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Honey leaking during harvest

Hi All, first post for me.
First I live in the south east of Sydney, after a year of study decided to buy a 7 frame flow hive 2. Installed a five frame nuc on September 14 2019. I had advice that I might not get to harvest at all year one. I probably put the flow super on a bit early (with hindsight) but the little doomsday preppers went crazy and had the middle 3 frames full by mid December. I also have ant proof feet and a broodminder scale under the hive. First harvest was done 28/12/2019 on frame 3 and 2.8kg was harvested. Best thing ever to watch, we had about 8 people around the back of the hive and the bees didn’t even know we were there. I have since harvested all frames except #1 and some of them twice. All frames are almost full again. My question is… each time I harvest a small amount of honey drips onto the tray underneath the brood box. Some posts I have seen say that this only happens the first time you harvest a frame. Seems to happen every time I harvest.
Is this normal?
Thanks Flow peeps

Very common problem and I think Flow really need to address this by making it obvious enough, that to harvest, you need to insert and turn the key 10cm at a time.

Also make sure that your wires are tight enough as this also leads to leaking. I had to tighten all of mine.

Leaking honey can kill bees, and you don’t want to kill any bees, especially the queen.

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I do each harvest in 10cm (ish) lots and still get a small amount of leakage.

Hiya Ben, welcome to the forum.
Yeah leaking frames has been talked about and for some a problem and others not.
There are ways of mitigating this. Incremental opening, as Zzzzzz mentioned, ensuring the majority of cells are capped, keeping an air gap at the top of the harvest tube, a breather in the bucket if tightly sealed and ensuring the frame cables are tensioned correctly are a few that come to mind.
Having a search with the search function should give more details. :wink:

Hi Ben, welcome.

Leaks can also occur in areas of uncapped honey. This is exacerbated when the bottom channel flows too quickly to the point the tube blocks up and causes a bit of back pressure in the system. Hence incremental opening is recommended.

What you describe doesn’t sound too disastrous. The bees will cope and clean up small leaks.

It’s when you get a ‘flood’ you’d ought to be concern. 2.8kg sounds good.

As well as having the hive tilt to the back I would use a spirit level to be sure there is no sideways tilt to the hive as this can cause honey to run out past the capping into the hive instead of down thru the frame. Don’t open the frame to the point where there is more than half the tube has honey running out of the frame. If the tube fills with honey then it can’t all flow out of the tube so flooding will happen. Make sure of at least the right tilt of the hive to the back but an extra degree or two won’t do any harm. Keep the frame open and draining till all the honey is extracted from the frame. I remove and check the Flow Frames and only extract those that are fully capped.
So those are my tips. but I even sometimes get a small amount of leaking after four years with Flow Hives. Take your time when extracting and remember honey doesn’t run as fast as water. :wink:

Hi Ben, because of your location, I would suggest harvesting the honey away from the hive to eliminate any possibility of hive beetle activity that can happen during honey leaks/floods. While bees are active cleaning honey off themselves, it leaves the brood temporarily unguarded & vulnerable to hive beetle activity.

Hi All, thanks for taking the time to reply, I think like ffffred said its not too disastrous. Thanks Peter48, (I have flow2 and it has the spirit levels built in) I will try tilting it back even more for the next harvest. Thanks JeffH , I don’t have a problem with my flow hive and SHB, its a good strong colony and the aluminium base works a treat. The bees kick out any beetles straight into the oil filled tray.