Honey harvest - "crumbs"

Hi everyone, I hope you all had lovely Christmas and happy new year! I have a random basic question. When harvesting I noticed small “crumbs” flowing into my honey - what is that? Is it wax?

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Very likely wax, yes. :blush:

The tiny gaps between the sliding frames are filled with wax by the bees. Before they seal the cells, the gap area is filled up with a long, thin “finger” of wax sealant. That seal breaks when you open the frame, and some of the wax gets carried out by the honey when you harvest. There are a couple of ways to deal with this:

  1. Ignore it. It is a natural part of honey! (My favorite approach, and proves that it is raw, unprocessed honey…!)
  2. Strain it through a fine mesh kitchen sieve. I do this for honey I am going to sell. The sieve gets it all out
  3. Let the honey sit for a week or so. Most of the wax will float to the top, and can be skimmed off (with some honey) and spread onto a piece of hot toast, as a sweet reward for the beekeeper :wink:

Thanks Dawn! I’ve been taking the first approach so far but it’s good to know what I’m eating! :laughing: Thanks very much!

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I agree with Dawn, I get a bit of this from time to time, my thought is its some wax that was once sealing up the gaps between the Flow Frames, the bees maybe pushed these aside and rewaxed, then it comes out loose with the honey. Also good to check the honey trough for any debris build up.

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Thanks Kieran! The bees can’t access the honey trough itself right?

They can not get into a honey trough only poke their tongues up through the leak back point.

If you find bees in there something wrong, as the bees would have to have a hole large enough to fit through and as they cant chew through the Flow Frames then there would be a hole somewhere. Ants can get in, i have lost a few caps, completely forgotten only to find a honey trough completely packed with debris and an ants nest needing to be cleaned out.

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Thanks! I’ve noticed some honey on the bottom of troughs of frames that I haven’t yet harvested (ever). Is it ok to leave there until I harvest? I suspect maybe it’s leaked a bit due to the hot weather (see pic)

You can just see where the arrow is pointing the leak back point is blocked by wax/propolis, rotate the cap 360º and lift it out slightly then push it back in - this should dislodge that blockage the bees build into the frame.

The leaking honey is like just a bit of nectar dripping through some of the lower cells that the bees may not have waxed completely. The notice the nectar is gone and patch it up. Nothing to worry about, and it is also a very small amount, keep in mind the rear slope of the hive and the honey trough too, so the nectar/honey will gather at the cap and is not a level throughout the entire length of the Flow Frame.

Thanks for the tip Kieran!

Going off topic now …my hive swarmed this year on 2 October but I managed to catch the swarm and now I have 2 hives. The beekeeper who helped me catch the swarm recommended that I use an ideal to give the bees more room and prevent swarming next year.

I have 2 ideals ready to go but haven’t put them on as the bees haven’t fully filled the super (~50% filled). But over the last 2 weeks they seem to be filling the super much faster so I’m wondering if I should add the ideals now? Perhaps to the old hive with the new queen?

I was thinking to add it below the queen excluder to give the queen more room to lay and also there’s a stronger colony going into winter (I’m based in NSW - Hawksbury). Do you think this is a good idea? Or should I just leave them as is until next spring? I had planned to remove the super, maybe leave the ideal in winter?

Or should I add the ideal as a second super and remove both in winter?

Thanks in advance!