Leaking honey from flow frame during harvest

I’ll start off by saying that I am a fanatic about the flow frame. Like many other people, it was the catalyst that got me interested in beekeeping. I did encounter something that I think is unusual though. Two of my six frames had significant honey leakage. When the frame was “opened” for the honey to be harvested, I noticed a large amount of honey dripping out of the bottom of the bee hive. This means that it had to leak out of the frame, pour into the brood frames below, potentially coating all of the bees, in addition to wasting honey!

Has anyone else had this problem?


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I would suggest you do a search on “leaking”, this issue has been encountered many times previously and there are several possible causes. Have a look through the posts and see which one fits the description of what you are experiencing. i.e. is it leakage through the external capping, a mis-aligned segment of the flow frame, honey backup in the pipe overflowing the bottom channel, or something else

Thanks. As you might be able to tell, I’m new to posting too.

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This link gives a link to another thread, but also to a lot of answers:

Maybe sitting the flow hive on a sheet of plastic between queen excluder and flow hive. This won’t solve the leak but it will stop it flowing into the hive below.
Just a thought

Hmm, but then what happens when you try to remove the plastic sheet? Honey everywhere with my clumsiness! :blush:

I think I would start with a slow opening of just one frame, maybe opening it only 25% at a time and waiting 5 or 10 mins before pushing the flow key in to the next section to avoid building back-pressure. If it was still flooding, I would put a bee escape below the super, then when the bees have left, take the super off and harvest it over a large tray.

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  1. Check the hive has 2.5° tip to the back of the hive- if not able to measure put something under the front of the hive to tilt it back.

  2. Uncap 1/4 at a time - if all the cells are not waxed closed there is better chance it will run out better

  3. make sure 90% is capped

I am following threads and learning. I have a question for Flow hive. Did this issue only come about with purchased Flow Hive’s? Did this not ever occur during research and development? My suggestion would be or Flow hive to put together a concise PDF to trouble shoot this issue. Although I do love the forum, if I have time I do seek assistance from this group of experts. If I have to adjust readjust fix etc. It just does not seem correct and we should have a trouble shooting guide to fix this problem if it occurs. I dont see this reflected in the manual.

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I had a leakage issue with my very first harvest and I was quickly able to figure out that my leak was due to the honey having a low viscosity (as I live near the coast) and that the honey was seeping through the fractures of the cappings after turning the handle. I did have a chat to Stuart Anderson about this, they had not experienced the issue but this issue was gone on subsequent harvests. I figured that the cappings were thin and that the bees made the repairs themselves after having to chew the cappings down following that harvest. … this was just my experience and I realise that others had some other different issues.


Hi, we are having the same problem as you have described. Did you figure out the cause? We have tried opening slowly, changing the angle of hive and the honey continues to drip steady out the sides of frames. Help??

Just from my experience, the honey only leaks out from the uncapped cells. The cells that are capped don’t leak. Not sure if that is what you experienced.

Yes, that is what appears to be happening. We are new to beekeeping, located near Toronto, Ontario. We are pulling our last harvest today before winter and it seems like the uncapped cells (all near the bottom of frame) are causing the huge mess!

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Toronto…brrrrr! That’s definitely 3 brood box land up there! lol

I’ve also had leaks.
Had the hive on an angle didn’t help.
Also inserting the handle in stages didn’t work. I did it 1/6 th at a time and would wait an hour in between.

Cleaning the core flute didn’t help.

Recently I had lots of spare time and time took the full flows on a bench.
While in a super box, I watched what happened.
I made a base a metal tray for the super to sit on and to catch the overflow. When the handle turned many of the cappings broke and leaked on the bees side, as well as the internal side. ??? Then the honey ran down on the capped side. lots of it. If still installed that would be going into the brood box.
So if viewed from the outside it would appear no more honey was coming out and you could insert the tool and open the next section. Unbeknownst to me, the brood box would be getting most of the honey.

Some of the honey had crystalised in the flowhive and I decided to give them all a hot water bath (no soap) and free up the cells. I strained the liquid and made a very nice cider.
The flow hive was moving much easier and will see what happens next time.

I also tightened the wires, as some were a bit loose.

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Are hive beetles in your area? Honey leaking out of the frames onto the bees & brood can lead to devastating consequences if hive beetles are in the area. That’s why I suggest to people in such a location to harvest the flow frames away from the hive to eliminate that risk.

no hive beetles here.
I hate making a mess at the hives mainly because of the ants.
Having to remove the super kind of defeats the purpose for the person with one hive.

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