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Honey leakage after removing cap before opening frames

Peter covered it pretty well. Thanks @Peter48.

Look, I’m only going on personal observations & what other local flow owners have told me. There’s the dark beetle larvae stains in the flow frames. There’s the beetle slymed drone larvae in the flow frames. I don’t need any more reasons then that to give the advice I give. On top of that, other locals have had slyme-outs several days after harvest. What about those photos of another local of mine, Heron. It’s my guess he set the harvesting bench up so he could harvest away from his hive on account of flooding issues.

You debated this at length with me in the past. There’s no point in doing it all over again.

cheers for now.


my guess is some honey has leaked and fermented in the channel. Best thing to do is to ensure the hive has the correct tilt- and then periodically turn the little cap around so that the hole where the bees can lick up honey is kept clear. You can poke a small twig into it as well if it is blocked with propolis. Then get a long bottle brush (not the plant- an actual bottle brush). Get a bucket of warm water- dip the brush in and run it in and out of the harvest tube- dipping it in the bucket of water to rinse it each time. Then leave the plug out overnight so the drain tube can dry (you can stick a ball of paper or cloth in there to prevent ants or bees crawling in but allow it to air out). Then harvest assuming it has stayed dry and no more honey has dribbled in.

I often clean my tubes like this a day or three before I plan to harvest. Many times the trough is squeaky clean but sometimes there is a little honey residue- or some wax particles and possibly a dead ant or some such.

Then when you harvest your flow frames put a good fine strainer in line so the honey is strained as soon as it comes out. that way is ready to be jarred immediately.

That channel cannot be accessed by the bees- and is kept very warm and humid all of the time- so any honey that may leak there has a potential to ferment. As the frames get older it is more likely for it to become a little mucky. At the end of this season when you remove the flow box before winter you may want to inspect the frames and check the wires- especially if any certain frame has demonstrated this issue more than once.


If you look through the side windows and those outside frames are capped and you look at the ends and the ends are mostly full, there is no need to pull them out to look in my climate. It will all be capped.

That’s what I did with the latest harvest and it all tested out at 16.5% water.
If you wanted to take honey from the middle frames when the outside frames have not been capped (as seen through the windows) then yes I would have a sneek peek at them just to ensure they were capped.

This is most likely how I will be proceeding in the future. However, since this was my first year using the FF, I wanted to satisfy my own curiosity that if the end windows were filled and capped, that it meant the bees have filled out the rest.

A refractometer would seal the deal and be confirmation of moisture content.

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There’s no substitute for physically inspecting the frames. You see the status of the honey. Plus it rules out any possibility of squashing drone larvae, which can happen if the queen, for some reason finds her way into the honey super.

Also by regularly inspecting the frames, you can keep everything loose & easy to lift out & replace by removing any burr comb & or propolis as you go.

As I found yesterday, frames that haven’t been removed for some time can be a hard job to remove. It just means more upset bees, which makes putting everything back together that much harder.


You are right to be 100% sure all cells are capped. I found that I upset the bees quite a bit by diving in to see what % of the frames were capped. Eventually I found that the middle frames were 100% capped when the outside frames were 100% capped.
Admittedly if you don’t inspect every frame you won’t see if the queen has been laying in there, but I am a positive sort of guy who believes the QE will do its job and would have no reason to doubt it. Here where I am in the West there are no hive beetle or any other bug accept a bit of wax moth so no reason to be on the alert. I spend more time looking at the brood boxs where any problem will first arise.

To be clear though, a normal year I will only harvest once (that may include two robs over a 3-4 week period) when the marri bloom. There is not enough blossom to give a harvest at any other time. Except this year when all the trees are flowering out of season or twice in a year.

I take the Flow Super off for winter and thoroughly clean and inspect the cells which prevents a build up of wax and propolis and it goes back on in Spring when the broods are almost full of brood ,honey and pollen. Last year the Super stayed off all year and we had no honey harvest…:cry: This year the double brood hive had its Flow Super on mid August and the single brood hive got the Flow super on last week.


These frames hadn’t been out since about February, which was the last time I had them out. What a job getting them out. I left #6 in the super. What a job getting the last frame back in. Is there a secret to getting the last frame back in without killing lots of bees?

Most of the time I do not necessarily agree with Jeff re Flow frames, removing them for harvest, his claim that they can create SHB problems but his posts about checking the flow frames for drone brood before extraction has some merit. I had it three times now that I ended up with drone brood in the flow frames (mind you I do have a number of Flow hives in use for a few years now), each time after when the queen was superseded and the new one still quite small and to be able to fit through the metal queen excluder and seemingly a bit lost. It didn’t help that the outermost frame next to the observation window was fully filled and capped, so the drone brood was in an arc in the center frames. Was lucky to pick up on it inspecting the frames for harvesting, because I don’t always inspect. Lesson learned: be cautious with new, young queens.

Jeff, it took me a couple of years to work that problem out (fitting the flow frames back into the box), always killed quite a few bees, now almost none at all: the secret is to remove the rear door ( the one for harvesting), no squashed bees between frames and wall when you slide them down back into the box and when you insert the last frame. Hold the frame almost horizontally, but then insert the backside, harvesting side of frame first, then lower the front end of the frame with the to little lugs and feed them in.Let the frame slide down part of the way and then with your hive tool move/ squash the other frames together to make enough room for the last frame through the rear window. Also, never use the very first or last frame to insert last. Hope this makes sense.


Great call.:slightly_smiling_face:

I had the rear door off, the mistake I obviously made was inserting #1 last. Next time I’ll know better, thanks.

Hive beetles is something we all have to work out for ourselves. My advice on hive beetles is all based on personal experience & observations in relation to flow hives. I’ll message you from the post where I uploaded some photos.

That’s what I did with the latest harvest and it all tested out at 16.5% water.

The reason for my caveat “in my location”. Yes I would check the first couple of times to see. In some locations, capped isn’t proof of it being dry enough. Here it has always been good enough. I’ve never owned a refractometer. By the time they got cheap enough I had been getting by fine without one for many decades and it seemed superfluous.

Something always reassuring though, to know what the water content is.
Being a bit of a belt and braces guy I also frequently do @JeffH’s drop of honey in water test for ripe honey.


Now that refractometers have gotten so cheap I get tempted to buy one… yes, reassurance is nice.

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I regularly remove the flow frames for inspection. The chief aim is to determine the % capped honey on each face of each frame. The rear window is a guide only. Not a big problem once you have done it a few times. Basically I treat the flow frames as I do traditional ones.
Having said that I would never take the frames out to extract elsewhere. That would defeat the main purpose of the flow system.
I guess everyone is different and does what suits them.

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I’m like you, I remove frames and ‘eye ball’ them before extracting so I know it is ripe honey and do my extracting with the frame in the hive. It works for me to know the frame is at least 80% capped and so won’t ferment.