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Honey leaking into trough while frame appears to be in closed position?

Hi all from Sydney,

I’m new at this and really enjoying my Flowhive that received in September. So far everything is going to plan and I have honey accumulating in the super at a fantastic rate, in the middle frames particularly, as expected. I’ve ‘wasted’ so much time over the past month or so, staring into these observation panels just watching the goings on…anyway, to the point:

I do have some concern over one frame on the far side that appears to be leaking honey into the trough. I’ve uploaded some photos so you can see what I mean.

<img src="//discourse-cloud-file-uploads.s3.dualstack.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/business6/uploads/honeyflow/original/2X/4/4d27bac7f83830223ae682444624e470685a0101.JPG" width=“666” height=“500”

I had checked all the frame were closed before the bees were added, the operation slot cap certainly fit on OK and it says in the manual that that the cap will not fit on if the frames are open, so not sure what is going on with that one frame.

Since I discovered the honey in the tough this morning, I have again inserted the Flow Key into the upper slot and turned it 90 degrees to check the entire frame length is definitely closed.

I will wait and see over the coming days if that solution perhaps fixes the problem but I just thought I’d see if anyone else has come across this?

I’m assuming the leaked honey will just flow out of the trough for the bees to clean up.

You can see I have a bit of an ant problem concentrated in that frame and now I can guess why…


There’s not much you can do to keep out the ants, they are in all my hives. They only gather where the bees can’t get. They found a permanent food source there.
I had asked the question awhile ago about being able to clean the trough from residual honey so it didn’t ferment; never thought about it attracting ants.
Maybe just put a filter on the bottle when you harvest that frame to keep the ants from pouring into the jar.

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I can’t answer your question, however your not alone in spending a lot of time staring at bees through an observation panel. I’d even stick my neck out to say: “I believe it’s not time wasted, it’s time well spent”. Good luck with your bees, cheers:).

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I would suggest you take the lid of your hive off and pull that frame out, make sure all the cells are aligned, you made need to jiggle the cells a little to get them to line up so the bees can wax the gaps.

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When you do the key because they are stiff and new do the Key both side of the close slot - one or two of the cells may be stuck - when you have used it a few times it should become easier to align.

I opened and close my cells several times to help smooth the action - Hope that helps

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I’ve had this before as well, it seemed to stop after a week or so and for me all honey did drain out of the trough and back to the bees, I’m not sure why it stopped perhaps the bees fixed up the gaps with wax and propolis or the honey just drained out of a few cells.

So far haven’t had the issue again, and it hasn’t seemed to have stopped the honey from filling up :blush:


Hi Oatkir, great to see the pics! Please send us more and some video too, I would love to see your first harvest.

Honey will drip into the trough while the bees are filling the cells sometimes. This happens when the bees don’t do a completely thorough job of waxing all the joins in the cells. I don’t see it as to much of an issue, the bees will still finish off the comb ready for you to harvest. If it’s building up in the trough, pull out the cap and make sure the little leak back point is free from wax so the honey will drain back to the bees to reuse. You can also loosen the cap a little to make the gap bigger or spin it around a bit to break any wax to help the honey leak back into the hive. The upside is you can taste the honey! On my morning walk you will often find me down at the hives taking a sample or two :slight_smile:

I can see why you would turn the tool in the top slot to make sure it’s closed. This may actually make it leak more though. This is because the bees complete the cells by waxing up all the joins. The wax joins may then fracture if disturbed by turning the tool, even in the top slot. Don’t worry the bees will fix it all up.

Ants can be annoying, although they can usually coexist fine without causing any trouble other than aesthetics. If the caps are on they wont get into the trough. Cinnamon helps. Clean off any honey and dust a generous amount of cinnamon powder behind the cover.



Thanks to everyone for their speedy and helpful advice, I’ll probably go with the inventor on this one and leave the frame alone (after a pre-harvest taste test :yum: ) and see how I get on over the next week or so.

I appreciate your reply Cedar. I am eagerly awaiting the first harvest day in the not too distant future (along with a bunch of super interested family, friends and work colleagues who ask all for constant status reports on the bees) so I’m sure there will be many a photo and video taken of the event.

