1st year of beekeeping and first time posting. I live in Sydney Australia. It’s august which is winter here but spring will start come September. Winter has been mild and i made the decision to leave the super on over winter. Been monitoring closely and the bees have filled most of the frames. Can see the capping inside rear window. Have not opened up the hive yet for s spring inspection. Wondering if I should be harvesting any of the frames yet to help prevent swarming or waiting until spring. Things I have read seem to indicate not to harvest till summer. Just worried that if I don’t harvest it may promote swarming. So I am asking for advice if I should harvest yet or not. Plenty of flowers around hence the filling frames.
If your Flow frames are ready to harvest, you should harvest the honey. I don’t think that will stop a colony from swarming, however it will assist in making the Flow super lighter & easier to lift off, for when you want to manipulate the brood, or open it up which Will assist in stopping the colony from swarming.
It totally depends on where you are and what your nectar flows are like.
I agree with @JeffH that empty frames are much lighter than full ones.
Harvesting the honey alone will not prevent swarming or preparations for swarming but may indirectly by allowing them space so they don’t get honey bound.
Hello and welcome to the Flow forum!
I am afraid that a window inspection is not an accurate indicator of whether the whole frame is capped. Bees will often leave an arc of uncapped comb in the middle of the frame. Not only do you risk harvesting unripe honey, but if it isn’t capped, you are also risking an in-hive leak from the open face of the frame.
I suggest that you do your Spring inspection on a day when it is sunny and calm (not windy) and you can see the bees are flying. It looks like they are foraging pretty well, so it is likely that it is warm enough to inspect. Then you can look at the Flow frame faces and get an accurate idea about capping.
Thank you all for helpful responses.
I agree with the above replies.
As long as the weather is reasonable lift the frames and inspect for % of cells capped. If over 90% and/or little uncapped honey in the frames it should be OK to extract.
At this time of the year if you have excess honey in the flow frames, extract and enjoy the rewards.
if you wait until summer to harvest in Sydney- your hive will swarm almost surely. Harvest when capped- and then keep harvesting. Leave the equivalent of four standard frames of honey for the bees for winter. This is the perfect amount for Sydney. If I was you I would add an ideal box- and then remove my flow frames every winter. flow frames wil last a LOT longer if they are removed for winter. Leave 5 frames of honey in the ideal box for the bees winter food.
by the looks of your photos some of your inner frames are likely already capped- have a look inside.
not sure where you are in sydney, but in coogee we often get a winter harvest. i think it’s the melaluka flowering.
i agree with the above answers. our flow windows can look full, both back and side, when they’re nowhere near ready for harvesting. there’s usually a nice arc of honey so the back window looks full, and the side window looks full because that frame is their insulation.
we often look inside thinking it’s harvest time and the centres are nowhere near fully capped.
the windows are very misleading, you should always check the flow frames before you harvest them.
Thanks all for your responses. After checking the frames 4 were completely capped. Have tapped these and the honey is delicious.
The other two side frames were about 80% capped. 12 days later I have checked these frames again and they are fully capped. Will tap these once the bees settle down again.
Tapped frames the bees have already started working again and they are well on the way to filling them again.
Very exciting to see them so busy. Lots of flowers around our area at the moment.
Oh yes I should say I have also done the first spring inspection of the brood box. All looks good. No signs of swarm cells. Will be doing this regularly though to keep an eye on things.