Monthly Archives: August 2016

A Lite Harvest from the FlowHive Super

After months and months and after harvesting almost 100 pounds from regular supers, I finally got a little honey from my FlowHive super. I didn’t have the full set-up, just the frames to collect honey stores. I put my FlowHive super on a strong hive in March, just before the first nectar flow. In Central Texas, the spring nectar flow can be really hit or miss, but this year was incredible. The hive with this super started as a double-queen set-up, then, when I separated the boxes in April, this hive was deep with a medium.

They quickly outgrew the deep and medium set-up, so I moved to a double deep and moved the queen excluder to below the medium. After the last of the brood hatched from the medium box of frames, I moved it ABOVE the FlowHive super. That was the first indication of what the bees thought of the this new contraption. They crawled through the FlowHive to store nectar in the super above it! And they filled that super at the tippy-top of the hive in a hurry too. But even when they ran out of space for nectar, they were reluctant to use the Flow frames and began backfilling the top deep frames instead.

Eventually, they did start putting a little nectar in the frames in early June. They even capped a bit, but before they filled a complete frame, they began moving the honey to other parts of the hive. I decided to pull the single remaining frame that was about 2/3 capped.

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I had already decided to remove the frames for harvesting, rather than harvesting at the hive. Lots of reasons: the hive didn’t tip back as specified in the instructions; I didn’t have long tubes to connect the drain tubes; and, despite their assurances that it wouldn’t disturb the bees and could be harvested without notice, I was dubious. Good thing I did! Harvesting was a mess.

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The wax fractured when I opened the cells

The wax didn’t remain intact, so instead of only running down the interior of the frames, it also oozed down the fractured wax. The drain tube also had a little leak. In my honey house, I had a pan under the frame and another under the tube connection. If I’d been at the hive, I would have rained honey down on my bees!

However, I did collect a full quart of honey from the partial frame. I’m going to try to collect some of the fall flow on another hive.

I doubt I’ll ever recoup the investment, and I’m glad I only bought the Lite version with four frames. I get a fair amount of ribbing from old-timers, but I really bought it to support innovators. After all, beekeepers used to use baskets to house bees and destroy hives to harvest honey every season until someone had a better idea.

 

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