Leaking from adjacent flow frames during extraction

I’d like to know if anybody has had similar and what they think know is happening.
I have 4 flow frames.
In the photo, I’m extracting from the left most for the first time.
The 2 adjacent frames have each been extracted once. (The right most is virgin).
During extracting from the leftmost frame, the 2 adjacent ones both had a leak of honey (you can see it welling up against the round plugs - the right tube is draining the leaked honey).
The four frames only contact each other by the very ends.
I’m confused as to how they have leaked and I’m sure it has happened only as I was extracting (rather than happening slowly since initial extraction).

I seem to also remember when extracting from the previous frame 2-3 weeks earlier that a load of honey went pouring between the extracting frame and the adjacent one (flooding the brood section below).
Possibly wax caps tearing and leaking out there instead of inwards?
Has anyone had this happen also?

I haven’t. I’m intrigued. I think I would put a tap on the one in the middle though, whatever the cause.

Also check out the tiny drain by the plug and make sure that it isn’t blocked. That honey should be draining out

Can the bees get down there to clean that up?

Hi Chris,
There was a similar issue a short time ago by another Flow hive user, Cedar got involved and offered an explanation, see the post below. You may or may not be having the same problem, it just maybe that the bees have not sealed the Flow cells with adequate wax.

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Thanks Rodrerick,
I guess time will tell. I’ve had a couple of suggestions via that unofficial Facebook group for Australian Flow Hive users. Thanks for putting me on to this forum page!

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Thanks, Sara.
One drain had been blocked by propolis, but the two emptied frames were clear. I have thought recently that I tilted the hive further before extracting. so perhaps a small level of remnant honey in the base of the frames was pushed to the plug end making it look more full.

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I just had this happen on one of my hives? I am unsure what happened but we had quite a bit of honey leak down into the brood box. We were doing two frames at the same time when it happened - 3rd year with our flow frames & first time this has happened.


Hi Sherri, just be careful if SHBs are in your area, because quite a bit of honey leaking into the brood box can result in beetles getting a chance to lay eggs because a lot of workers (defenders) will be preoccupied cleaning the honey off themselves as well as cleaning the honey up.

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Thanks! So far we are not showing any sings of SHBs however we spent 2 days fighting off wasp. I removed the flow frames completely for our Wyoming winter. Will need to take a good look at them to see why this happened on the one frame.

There’s a few theories as why the frames flood onto the brood. A couple of my theories are that wet caps could be more inclined to split open than dry caps. Also I wonder if the bees cap the honey up close to the moving mechanism, if it splits there. You’ll see classic flooding in the photos in the topic “Honey Flooding Extraction” comment #12. by @Heron. You’ll see in the lower photo how I came to the conclusion that the wet caps split, causing honey to flow out.

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Thank again! This has been really helpful information.

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I was able to observe a frame carefully in one of my hives that has a larger than normal window. When I harvested it there were minimal leaks: but I did see some honey come out of uncapped cells at the very bottom of the frame. Oftentimes a frame can be 99% capped: the only uncapped cells are right on the very edges of the frame face. These are often uncapped- and completely empty- no nectar. If these are at the bottom- the honey above pours through those cells- and can back up and trickle out of the uncapped one. It does also trickle out of splits that can form in the face of capped honey. I was able to observe a leak like that- and also see that bees were managing to lick it up even as it flowed out. Smaller leaks can be handled by the bees quite easily- and working collectively they can lick up spills remarkably fast.

In that hive I am able to look into the brood boxes below as they also have windows and I was not able to see any honey that actually made it down to the brood. I think viscosity is also an element: thinner honey can obviously leak out more. If you knew your honey tended to be on the thin side- perhaps harvesting during colder times of the day can help reduce leaks. By doing the incremental harvesting- and only harvesting a few frames at a time- any leaks can be greatly reduced.


An effective method to minimise leaking or remove the risk, is harvesting in portions say a 3rd to a 5th at a time. Draining each portion before moving on to the next.

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You are correct @JeffH with the caps splitting. Not only do they split but they seem to pop off the honey cell whether wet or dry causing the honey to leak the over the outside. I have observed this on not only my frames but other peoples as well. I have added supports to my extraction ‘Box’ to prevent any warping of the frame during the extraction process but this seems to have had any affect on the leaking.

if you have a spare use two keys to crack the frames- this prevents them flexing as much sideways.