I’m not too worried about the ants at this stage. Although, I think I’ve been bitten by ants more times than I’ve been stung by bees while sitting around watching this hive. I have tried applying cinnamon on the exterior of the hive and behind the cover and it does seem to work but if the ants are determined they just seem to find another path around the cinnamon, especially if it hasn’t been applied in a while.

Thanks again!


Cinnamon sticks or powder will keep the ants away…they despise cinnamon! Put some around the base of the hive and anywhere else the ants have to trek over…they will not climb on cinnamon sticks.


wow, I never knew this about ants and cinnamon. I wonder if you could get cinnamon oil and coat the inside of the hive with it.

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I am not sure about coating the hive, but you could use essential oil around the base of the hive. The idea is to block the pheromone trail of the ant…citrus, peppermint, vinegar and even coffee grounds will do the same thing. Cinnamon seems to last the longest and it will definitely get rid of ants. I was feeding through the top a mixture of water and honey and the ants found that spot. I put 6 cinnamon sticks around the feeding container and spread powdered cinnamon along the edges of the inside top cover. The ants left and never came back. I also spread powder around the entire hive a couple of times in spring to keep them from even getting to the hive. It works. You can get 1 lb of organic cinnamon powder at a reasonable price at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_8?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=starwest+botanicals&sprefix=starwest%2Caps%2C202 They also sell cinnamon sticks by the pound…very fresh and organic.

You were exactly right Cedar. I did as you said and loosened the cap. There was only perhaps 20-30mL honey sitting there in the trough as opposed to the bulk amount still stored quite happily in the flow frame. So the honey I saw did probably just come from a few cells not quite sealed perfectly. I tasted a little and let the rest drain back underneath to the many waiting bee tongues. I closed the cap back up and now 5 days later there is no longer any honey pooling in the trough and the flow frame cells are almost full of honey.

Thanks again, hopefully this will help others that see the same issue.


Thanks for that update, it will help in the future when we run into the issue again!

Hi all from Perth, WA.
I have the same problem as oatkir. I was very careful about making sure the cells moved freely along their full length before closing them up and putting the caps in properly.
So tonight I did as Cedar suggested, made sure the little leak back point was free from wax and then left the cap a little looser. I will monitor and see how it goes.
I have small coastal brown ants, but the bees seem to be keeping them under control.
Really enjoying the whole experience. Done two beginner courses and learning lots. Looking forward to my first harvest.

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@oatkir and @mgw46, did your trough issue resolve itself?
I’ve got the same problem - i’ve had the flow frames on for about 8 weeks now - the bees have been slow to take up the flow frames, despite a bursting brood box and copious amounts of burr comb full of honey.

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Hi All
Well I have same thing in that have honey in honey flow trough which to me does not seem a problem . Now have seepage out of the back of the trough plug . Checked and plugs are in firm , Is this because of the expansion and contraction of the plastic due to warm then cold days
I am in Perth

Hiya Charles, 15 Flow hives! Wow!
I would imagine the wax would soften and harden with the temps and have some give as the frames expand and contract. Wire tension is important because as the frames fill they get heavier and can bow in the middle, I have experienced this with the founding frames. When these frames were harvested the frames straightened when the key was turned, another good reason to open the frames in portions.

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It may not be that. When I checked some of my Flow frames this year, the area just below the round plug was filled in with wax or propolis. More on some frames than others. I keep a poultry twine skewer in my bee bag (don’t ask why :blush: ) and it is the perfect size for dislodging such bee remodeling efforts. Once out of the way, the channel empties, and the bees get to enjoy it.


If I have not understood your comment properly, perhaps you could add a little more detail? Thank you.

I will try to help if I understand. :wink:

Explanation will try !!!
Ok plug that you take out to drain honey from frames into Jar etc seeps . Honey seeps out onto back wooden cover . Now drain hole might be blocked (that allows honey back into brood box ) To me that is not a problem as means more honey to extract .

Ah OK, I think I understand. Any standing honey (like standing water) in the Flow drainage channel is a problem. The reason is that honey is hygroscopic - if not capped, it absorbs water, and then it can ferment. So you need to let it drain back to the bees ASAP, or rinse it out before harvest. If it is leaking around the cap, it sounds like the channel is very full = not good. :blush:

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