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What to do with nectar?


I took my flow super off today because my colony is not strong enough to keep two brood boxes and a flow super clean and protected. They have plenty of honey below.
My question is, how do I get the nectar out of the frames so I can harvest the honey?


I don’t have a spinner.


Would shaking it get enough out?


Where in the world are you, Beth? Could you update your profile so that we can give you more accurate advice, please?

I also don’t know how removing the nectar would help you harvest the honey. Can you clarify? Do you mean you have both capped and uncapped cells in the Flow frames? Or are they all uncapped? Do you have any photos of what is worrying you?

If you have uncapped honey, what I do is remove the Flow super from the hive, and extract in the kitchen. I do this because uncapped honey tends to leak back into the hive. If I do the extraction over a baking sheet, I can collect any leaks. You should also be aware that if you harvest uncapped honey, you may see a lot more wax particles in it, so you may want to strain it after extraction (personal observation).

To get the super off the hive, I put a one way bee escape board under it for a couple of days. Then there are very few bees left in the super, and you can safely extract inside the house.

I don’t think shaking would be reliable, and any unripe honey remnants may ferment in the frames = ick for the next season. :blush:


I am in FL, USA.

I have some frames that are only about half capped. There is uncapped nectar and I assume some that’s close to honey. I want to remove the uncapped stuff so I can safely harvest the capped honey without “contamination”.

I wish I had a dehydrator, but I don’t. I’ve read that that can reduce the water content.

It’s warm here and I don’t have very much freezer space. I’m trying to prevent fermentation.



OK, the photos help, thank you. I would extract inside (kitchen or wherever is convenient), but if you can’t, you could still do it on the hive. Just only open a couple of inches of the frame at a time. Wait about 10 minutes and see if the bees are all piling up at the front of the hive. If not, open the next couple of inches.

If you do it in the kitchen, having cleared the super of bees with a bee escape, you can open the whole frame at once.

Looking at your frames, you will get more wax in your honey than if the whole frame was capped, so you may need to strain it through a normal kitchen sieve. No big deal. I would also buy a honey refractometer from Amazon or eBay (about $40) and test the honey you drain. If it is less than 18% water, it is normal honey and can be sold and stored as such. If it is more than that, just freeze the jars of honey (easier than freezing frames) and feed it back to the bees or use it yourself. You just can’t sell it as “honey”, because it isn’t dry enough. :blush:

Thanks for giving your location, but if you can update your profile by clicking on the little blue-green circle by your name, that will help my senile brain to remember you in future. :smile:


I tried that but it doesn’t seem to work when on my mobile. Will try it again from my laptop.

What is the best way to extract in the kitchen? I’m having trouble getting the comb to crack. The frame bends a lot. I will send another pic. I’m getting only a little honey thru the tube and a fair amount dripping down the outside. I will also do a search of the archive.


This one was completely capped.


I am about to travel extensively, so please forgive me for not answering more fully. I am not quite sure why you are having such a problem, but I never extract one frame on its own. As you say, they can flex when you turn the Flow key. So even if I am extracting just one frame, I do it in the box with the other 5 frames surrounding it. Never had a problem.

I don’t know if you are seeing something different, but maybe @Faroe, @KieranPI or @Cedar are much wiser than me. :blush:


I see that you have the key in the Flow Frame, the flow frame must sit vertically otherwise you will get leaks to the outside of the frame.

Beware that uncapped nectar is not honey because the water content is too high and it will ferment and spoil unless you put it in an air tight container and put it in your freezer.


Or she could pasteurize it and the water content will decrease dramatically.


Hi Beth,

I have scanned over the thread.

Looking at the Flow Frame, it doesn’t appear to have been opened completely. The Flow Key should be turned a full 90º, pointing downwards.

You should try inserting the Flow Key only a quarter of the way into the Flow Frame, hold the top of the Flow Frame firmly with one hand and try turning the key with the other. Then drain this quarter of honey before moving on to the next. It will be easier to harvest them when locked in place inside the Flow Super. You might find that the little amount of honey/nectar you have harvest so far was do to the Flow Frame, separating due to the flexing that occurred.

In this instance of harvesting you are likely going to experience leaking, as there are a few factors that will increase the risk. Uncapped cells (especially if these are in the lower rows of the Flow Frame), Nectar and honey (Runnier nectar can have flow over thicker Honey), Steep Harvesting Angle (this can risk overflow and also bottlenecking), and harvesting outside the hive will have more brittle wax and honey that usually flows slower. There also appears to be a lean to one side of the Flow Frame, with the harvest relying on gravity - overflow out of uncapped cells is possible again.

Your best option would be putting the Flow Frames in the Super Box, resting on top of a tray or container to catch any spills. Make sure they are firmly in position. You might find the best course of action will be to feed this back to the bees so they can remove further moisture from it. You would otherwise need to put it to good use soon as it might ferment.

Have a look over the harvesting checklist. https://www.honeyflow.com/resources/starting-with-flow/harvesting-checklist/p/197

I hope this helps. –Kieran


My suggestion if you have the freezer space is:

  • wrap Flow Frames in plastic
  • put in the freezer
  • when your brood box is full and it’s time to add the Super: pull the Flow Frames out of the freezer and chuck them in your Super.

No need to harvest, clean and store etc.
Just freeze as they are, and pop into the Flow Super when ready :slight_smile:


I thought this would be a common problem, but I guess it isn’t.

We ended up putting the frames back in the box for support and harvesting it that way. We put the honey from frames with some uncapped cells together and the fully capped honey in a different jar. The runnier stuff we will use quickly and perhaps try our hand at mead. We ended up with over a gallon total.

If anybody thinks of a way to get nectar out of the cells, let me know please.


Would the heat of pasteurizing effect the quality of the honey and its enzymes? But on the other hand fermenting honey has little value also.


@Peter48 for the last pull of honey from my super there was capped and uncapped honey so I pasteurized it to rid the honey of excess water. WOW it’s great tasting too. The honey started out light in color and so I followed directions on how to pasteurize the honey which is easy. Simmer it for 30 minutes at a particular temperature which escapes me at the moment. After the process the honey was dark and more flavorful then the raw honey. However, all the “probiotics” were killed leaving a scum on the top of the honey which I spooned off. It’s nice to know too! So I went from thin light honey to thick dark richer flavored honey. Nothing is going to waste.


As enzymes are proteins, any heating above 60C (140F) will denature the vast majority them. However, despite old wives’ tales, there is no convincing evidence that the enzymes are all that beneficial when you eat honey. It may be different when you use it for medical purposes (like on a dressing for a burn), but I don’t think Martha is doing that.

Just for the record, pasteurizing honey will not kill off Botulism spores, so please don’t consider it safe for babies or immunocompromised people. :open_mouth: :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I just freeze my “wet” honey (I refuse to call it nectar, as it has been partially processed by the bees), and use it quickly. @Martha’s solution is interesting though, and I am tempted to try it some time. :blush:


I’ll try new stuff! The whole bee experience is new. However, I did obtain the method from a credible bee source. Thanks for the additional health information Dawn. I’m going to have to bone up on citing sources! :rofl::joy::raised_hands::honeybee::honeybee: :honey_pot:


Here’s the article I read prior to pasteurizing my honey. It gives the full low down skinny on what your doing to the honey. I hope this helps. :smiley: cheers! https://honeybeesuite.com/honey-pasteurization/