Confessions of a novice beekeeper – Part 10, our first harvest!!

Approximately 6weeks after installing the super and flow frames and we’re ready for our first harvest!

We’ve been monitoring the super and have been excited to see the honey levels, as viewed through the front window, increasing daily.

The empty flow frames but you can see the bees, busily doing their thing
A couple of weeks later and there are clear signs of honey now
On the morning (5/12/21) and it looks like there are at least three frames ready to harvest

With three of the frames looking like they’re full and capped, we decided to do our inspection two weeks earlier than planned, hoping to do our 1st harvest today (5th Dec ’21).

Donning the bee suits and flushing the hive in pine needle smoke, we popped off the lid and removed and inspected the flow frames. Interestingly, we noted that of the three frames that looked full from the front, only one of them (frame 5 of 7, counting left to right) was more than 80% capped. The other two frames (3 and 4) were about 60 to 70% capped, so very close but not ready yet. The remaining frames varied from about 30 to 60% capped, but had clear areas where the bees were still removing moisture from the nectar, prior to capping it as honey.

Note, you need to wait for the frames to be more than 80% capped, ideally fully capped, as uncapped honey is essentially still nectar that the bees are still dehydrating.

Exposing the flow frames
This frame is approx 70% capped
Jules taking pics for inspection records
This frame is only approx 30% capped
Yes, a frame approx 80% capped and about to be harvested
Yes, a frame approx 80% capped and about to be harvested

Carefully reinstalling the flow frames, we got our jars ready, turned the flow key and, started harvesting! As first-timers, it was amazing to watch the honey drain from the frame and fill up the jars.

Let the flow go!
The magic of the Flow Hive system, pure fresh honey pouring into jars.
Filling the 5th jar. Note, the jars are 375ml.
You can see the fifth, harvested frame, is now empty of honey. And, Jules has already observed the bees removing the old capping so they could clean the comb and begin production all over again.

We harvested a tad under 2 litres of honey from a single flow frame, and it tastes amazing!

The way our bees are going, we’re expecting to have to harvest two to four more frames of honey prior to Christmas.

Mads celebrating the honey
Our first harvest from a single flow frame. A tad under 2litres of fresh honey
Georgia’s label for our honey
Our honey mascot, Harriet, patiently waited on the deck, away from the hive, whilst we harvested.

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