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Jelly Bush honey in Flow Frames

Can you tell me the best way to get Jelly Bush honey out of a flow frame. I have noticed less and less honey from the frames when I drain the frames although I always check the frames are fully capped

My mind is as thick as Jelly Bush honey, in my Langstroth Supers when I find Jelly Bush honey I scrape the comb down to the foundation and over a week or more it strains out. But it took longer than that for me to realize the drop in honey yield in the Flow Frames is because of the Jelly Bush Honey in them.

Any tips you have about it would be appreciated.

Hi Pete, you’ve just given a good reason for not using flow frames when jellybush trees are about to flower.

@akthommo had some experience with jellybush in his flow frames. He might be able to share what he did.


What you are saying is so very true Jeff, maybe Alan will pick up the thread and have an answer. I have also emailed Flow Hive to see if they have any advice.

Hi Peter, I had to deal with jelly bush honey in Flow frames in the past. It depends how pure or deleted it is with ‘normal’ honey. In my frames I had nothing else in the frames and 24 hours after opening the frames fully there wasn’t a single drop of honey in the channels below! So, I took them out and extracted them in a spinner (yes, it is easily done with Flow frames) but only got out about 20 percent. Did put the uncapped frames back and the bees used it up over winter, phew! With a mix of jelly bush honey it can help to operate the keys multiple times when cracking open the frames: use two keys, one in the upper slot and one in the lower slot and alternate turn the two every few seconds over a couple of minutes. It can help to get the flow started, but best to avoid jelly bush honey at all if possible as Jeff mentioned…

Thanks for the reply Georgina/Michael. What I have found it seems that once a cell starts to be used for Jelly Bush the bees don’t dilute it with ‘ordinary’ honey. The odd cell is ok but when I checked a flow frame late yesterday I found about 30% of the frame was Jelly Bush.
I’ll see if a Flow Frame will fit into my extractor given the extra width. That and blowing hot air into the extractor from a hair drier might be an option.
I would be really happy if my bees stopped foraging on it and played the game a bit fairer. :laughing::laughing:

Hi Peter, I got advice on the phone from @KieranPI (flow team) to be careful extracting flow frames using an extractor because they could fall apart. So with jellybush honey in them, you’d be tempted to spin them a bit harder, increasing the risk of them falling apart.

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Jeff, I didn’t feel that to be an issue and I spun them as fast as I could, regardless if it is a tangential or radial machine. The propolis, wax and jelly honey seems to glue everything together. With over 30 frames to go through the extractor not one fell apart…

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Yes I’ve had experience with both. Ha! That is, Jelly Bush in the Flow frame and the frame falling apart! Not much you can do about Jelly Bush in the Flow frame but crack it open and hope it’s not full blood Jelly Bush. I tried the hair drier option Peter to no avail. And full weight of honey in the frame is a warning to be careful when handling outside the hive. After no success in extracting I just scraped the wax and let the bees eat/clean up the Jelly. I still get it now but only in one of three hives at my place. But it is a beautiful dark honey that I keep for my own consumption. :honeybee::honeybee:

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Ah well, that’s good news.

On a different issue, flow say to not allow the fames to go above 70C. However @Michael_Bush is saying to rinse the frames in boiling water.


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I read that also about the max temp of water to wash the frames if need be. I think I would play it on the side of being cautious. Especially at the price of Flow Frames and I’m sort of thinking they might become a bit brittle if they are heated too often. Maybe I am being too careful. :thinking:

I’ve had to clean a number of Flow frames after a poisoning of a hive due to termite spray on the house. The honey was probably ok but I wasn’t taking any chances. About 20kg down the drain. But all I did was to blast the frame with the hose. Worked fine. All wax and honey removed.


I did something similar with our recently insecticide-poisoned hive. We soaked the frames in warm soapy water for a couple of hours, in case the insecticide had an oily base. David then rinsed them liberally with a hose until the foam stopped forming and all of the dead bees were blasted out of the cells. The frames cleaned up pretty well with this method, and hopefully the poison is all gone. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Well, if 70 c is what they recommend, go with that. The material looks identical to PermaComb and Honey Super Cell and those can take 220 f which off the top of my head I think is 109 c. A bit above boiling water.

According to Cedar, it is food grade polypropylene for Flow frame manufacture. I don’t know what they use to make PermaComb. :blush:

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Both are made from polypropylene which only means they are made from a combination of chemicals when mixed together have a reaction that generates heat to make a plastic of some sort. Sure they may look similar, even identical, but it is the combination of chemicals that makes the type of plastic that is required for a particular purpose.
In layman terms when a steel is made it can be modified with additives to make whatever steel is required, but they are all variations of steel. And it is much the same with polypropylene plastics.
Sorry for going off the topic.


i live in Lake Macquarie and must have Jelly Bush here too. None of the frames are draining!!
After reading everyones advice, trying them all (except spinning) i eventually had to resort to almost boiling water to clean up the flow frames. Plastic does not appear to have suffered (shall see)

It’s a shame that a lot of good honey got ruined. What I believe some people do is harvest what honey they can, then let the bees consume the rest, then hopefully next time the honey will be regular honey.

Jellybush honey is a real bonus when traditional frames are used. It IS a bit of extra work, however worth the effort.

Hi Peter, I’m thinking around Lake Macquarie there would be heaps of tea tree. I have tried to spin out Jelly Bush in my electric extractor with no luck. I have both Flow Hives and traditional Langstroth’s and with traditional frames I use an egg slide to scrape down to the foundation then drain the comb and honey. When I have found it in a Flow Frame I put it about 50 metres away from my apiary and leave it for the bees to rob the frame. That distance doesn’t start any hive robbing.
Not sure, but 70C is in my mind as the maximum advised water temp to wash out a frame. Jelly Bush sells for a good price, but not high enough for the hassle to get it out of a Flow Frame.
Welcome to the forum, your not alone as a bee keeper in Lake Macquarie, there are several on the forum.

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Thanks Jeff and Peter for your replies. I have only washed out one frame so far, having first removed as much of the wax capping as i could and waiting a few days for gravity to do its work. I got a few little jars worth with a lot of sediment (no bother as i can strain) - honey does taste great though.
So from what i’m reading , ill remove the capping on the remaining frames get as much honey as i can and place the flow frames 50m away for the bees to do their thing.
I have been contemplating replacing the flow box with a traditional Langstroth and go the extra step and buy a spinner.
Is Jelly Bush restricted to certain times of the year?
Thanks for your help - much appreciated.

The coastal tea tree is common along the east coast, especially in sandy soil or along the sandstone escarpment where you are.
It is more common in early Spring and is seasonal, do a Google for ‘tea tree flower’ and I’m sure you will realize it is growing in your area. Normally grows 1 to 2 metres, but I guess there are other variants as well as the mauve flowering common variety. There is also a white variety.
I have both Flow Hives and Langstroth’s at my apiary, and an electric extractor, but it won’t spin out Jelly Bush honey.
One trick I haven’t tried is to remove the Flow frame and drain it in the kitchen with a hair drier blowing warm air onto the frame once it is opened, only hear say, but it might do the trick.
Glad to pass on tips and help.