Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Minimum ambient temperatures for harvest


#1

I have postponed harvest of my Flow Hive (6 frames) in the hopes that it would rise from about 20% full (inspected in mid August) to closer to 50%. No idea yet how many capped cells I have since they seem to be building on the interior far away from the viewing ports. So here we are in October and the warmest day for this period will be 70F. That’s later today.

Assuming normal honey (not really thick stuff like some people report), will this work in the field? I realize the hive temperature is quite a bit warmer than ambient. But…

Alternatively I could bring the super into a heated space but then I have the problem of getting the bees to stay behind.

I have searched FAQ and issues seem to be about special problems like crystallization and thick honey.

Any help would be appreciated.


#2

Mine filled the inner frames first and then worked their way out. I harvested the two inner frames first but then made the mistake of leaving them in the same position. Have you done an inspection and pulled the frames out to see how much each frame was capped? I would do that first. If the inner frames are capped the most you could harvest those frames but I would recommend then moving those two frames to the outside and then move the others in. Based on what happened with mine I would make the assumption that the bees would begin to work on finishing the inner frames. This would then allow you to harvest what you could from the other frames before its time to remove them for the season.

I brought my frames inside once the majority of the honey was harvested. I used my brush to remove any bees on the frames and then had my son bring them inside. I drained the remaining honey in the frames after harvest into a container and then fed it back to the bees. Temp’s were in the low eighties during the day and fifties at night.

Hope this helps!


#3

This will be it for the season. I will leave them out long enough for them to clean up the drips then bring it in for the season.


#4

I appreciate all these details even though I’ll won’t be dealing with my Flow frames until next year. This is the big year for trial & error with Flow frames in colder climates! So you guys are blazing some larger scale trails. I recall reading Michael Bush’s experience of winter storage of standard frames in a basement going awry when wax moths infested them. No idea if there would be enough on Flow frames for that to happen, but if so please be aware they probably shouldn’t be kept in above-freezing locations. I believe he keeps his in a shed, so they’re protected but cold.


#5

The deed is done. Let it be said that the honey flowed at 70 F, no problem.

I harvested a little over 3 quarts (4.3 kg?) from the middle four frames. (I put them out in late March so it was not a great harvest but the concept has been proven)

I closed the cells back up and left the end view door off. I also left the bottom caps off but put the top caps back in.There are lots of drips outside the hive for them to clean up and no doubt inside as well. I will let them have it for several days at least.

Cleaning up for winter storage will be next.


#6

Hi @Michael_Bush, what were your minimum harvest temperatures?


#7

I wasn’t tracking temperature, but I don’t remember it being either hot or cold, so I would guess in the 70s F


#8

I’ve been logging temperature and humidity hourly in my hive so if you are interested I can post what the numbers are when I harvest. Mind you, living in WA (AU) isn’t exactly cold weather (no matter how much we have been complaining about this never ending winter…)


#9

Hahaha yeah it’s probably not too cold there :wink: I just looked up 70 F, which is 21 Celcius, so that’s not too cold. I’m sure it would get colder in Byron when they are harvesting in winter.

I’m sure if you post your stat’s - people would be interested :slight_smile: Thanks :bee:


#10

Faroe,

There might be some that have hive sensors that could bring that info… Yesterday I was Winterizing three of my remaining hive … I transfer frames from hives with greater supplies of honey. One of the frames comb was damaged in removal n the honey still ran fair from the damaged wax comb. Not sure the exact interior temps as my Davis Wx station does have a hive sensor but outdoor temps were mid 60’s. F with a high of 64.6 dgs F @ 15:34 local time. That is appro. the time I damaged the wax comb.

Next season I will have this exact temperature info when I hopefully have my first Flow-hive harvest. This morning here in the Seattle foothills our temps have dropped to 39.8 dgs F n yesterday dropped to 36.6 dgs F.

. I’ve added couple pix’s of my daily Wx log n records of beehive work. I believe we’re ready as can be for our long damp winter here in the Cascade Mtn foothills. We have the remnant of a hurricane aimed at us pet NOAA for our Thursday. Today I will add additional bricks/weight today. My hive are semi protected by the neighbor fence but wind can be tricky.

Battening down the hatches in Puget Sound,
Gerald.


#11

Holey moley that’s a quick drop to the cold :scream:

I guess the thing would be that you could always take the frames out of the cold and warm them up somewhere - in warm water, or leave in the house to warm up a bit before harvesting - if it was necessary.


#12

I live near the New York and Pennsylvania border. I have two flow hives. I was able to extract honey this year from one of the hives. The other hive was weaker and did not produce enough honey for me to take. In the stronger hive, four of the six flow frames had honey that I could extract. It was October 5, 2016 when I extracted two frames at one time.

I have two brood boxes on the bottom, then queen excluder, then the flow hive on top of that. The two bottom brood boxes are being left untouched for overwintering.

The honey was typical of NY Autumn honey; very dark, flavorful, and molasses-like. It seemed to be thicker than normal to me, but its density was actually a seemingly fairly normal 1410 grams per liter. I was able to pull approximately two liters from each flow frame. I did time-lapse photography of the filling up of the glass containers. I left a clock and a thermometer in the image as the video was being made. Approximately 2 liters flowed out of each frame in about 3 hours. I pulled 4 liters total from those two frames. The outdoor air temperature was 70 degrees F (21C). The actual honey temperature was 77 degrees F (25C).

I intentionally left one flow frame in the flow hive super for now. I am waiting for the outdoor air temperature to drop significantly and hold there for a few days so that the honey also chills down. I doubt if anyone would ever be pulling honey in NY when the outdoor air temperature was much less than 40 degrees F (4C), but I am waiting for some temperatures down near there to see how long it will take to get the two liters of honey out of the one remaining flow frame. After I get that data, I will try to remember to re-post the information in here to update anyone who might be interested.

I could not find any good general viscosity data online for honey at temperatures that were below 68 degrees F (20 C). If anyone has that kind of data, could you please share it on here?

Thanks,

Joe


#13

Well it is clear that at 70F ambient all is well. Interesting to hear that the honey came out at 77F which makes sense. Will be curious to see what happens at lower temps.

I used to live in Shunk Pa for a short time.