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Honey collecting in flow frame bottom reservoir

Hi there Flow Hivers,

I have a Flow super and I’ve done an extraction from one frame that went perfectly. What I am noticing however is that there is some build-up of honey (or even nectar I imagine) in the reservoirs at the bottom of the frames. It seems my girls probably haven’t waxed up the frames enough to completely seal the cells. See this picture…

If it is honey, then I’m not too worried. But my concern is that it is nectar and may ferment in there. So I took off the draining caps, inserted the pipe to dislodge the propolis and replaced the caps to let it drain a bit into the hive and let the girls clean it up, it was a cloudy drizzly day, they didn’t have much else to do.

Was this the right thing to do?

Cheers,
Dave

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Sounds like a good strategy to me!

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This happens to me too, and my neighbour with bees, so I don’t think you should worry too much. What you did is perfect (it’s what the flow team recommend) and it’s what we do too.

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Hi Dave, what you did is spot on. Don’t get too concerned about it, there isn’t as much in there as it looks. Because of the angle the hive leans back it makes it look like the chamber is half full but in reality it’s just a little bit leaning against the cap. For me it’s just a regular maintenance routine to keep the drain ports unblocked.

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Hi Dave. What edition flow frame did you purchase? If the problem happens again it could be a problem with the frames.

Hi @MadDavo

Just as everyone else confirms, what you did is correct. Nice job.

I can confirm that the little bit of leaking in the honey trough is normal and this is what the honey leak back point feature was designed for, so the bees can recycle it.

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i find just twisting the little cap around is often enough. If not I poke the holes with a twig.

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Bianca a little bit may be normal, particularly on the first use and while the bees are completing the cells for the first time.

However a little bit all the time in quite a few frames is odd or the bees only partially completing or not completing all the cells in a frame is odd.

MadDavo Keep an eye on it. If it happens again there may be a different solution. Here’s a picture of my frame after six months on my hive in ideal honey harvesting conditions. I have a number of frames in the same condition.20210124_192530|375x500

Hi @BeeShack - would you consider that this is just leftover honey from the previous harvet?

I’ve noticed that if I really jam the cap back on after harvest, there’s always a bit of honey trapped in the trough, even though it seems like the leak back point is open.

Twisting the cap helps for a minute but just placing the cap there more loosely seems to open the space enough that the viscosity and surface tension don’t prevent the trough from fully draining.

Not sure why the bees aren’t cleaning or can’t clean it up with their proboscises with even the smallest gap… But anyway, putting the cap on with less pressure fixes this (and makes it easier to get off next time).

I might modify a cap or two with a notch sanded out on part of the bottom lip to see if this works even better or more consistently and still does not allow ants or anything access to the tube.

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Thanks for this tip Alok, I have a few tube openings that always have a level of honey behind them and ants do congregate there when I haven’t kept up with my borax traps :unamused:

It may be that accumulated propolis is jamming up the access for the bees to clean it up, but I wondered if they might also ignore it after awhile?

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Hope it helps. Turns out @faroe made that recommendation years ago.

I’ll update about my cap notch modification when I get around to doing that…

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I just used a burr and ground down an area of the inside of the cap. Will let you know how it goes. I flushed some water into the collection trough to clean it (with the flow tube in place so it didn’t leak back into the hive) and then placed this cap. I imagine the bees with propolize this enlarged gap too but it might allow for faster drainage.

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The drain caps on my hive seem really tight. Is there a way to get them loose without breaking the little plastic handle?

They are surprisingly strong - I just use a pair of pliers and haven’t broken one (yet). It helps if you try to twist it first to break the propolis seal.

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