In my flow super the middle two flow frames are about 99% full but the outer ones are only aout 40% full.
Would it be a good idea to move the middle frames to the outside and the outer ones into the middle. Your suggestions would be gratefully accepted. Cheers
Hello and welcome to the Flow forum!
I wouldn’t if they are mostly capped. If you do, the bees may uncap them and move the honey around, especially at this time in your season. If they are capped, I would harvest them. That is what Flow supers are really good for - you can harvest one frame at a time!
If this is the first harvest on a newly setup hive it might be better to leave them as they are. Sometimes the bees will leave a space at the bottom of the middle flow frames, just above the brood, where they think the queen will lay more eggs. They don’t know she can’t get through the excluder.
If those centre frames are full, they will fill the others.
On my first harvest I checked the frames and found empty centre areas as mentioned, so i swapped them to the sides and put the full frames over the brood. Once the centre frames were not over the brood they filled those spaces in a week or so and the whole lot was full for harvest.
I suspect you will have enough warm weather and forage time for the whole lot to fill and then to harvest, with sufficient warm weather for them to build up any resources they need to go through the cooler months.
OK, Thanks for that.
When you say “full”, do you mean full of honey or fully capped? If they are fully capped & 40% capped, the 40% capped frames might be full of honey which could mean that the bees wont take long to finish capping them if a honey flow is on. I wouldn’t move them around in any case.
I agree with @Dawn_SD, if two of the frames are fully capped, I’d harvest the honey from those frames. That’s what I do all the time with traditional frames. The only thing I do in my case, which is easier with traditional frames, is consolidate the frames I’m not harvesting from to one side, then place the empty frames on the other side. Then sometimes the frames I didn’t take to harvest from this time could all be ready to harvest next time, or the time after.
Hi Carl, Don’t go moving frames about. Do an eye ball inspection of the frames you think are full and if they are 80% capped or better then assume the honey is ripe and ready to harvest.
Moving frames in the super might well result in the bees moving the honey about in the frames rather than being out foraging.
You can harvest a single frame that is capped or more if you like but allow the bees to build up some honey stores for them selves for the Winter.
Thanks Peter, I am using double brood boxes (8 frame). Do you think the extra brood box be enough for them for over the winter without having to leave honey on the flow frames?
PS. I’m on the Darling Downs, SE Qld
So what you are having over Winter is a larger colony than if it was a single 8 frame brood box so there is more need for more stores. It could be that if it is a mild Winter they won’t need all the honey you leave for them if there is some foraging about. If that is the case it will still be there in the Spring for you to drain. I always leave a couple of frames of honey if there is a shortage of nectar about.
Think of it this way, the more bees that are in a hive the more honey is need for them to live on over the Winter.
I was out at Warwick last October to a beginner in town and he had a single 8 frame brood box and Flow Super, I’m not sure your Winters are that cold to need a double brood hive, I would check what other locals are using and if they are using singles then there is most of what you need for a Spring split there already to reduce the risk of the hive swarming on you.
Thank you to all who have helped out with my question
Welcome to the forum! I wanted to add that when I had to empty my Flow super in preparation for winter here in Northeastern US, the outer frames were mostly uncapped. I assumed they would therefore not be ripe and made sure to harvest those frames into a separate container. When I tested this honey later, it came out at a little over 18% moisture content. So it was actually ripe, even though it wasn’t capped. Just thought I’d point this out in case you ever need to extract uncapped honey, it’s worth testing before treating it as unripe!
Hi Eva, That is good to know