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HELP! First extraction teething issues!


#1

Hey all. Today I tapped my first two frames. I had 4 full and two almost full from a new swarm I caught in early December and placed into a full Flowhive box. It’s been so exciting watching them work over the past three months, what extraordinary creatures.
I had a couple of minor (messy) issues and I’m wondering if anyone can enlighten me on what I did wrong. There are a couple of questions:
Firstly, I initially put in the flow tubes, set my jars and turned the key. Honey started to flow almost immediately into the jars which was very exciting. However about ten minutes later I noticed honey leaking from under the brood box out of the bottom plastic board and then it started leaking near the front of the hive. One thing I know I did wrong was I didn’t place the plastic bottom board into the high position (my bad). I think I probably lost about 1/2 cup of honey all in all which wasn’t the end of the world. Looking at my video from the harvest, I think I may have not inserted the tubes into the holes correctly and square. My jars were placing a forward pressure onto the vinyl pipe attached to my tubes, which I think may have just skewed the connection between the Flowframes and the tubes just off square, creating a small gap in the flow back channel.
What does everyone think? Has anyone had a similar issue? Does it sound like just an incorrectly inserted tube? Also, is there anything I should do? Or will the bees sort out all the mess in good time?
I haven’t opened the hive but can only imagine the mess. Poor bees!

My second issue was that I’m worried I’ve pulled out the flow tubes too early and left too much honey in the trough. I left it running for about one and a half hours and it had all but stopped flowing from the tubes (a very thin trickle only) so I pulled out the tubes and replaced the caps. I headed out a few hours later and had a look and the channel looked about 1/3 full. Again, I’m guessing this will be cleaned up but would love an opinion! Here’s a photo of the flow back channel how it looks with the honey in it:

All that aside, I’m very impressed with this system. So much quicker than conventional extraction from Langstroth frames.
Thanks in advance for any and all your opinions.
Jimmi.


#2

I’ve heard also (by @oatkir) that sometimes if you crack the full length of the flow frame all in one go there is so much honey trying to flow out that the pressure can make it burst out of the capped lower combs and run inside the frames then through the brood box. But also, I’m imagine that if the Flowframes aren’t 100% capped, when the frame is cracked, wouldn’t that cause honey to flow out of the uncapped combs and into the brood box below?
Opinions? @FlowHive ???


#3

Yes, as you mentioned I have experienced a similar issue.

All I can tell you is that if I partially open only a little bit of the frame at once (instead of the full frame) the chance of honey leaking is reduced. (I’m up to my 4th harvest and we’ve fine tuned it each time). I have actually seen (through the back panel) the honey flowing out of the lower cells during a harvest and down into the brood box, so that seems to be the issue in my case.

As for your other issue about taking the tubes out too early, I don’t think you have. It might look like a fair bit of honey trapped there but its probably not that much considering the tube is on a slope and the honey pools at the back cap. I’d just loosen the cap off a little so the honey can drain down behind the cap and the bees can clean it up.

Maybe the flow team have better advice on the leaking issue during harvest?


#4

Thanks for that @oatkir that’s helpful. When you witnessed the honey flowing out through the cells was it through uncapped or capped cells? As I imagine if not all the cells were 100% capped that would also be an issue.


#5

Hmmm…see, I thought they were capped, but can’t guarantee they all were 100%. It would make sense they would leak if they weren’t capped.

I have a frame sitting there at the moment that I know is fully filled and capped as I pulled it out last week during inspection. I was just holding off harvesting it until I get a second one capped (as I like to do two on the same day) so I’d like to say I’ll experiment with that frame and crack the entire length all at once to see if I get any leaks but I’m a bit scared of wasting honey to leaks and making another mess so I’ll probably end up cracking it little by little to be sure.

Sorry, I’m not much help on this one.


#6

It’s glad I am not getting my Flow-Supers until Spring of 2017. I’ve always been a chicken at being the first at new things. I am gleaning a lot n learning from you folks. I believe my journey will be smoother (not perfect) watching n waiting. My future three to four mature (hopefully wintered over colonies will be revving to GO n Fill-Up a full Flow-Super … I am going to be running 10 frame Langstroth boxes double deep for our region. Can hardly wait for my Nuc’s to arrive mid April !


#7

Not a bad thing I think @Gerald_Nickel!


#8

Did you crack the full frame to see or did you get too scared!?!?


#9

As I said earlier in this thread, my first harvest back in January didn’t go so well as I lost a lot of honey out the bottom of the hive (maybe about half a kilo). My assumption on this is that if there are uncapped cells in the frame, when the frame is cracked open all in one shot there is a huge amount of honey (3kg+) pushing downward, into the channel, and when the honey flows and fills the bottom channel the honey’s only other way out is through the uncapped cells. The spilled honey makes a huge amount of mess in the brood box as it drips all through the brood frames and that really stresses the bees out. Mine left the hive and bearded out the front for three or four days whilst they sorted out the mess.
I harvested today but this time (as suggested by @oatkir) I only opened up the frames about 1/5 at a time an hour or so apart. This way there is only a small amount of honey draining at a time and there isn’t the back fill that happens when it’s all done at once, leading to little or no spillage. It has taken half the day to fully empty the frames I opened, however there has been zero spillage and it has ended in much more honey this time (just over 3kg per frame). The bees are completely unperturbed by my presence and are already chewing back the capping and mending the cells.


#10

Has anyone figured out why none of these frames are working like in the promotional video?


#11

Just did my first extraction yesterday. I think I lost only about 1 table spoon of honey from the one frame that I extracted. Well that is all that was on the corflute about an hour after I finished the extraction.We had very runny honey and the extraction took about 15 mins in total. I did check the frame and it was about 99% capped.

I turned the extraction key in sections about 1/6 of the frame length and waited about 30 seconds between each section.

Unfortunately the video was stuffed up. My wife forgot to hit the pause button at the start of the video.

In the end I extracted 3.004 KG of honey. I probably lost a little bit more from spillage when changing jars and from sudden wind gusts blowing the honey away from the jar. Next time I will use the flexible tubing into the jar and not have a 15cm drop from tube to jar.


#12

Nice video.
It’s too bad that these things are leaking.
You could plumb in some elbows and seal the jars around them and not worry as much about the wind.


#13

Gerald…that was god thinking on your part…maybe by then most of their production and shipping issues will be resolved.


#14

Hi Sweets,

That was my thoughts n guess. I remember waiting for C.D computer reading drives to go from 1x reading to 4x reading. I wanted to make sure that medium was staying around. I was still using 5 1/4" n 31/2" double sided computer disks (the 144’s) :wink:. Always been a watch n wait dude ! Even at 70 years old. I like the tired n true idea … Have a great week !

Gerald.