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Visually Inspecting Flow Frames before harvesting - is it necessary?

Thank you for all of your tips and suggestions. I went into the hive this weekend and checked frames. I have a hybrid…the traditional frames and flow frames were both about 90% capped. I was able to harvest honey from the flow frames and the traditional frames, and the moisture content was about 16.5%, well within the acceptable range. The honey lighter and more viscous than what I harvested when I lived farther north (I live in Florida, used to live near Washington, DC. I’ve removed the flow super so that I can treat for Varroa with Apivar strips. Looking forward to getting back to it in about 45 days.

Thanks again…this forum is just great.



Thank you so much for the update. Really happy that everything went well. You may want to leave the super off for the winter, depending on what your locals do. Even subtropical Florida has periods of nectar dearth. :blush:

Hi Matt, great news there. I was just wondering what the end windows ended up looking like? I guess you didn’t get a photo?

Hello all,
I am a 3 month bee keeper with a 7-frame Flow hive. I can see capped honey looking through the back window in some of the central frames. I note in posts that folks pull up their frames for a visual inspection like the Langstroth frames.
I tried to to this and found that the flow frames are held fast by our friend propolis. I am now worried about damaging the frames with the hive tool. Where are the best locations on the frame top to use the tool? The flow frames are chock full of bees. Thanks and do bee do bee do. Eric

They are (surprisingly) strong. I wouldn’t worry too much about damaging the plastic, but you need to be careful not to roll too many bees when you pull them out. Also, when you replace them, bees will be coming out of the (formerly completely covered) back panel. Having someone to help the first time or two with the smoker would help.

I think Cedar pulls out the frames at around 4:55 in this video.

Also, if you have a refractometer you can determine if even uncapped honey has sufficiently low moisture content but unless you’re in a hurry, you might as well leave it there until it is either >90% capped or until the end of the season when it needs to be harvested anyway. If you harvest substantially uncapped honey (like at the end of the season, or if you know your bees tend not to cap honey even if it is low enough moisture) then it may be worth the small investment in a refractometer.

Good luck!


You need to be alert for leaks from the Flow frame face too. You can flood the hive if the frame is largely uncapped. I prefer to harvest this kind of honey off the hive, so that I don’t drown bees. :wink:

Another point of view in favor of inspecting flow frames before harvest would be just in case the queen got through the QE before laying eggs in the flow frames. Alternatively if a laying worker decided to lay up there.

I would never suggest to harvest flow frames without physically inspecting them first.


thanks do bee do bee do, Eric