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Tried an oven to fix crystallised honey in flow

I asked a few weeks ago if anyone had tried this and Bianca said no, so guess what…i gave it a go.

I put some foil around the bottom of the frame to catch anything that come out…didnt want honey all over the oven. Yes i know it need a clean, but still.
I put it in the at oven at 55 degree celcius,
first for 1 hour…not enough.
then 3 hours…still not enough.
then 6 hours. It certainly got some out, but there are still some crystals in there.

Thinking the oven should have been at maybe 70 degrees?
Anyway, didnt want to go for another 6 hours so i think i’ll revert to water at 70 drees for what’s left in there.

The learning process continues…

Cheers
ron



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Ahhh Ron! Such an intriguing experiment and I can see you were in a tricky situation - but I’m so worried about what this might do to your frames. They weren’t really designed to be baked! I can see you’ve kept it to a low temperature, so that’s good. However, while this is within our recommended temperature range for cleaning with water, a warm oven is quite a different beast to warm water… and six hours is quite a stint in the oven, even at low range. Can you please keep us posted? We’d love to hear how you go and whether this deteriorates your frames at all. Best of luck, my fingers are crossed for you.

P.S. For other readers who keep bees in areas with nectar sources that are prone to producing honey that crystalises, it’s generally best to harvest early to prevent this, when these types of forage are in bloom. If you find you’re too late, warm water is the recommended mode of cleaning. We’ll be following this post with interest.

Interesting.

I was talking to Pete this morning (you may have seen him in some of Flow’s support videos) and he said that bees don’t like crystalised honey, they’re unable to eat it, and they use water to bring it back to a flowing state (honey).

I’m not sure where you got the idea of heating the frames to solve a crystalistion issue but I’d like to recommend:

  1. whilst on the hive, open and reset the Flow Frames a few times with the key, with the intention to disrupt the cells and honey, and rupture the wax cappings
  2. this hopefully triggers the bees to scrape back the caps and notice that the honey has crystalised and start their de-crystalising process. You could even try leaving the frame open for a couple of hours (on the hive)
  3. make sure the bees have sufficient water stores
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The idea came from the fact that if you have a crystalised jar you heat it.
Tried the keep it open thing but those cells wouldn’t even open.
It didn’t work anyway so I’ll go back to hot water.
Man, these things are a pain to clean.
Will report back if it was detrimental to the frames.
Even at 55degrees they were only Luke warm so I doubt there’ll be any issues.
Cheers
Ron

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You might have success getting this honey out if you let the bees eat it (they will, but as noted just need to use a little water to help liquefy each sip - as long as they already have a good water source they’ll bring their own). You could set the crystallized frames above the crown board/inner cover by themselves/without other frames in the Fsuper with the lid on, like for a feeding setup. The frames should get picked clean and this non-Flow-friendly honey would then be eaten and/or stored in the brood box.

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It’s been in the hive about 3 weeks after I tried to harvest so I gave up on the bees fixing it. They weren’t working on it all at.

Ron

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we tried similar- but not in an OVEN! problem with an oven is the heat may not be even. I would never risk that myself. But we heated flow frames in a warming box we made for several days and got a bit of honey out- but really it wasn’t worth the effort. Now I would just soak the frames in water and lose the honey. And then: I won’t use flow frames in winter at all- or very slow years. Too much risk of candying honey in the frames.

Honey in adelaide doesn’t tend to candy super fast liek canola- but in a slow year flow frames can take months to fill- or never fill- and then the honey candies. With regular frames this is not such an issue but with flow frames it’s a real pain.

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I tried that and it kind of worked but it took weeks and weeks for the bees to eat the candied honey. My solution is to no bother using flow frames except if their is a good flow and the hive is strong enough to take advantage. In some places/climates/years- this can be most of the time. In other places- not so much.

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I don’t know whether they like it or not, but its perfectly normal for bees to use crystallised honey as winter food. Yes, they dilute it with water, but they do this with liquid honey too.

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They may eventually do something with it, but it’s been 2 months and I didn’t particularly want half my honey super not producing.

The low temp doesn’t seem to have had any effect on the frames other than liquifying most for the honey allowing me to harvest about 2 litres that I couldn’t access before. Yes it was ripe.
Having harvested, I then used 70 degree water to finish the job.

Now two frames had some brood in them because we had laying workers. The water didn’t help on those cells.
Can anyone tell me if there’s a way to clean out those frames without taking the whole thing apart completely?

Cheers
Ron

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G’day Ron, I thought of another way to get the bees to use that crystallized honey apart from using the key to hopefully rupture the caps. I was thinking to gently use a fork to dislodge the caps while the frame is out of the hive.

About the brood. You could use a fork or hive tool to damage all the brood before placing the frame in amongst the busies part of a reasonably strong colony. Preferably above a QE. The second you install the frame, the bees will get to work & get rid of the damaged brood, before cleaning the cells out. You might like to freeze it for a period, long enough to kill any hive beetle larvae that could be consuming the brood under the caps.

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Thanks Jeff, there’s not a lot of brood in there so I’ll do that with one frame and I’m going to take the other one apart just for the experience. They’re off the hives anyway, so I’ve got time, and I bought a spare flow frame, so I have that up my leave too.
Cheers
Ron

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It’s not hard but you’re not going to do it very many times…

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Hi Ron, that sounds like a good strategy. I think pulling those frames apart & rebuilding them can’t be all that big a job. Considering that someone puts them together in the first place, I’m guessing in fairly quick time.