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Honey Leaking from Frames


I have two flow hives. One of them seems to have developed a leak and I don’t know why it has happened. I have harvested from this hive 4 times now but since the second harvest the frames have started leaking from the drainage plug at the back of the hive. I have attached a picture below. It doesn’t seem like a lot but I had cleaned it up completely the day before and this was after just half a day. The honey that comes out smells almost fermented so I am presuming it is not ripe honey. If left for 4 or 5 days it starts to dribble down the back of the box and attracts ants etc. Does anyone know why this is happening and what I can do about it.Frame Leak


Are you certain you’ve properly closed the frames? (i.e. inserted the key all the way to the back and turned it a few times in at least two different spots in the slot - left and ride side)

Have you checked the alignment of the cells?

Some minor leakage is common and not an issue, but in my experience it shouldn’t be going on for 5days…

NOTE, that in my opinion, what I see in your photo is normal. I get the same thing after a harvest and the bees clean it up within a couple of days. It isn’t an ongoing issue over many days though.


I wonder if the flow back gap is open and the plug cleaned of wax and propolis? Really any honey leaking should be able to go through that gap. I would check for obstruction. Yes, and turn the key a few more times in the top slot.


Thanks for your response. yes have definitely made sure the key is inserted all the way. I actually use the key in three different spots numerous time, left, middle and right side of the slot to make sure it is closed. I have another flow hive for which this does not happen. The photo was not taken after a harvest. I had harvested about three weeks earlier. After about two days the aluminium strip will be covered in honey.


Thanks and yes I would have thought the same. I have checked the flow back gap and make sure it doesn’t get obstructed.


I have had to clean the back of the plugs as any build up can block the flow back slot when you replace the plug.


Thanks Gaz, Yes I have cleaned the plugs to make sure they are not blocking the flow back slot.


The only thing not mentioned above is wire tension. If your wires are not quite tight enough, the frame flexes quite a lot during a harvest. If everything didn’t quite settle snugly together after the harvest, you may see a leak. You probably want 6 to 8 twists in the wires to hold the frames tightly together. I know that some batches were shipped out with only 3 or 4 twists.

It looks like you may be almost ready to harvest again. I would take the harvest when it is ready, then take the empty frames out and check the wire tension and flexing of the frame. If there is some propolis or hive debris holding the frame sections apart, you may want to disassemble and clean the frames.

Maybe @Faroe will have some other ideas or useful links. :wink: :blush:


If it smells fermented it could be hive beetle juices have mixed with it :nauseated_face:


thanks Dawn, I think you may be onto something there. The more I think about it the more likely it seems that it is wire tensioning. Given the amount of wax and propolis on these frames now I suspect they are going to need a real good clean under hot water.


I have seen a little honey like that in the channels after a harvest. To clear it up I would periodically remove the plug- and poke a stick through the little hole - as it is often plugged with wax/propolis by the bees. Then I have cleaned the tubes using a bottle brush dipped in warm water. After a week or two the channel remains clear. I think sometimes after a harvest bees start refilling the cells- and perhaps a few of them have not been completely re-sealed with wax? Looking at your photo- the total volume of honey in that tube is actually not very much at all- especially if the hive is at the correct slanted angle.


Hi there- thanks for raising this topic :slight_smile:

On occasion honey will drip into the trough while the bees are filling the cells. This happens when the bees don’t do a completely thorough job of waxing all the joins in the cells. We have not found this to be an issue as the bees will still finish off the comb ready for you to harvest. If the honey is building up in the trough this can be easily fixed if you wish.

The Flow Frames are designed with a leak back point feature to enable any honey that does drip down inside the trough area to be recycled by the bees inside the hive. However if the leak back point gets blocked by the bees the honey may build up inside the trough and sometimes spill a little onto the metal strip. You can rectify this by removing the honey trough cap and inserting a Flow Tube or a small stick, to clear the bees wax and allow the honey to be recycled into the hive once more. Sometimes spinning the cap around a little is enough to clear the leak back point without removing the cap. This may need to be repeated several times to resolve the build up.

If this is continually happening you may need to remove the frame and have a look to see if there are any alignment issues. If you are concerned please feel free to send through some photographs to info@honeyflow.com so we can assist you further in troubleshooting this issue.

Sarah- Flow Customer support

Leaking flow hive