Flow honey harvest and removing supers

On Friday we harvested honey from our beehives.

We currently have two Flow honey supers, which are a special kind of honey box and frames where one can crack apart the frames and pour out the honey without disturbing the bees.

Here Jenn is using a big metal key to start the flow:

Starting the flow

Three tubes open:

Three tubes open

Honey starting to flow:

Honey flow

Meanwhile, we swapped out the jar-style top feeder on the Orange hive for the trough-style, as the jar-style didn’t really work well, since it wasn’t possible to refill the jars without bees coming out, while this trough-style can be topped up without a bee suit. The white stuff is some frozen sugar water with a supplement added:


We also removed a couple of other honey supers. The bees for one of them had been a bit over-enthusiastic in their building, resulting in broken honey comb attached to the queen excluder; you can see what the inside of a honey comb looks like:

Broken honey comb

Nice frames of honey for us:

Honey frames

Checking in on the Flow again; we had to keep an eye on it to swap out the jars as they got full, and rescue bees that decided to go for a swim:


(We keep talking about a solution involving a bucket with a lid and flexible tubes, but keep forgetting about it until it’s too late.)

A sticky bee, having been rescued from falling in a honey jar:

Sticky bee

We stacked up the removed honey supers, with a bee escape on top:

Honey supers with bee escape

The bee escape lets the bees leave, but not go back in:

Bee escape

Next I added shelf brackets to the Yellow hive:

Adding shelf brackets

The shelf brackets installed:

Shelf brackets

The door of the Flow hive then becomes a shelf:


Jars and tubes in place:


A couple of tubes flowing, and one more just starting:


Even while the honey is flowing out, the bees are safe and happy (if a little confused) inside:

Bees inside

Honey flowing:


Bees are attracted to the honey. Some are clever like this one, perched on the end of the tube, sipping some honey:

Clever bee

After removing a tube, a little honey leaks, so a cleanup crew takes care of that:

Cleanup crew

Some bees are not so clever, trying to fly into the stream:

Not so clever bee

Another clever bee:

Another clever bee

We also added entrance reducers to the hives, to make it easier for them to defend against robbing by other bees:

Entrance reducer

The hives now have had their honey supers removed in preparation for fall and winter; the bees have completed their service to us, and now can work on building up their stores for the winter. We left the queen excluders out so they can scavenge honey from them:





Super stack:

Super stack

Harvest total: about twelve quarts of honey from the two Flow supers, plus eight frames from the other super:


The next morning, we suited up again, and went back out to collect the supers, now that most of the bees have had time to leave:


We put the box of honey frames in the shop freezer, to kill any bugs that may be lurking, and store until we decide how to extract the honey (e.g. via a spinning extractor, or cut into comb honey):

Honey frames

Yesterday was very hot, so the bees were hanging out outside:

Hot bees

And drinking from the pond:

Bees drinking from the pond

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