To date I’ve been emptying & removing my flow super in autumn. Replacing it with ideals.The ideals are only ever very little used by the bees & then I have the problem of storing (freezing) the frames till the next winter s well as the boxes. The reason given for doing this was that honey may crystallise in the flow frames over winter & the very difficult to remove. The more I think about this the more I think its wriong advise by those who don’t know & probably suspect flow frames in general. Why would honey crystallise in flow frames if the don’t do this in traditional frames. I welcome your thoughts.
A very logical question Bill and I’ll bet you get conflicting advice.
The fact is that over Winter any honey that will crystallize in a Flow Frame will also crystallize in a standard frame and vise versa. So if the honey doesn’t crystallize in an ideal then it won’t in a Flow Frame.
I leave mine on all year round and have not yet had an issue.
Could I asked what suburb are you in?
My flowhive is in figtree
I leave mine on all year round too… I do occasionally get crystallisation over winter so I drain and extract normal supers in late august or september but I don’t take all the honey as the spring build is the time they consume the most.
I agree with @BayoNat and @Rodderick who are both saying that you won’t have a problem in leaving the super on over Winter. I had hives at sites around the Hawkesbury area that was a lot colder Winters than you will have about Woolongong. I always left a super on my hives there and even if some of the honey crystallized it was still a food resource for the bees that they needed.
I am in Tasmania. New to bee keeping. During my training the trainers advised that some flowers - Tasmanian native box species in particular were mentioned - will give nectar/honey that will be prone to crystallizing … our first harvest shows no evidence of this problem with our hive, but then in our garden most of the honey will have been collected from domestic flowers and vegetables.
The most important factor in whether honey crystallises or not is the source of the nectar. In my area, rape and especially ivy are notorious for crystallising. The latter, in particular, can set rock hard over the winter.
The bees can deal with this by collecting water and softening the oney when they need it as winter food.
However, if the hard honey is in the flow super and the bees are in the brood box, they may not need to seek out and use this honey over the winter. Then in springtime, with fresh nectar coming in, the crystallised honey frames become the beekeepers problem.
The traditional beekeeper deals with this by taking the hard frames out and keeping them for use in nucs later in the year or by bruising their cappings to encourage the bees to use them.
However neither of these methods are suitable for flow frame hives.
Actually you can do that with Flow frames, and I did it myself last year.
I used a plastic roller with the needles that you can buy as a way of opening the cappings for extraction with a conventional frame and it also works on the cappings of a Flow Frame. It is a way of getting them taking the honey from a flow frame if it is honey or crystallized or you just want them to take the honey down to the brood box. There is even the odd time they will do what you want…
Cape Weed and Salvation Jane are notorious here for crystallizing quickly, even in our Spring.
Thats a great idea if & when. Thanks.
Thank you all.
If I wasn’t before I’m convinced that there is no real reason for swaping out the flow frames for winter & if for some reason one day they do crystallise I’ll use the spike roller to encourage the bees to clean them out.