’s ready for harvest?



Bees move honey about. They eat it or use it to expand their nest. Giving them more super room isn’t what’s needed with an expanding colony they need more brood room. How many brood boxes do you have?


Hi Martin, given your bees have swarmed it is going to take some time to build up your hive strength and flow super again. While it is weak I wouldn’t take any honey off it.
Best to have a look before harvesting the flow frames as the outer inspection area tends to stay capped most of the time on ours except just after a harvest so is not really a good indication of the central flow frames volume.We keep a record of which frames we harvest and only take 1 or 2 at a time.
The rear inspection is quite a good indicator but you may still find some frames with no honey in them in the centre of the individual frame as space is sometimes left for brood. For that reason we only open a frame in small increments to prevent flooding out of those empty cells. Good luck😀


I use the same rule for Flow frames as we used to use for traditional frames. If the frame is 90% capped, I would harvest. Less than that, I would wait. Using that guide, I have never harvested honey with more than 18% water content (below 18.6% is considered ripe, shelf-stable honey by many people).

Just to add to the other responses above, bees often don’t cap a one or two cells depth border around the edges of frames. I have read that it is so they can chew the wax to make holes through it if they want to, but I don’t know how true that is. I do know that I have frequently seen a line of a couple of uncapped cells in a border all around the edge of a frame of honey.


Thanks for the replies,
I’ll do an inspection soon and see how the inside frames are going.
Dee we only have one brood box as we were told that in our area we really only needed one.
Thanks :slight_smile:


I’m in SE Qld., not all that far from you. We CAN get away with one super for brood, however it requires frequent brood inspections with frame manipulations to prevent swarming.