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Perth (WA, AU) Flowhives and honey flow


Mead is fermented honey, but I have the feeling that you don’t drink alcohol… :blush:

We had fermented honey one year in the UK. We had to spin some uncapped supers from a hive which demised after swarming late in the season. We didn’t have a refractometer (don’t know if they were even available to the public 30 years ago!), but it seemed that the honey would not be ripe. We labeled and jarred it separately from the rest, but our freezer was tiny, so we couldn’t store it that way. In a relatively cold garage, within about 3 months, the lids were deformed outwards on a significant proportion of the jars. The honey smelled slightly alcoholic, and tasted unappealing to us. As we didn’t have to kit to make mead, we ended up discarding it.

Lesson learned. Won’t do that again, and that is why we now have a refractometer. :wink:


I would try mead, in fact I want to make some one day.
But you are right, you could chase me down the road if you tried to force me to drink red wine! Yuck. An insult to my taste buds. Everybody else seems to like it.

So @BecW could just try a fingertip of the honey and then decide if the channel needs flushing or just draining.
Have to admit, I’m scared of flushing. What if some water got through down into the brood box? Shouldn’t of course.


Hi Bec,
Drain the honey and use a moist clean rag (old t-shirt) wrapped around the Flow tool, run this a couple of times up and down the channel to clean it up and then you should be good to go again. As Dawn said, this can sometimes occur on new frames when the bees didn’t do a great job of sealing the gaps…


How did you go have you extracted honey yet


Yes we did. Three frames showed leaking. One was about 66% full and the others 100% capped. Surprisingly we got 7.1kg from the three with the a moisture content between 16.5 and 15.5 so we were happy. Seemed to fix excess leaking and bees have cleaned it all up quickly. The other three frames were also full so we hope they have enough for winter.

cleaned within 24hours.

Thankfully there is a heap of paperbark and wattle flowering still.


End of the first month of winter and I finally removed the top supers on the two best producers, something I’ve been meaning to do for the last few weeks. With the cool nights the bees were few, most packing down to the lower boxes. Surprised when I found the top super (hybrid) full of honey… And of course the one below (also hybrid) also full. I left the lower one on although drained the Fframes leaving the outer frames in situ. I need to get a spinner…
Plenty of honey in the WSP above the bb too.
I will be extracting the removed supers off the hive and can properly observe the sides of the frames for leakage, if any. I will then swap the supers for the bees to clean up, next fine weekend.
So mid winter harvest! Woohoo!
The last harvest is beginning to chrystalize which has slowed my sales leading to an excessive stockpile so looking into assembling a warming cabinet in the near future to mitigate this problem. Any ideas for the ideal temp?
This spring I will be needing to split the colonies and have realised that 2 colonies is enough for me so will be scaling back to 3 hives and selling any over this so if anyone would like some bees early next season let me know.
Plenty of trees still flowering with plenty of pollen still being taken into the hives.
Should be an interesting Spring.


I am afraid that will depend on the honey. :blush: If you have the option, I would design a setup that could heat to a range of temperatures from 40 to 50C. I would start the honey at 40C and if it has redissolved after 48 hours, go up a couple of degrees, but use the lowest temperature possible.

If you have freezer space, freezing honey prevents crystallization just about indefinitely. Counterintuitive, but true. :wink:


this works very well for me…I do leave a bit of space at the top of the jar for the honey to expand and the lid slightly undone initially, but I am not really sure if either precaution is really necessary. @Dawn_SD or anyone… any ideas about that?


When I jar my honey, I weigh it on a digital scale. In a 12oz jar, I always put 12.1 ounces of honey into the jar. That gives me about 1cm of “headspace” above the honey and below the rim of the jar. I freeze them like that with lids finger tight. I have never seen any expansion of honey in the jars. Additionally, I have frozen frames of honey. I have never seen the cappings lift off or crack.

So maybe honey doesn’t expand the same way as water does when it freezes? I don’t have any scientific references for this, just personal observation. Seems likely though. Water is very unusual in the universe in that it expands when it freezes. Most liquids don’t do that. By the way, frozen honey doesn’t “look” frozen. It still looks translucent in the jars. :smile:


Most things shrink when frozen. Water is not the norm…


What I thought was that the 17.1 per cent (water) part of the honey might expand when it freezes and so the “honey” would consequently expand? Can’t find any real info on that unfortunately…


Hi @skeggley
Are things really early flowering there this year? Do you get the classic spring flowers (like in the photo attached) in WA like snowdrops and daffodils? Someone told me this was the earliest they had ever seen spring bulb type flowers here in Tasmania (in the whole time they had been here - about 55 years). What nectar are they gathering?


Seems intuitive doesn’t it? But physics isn’t always like that. Non-Newtonian liquids are fascinating too for that reason - very counter-intuitive. I think high solute liquids really don’t behave in the way that the pure solvent does - even freezing temperature is hugely affected by dissolving salt in water, for example. Which makes me think that at -18C, perhaps honey is not actually frozen. When you take it out of the freezer, it behaves like toffee. At -18C, it definitely is not solid. :wink:


Hi Dan, I’m not sure if everything is flowering early or late.
Still plenty of deciduous trees holding their leaves.
I’ve got a mulberry tree with ripe fruit now… Ripe bitter fruit… Bulbs are up but not flowering yet.
Lemon scented gum is flowering, I’ve seen jarrah in bud and the swamp gums here flowering again, second time this year… Grevillea beginning to flower, agave flowering attracting a lot of bees in the late arvo and the citrus is beginning to bud.
As most natives are opportunists this doesn’t surprise me as are getting a few days of sun followed by a few days of rain. I’m sure the winter is yet to set in although we are already smashing through the wood pile…
Two years ago we got no honey and have a colony nearly starve so swings and roundabouts I guess.


I wondered about freezing honey.
I recently decrystalused honey at 39C for 8 hours, turned real clear, then froze it to -22C. It just turned really gooey, never froze. After 3 days out of the freezer, it started crystallizing again, so I reckon if you have raw honey that does not stop crystalising if you heated it up to no more than 40C, that’s what your customers get if they want raw honey.
This honey came in at 16% water, so it’s good.
I noticed the temperatures advised for heating honey are a lot higher in the US. Guess that honey wouldn’t pass a few test here.


The honey I have, which being predominantly Marri and sucrose, seems only to begin to chrystalize when the weather cools so I was thinking of maintaining a temperature before it chrystalizes. Is there a storage temp suitable for this? I was thinking early 20’s, Celsius of course. Energy wise the lower the better. I don’t have freezer space and the shed fridge won’t get emptied this month thanks to Dry July…
I like crystallised honey, doesn’t run off the spoon but then again it doesn’t stop the peas falling off the knife.
I also like to be able to use a word, spell it differently, and still be right. :wink:

It is also interesting @Webclan, how quickly the honey rechrystalized once thawed suggesting the composition had changed when either heated or frozen.


Hi skeggs. I left one jar totally untreated. Behaves the same. 39C is just a warm summer’s day and not much above brood temperature anyway.
The freezing just stopped the crystallization process completely for the time. I don’t think it changes the honey.
And tastes the same as the untreated batch.

It tells us something else though. During a hot summer our honey is less prone to crystallize in the super.


Looking for any beekeepers in bullsbrook ,Perth,wa,would love to hear from you,regarding all topics on bee keeping,new and excited about getting my first bees in September.


Hiya @Beekeepingchef welcome to the forum. I see your Bullsbrook thread has been moved to the Perth thread for some reason. Anyway, plenty of good advice on this forum although opinions can differ markedly but that’s the beek game I’ve found. Study up now to get a head start before you get the bees. :wink:
Plenty of hobby beeks around here, in the Perth area, although good mentors are a bit thin on the ground.
Where are you planning to get your bees from?


Hi Everyone,

I too am new to beekeeping and would like to be put in touch with a beekeeper north of Perth so I can start the process.

Hi from Australia