That’s pretty full. We pulled this Flow frame
out of the hive to put it on the bench so you could see it in action, and see a close up of how it all works. Now, of course you don’t have to remove it out of the box to get the honey, we’re just doing this for a demonstration. You can see the bees have really
drawn the wax out, and completed all the cells and filled it full of honey. There’s still
a few cells here that they haven’t completed. Let’s have a closer look.
You can see the way they’ve capped it beautifully. Let’s have a look. There’s still some cells
there that haven’t been capped. You can see here they haven’t quite finished filling the
comb. They save those end cells to the last, so you get a really good idea of how full
and ready the honey is. You want it to be mostly capped before you harvest.
There’s been some questions about whether the honey’s ready, and the answer is yes.
It’s perfectly ready, just as it is in any other type of honeycomb frame. As soon as
they’ve capped it, the honey is perfectly ready.
These frames come out of the hive in much the same way as traditional honey frames,
with the hook going under here. This is a standard beehive tool. There’s a little screw
in the end here which allows us to adjust the frame so it sits really tightly up against
the other side of the box, and makes sure that observation we know at the other end
stays in line. There’s a cap that comes out at the top. That’s
where the tool goes in, and this one at the bottom, it comes out. This is where the tube
goes in. I’ve just got a short tube here, just for the purpose of demonstrating and
getting the honey to our jar. You see two slots here. Now the bottom one’s used to open
the cells and harvest the honey. You can use one tool or two. I only use two here because
they’ll work against each other and won’t tip the frame over. All I have to do is move
these down like so, and what’s happened is inside the honeycomb, the cells have split
and turned into channels for the honey to flow down and out of the hive. Let’s have
a look at that. Grab that. Looking in the honey tube. Look at that. Isn’t that absolutely
gorgeous? Beautiful honey just draining down. Wow. We can get a bit closer. Woo, there it
goes! You can see that quite quickly draining out
of the frame. Look at that honey just pouring out, that beautiful fresh honey. You notice
it’s pretty much free from wax. It just comes out pure and clean. There’s no filtering needed.
As you can see here, the dark area, that’s where the honey is still draining down. Where
it’s light, the honey’s actually all drained out already. Here you can see the capping
hasn’t actually changed. The bees are standing on top of this, and the honey just drains
out from beneath their feet. The capping hasn’t really been disturbed at all.
Over here you can see how the channels are formed inside the comb. They haven’t capped
it, but you really look at that, those zigzagging channels that guide the honey down and out
of the hive. It’s been about 10 minutes and we’ve got that much honey already. About 1.5
kilograms. We continually get the feedback from beekeepers
that it tastes like comb honey. It tastes like when you chew on fresh honeycomb, and
we think it’s because the honey’s not mixed up. They’re not mixed with all the other frames
in the hive, and the honey hasn’t been spun through the air in a centrifuge and exposed
to all that oxygen. Apparently honey loses some of it’s full flavors from oxidization.
It’s been 20 minutes and now I’ve got that much honey. You can see it, slowing down here.
Look down the tube yeah. You can see the honey’s drained out of end frame view now. A little
bit still there draining down at the end. So here, you can see how the capping hasn’t
changed at all. The bees could be standing on top of this comb surface, and hardly ever
notice anything going on. Whereas where they haven’t drawn the honeycomb cells out as far,
you can see there is a little bit of disturbance there.
We initially thought we would have to coat the whole honeycomb matrix is wax in order
to get the bees to like it, but we didn’t have to at all. You can put this straight
in, no wax coating, and the bees take to it and build all this beautiful honeycomb on
it. In fact we’ve tested, using traditional wax frames, and these, side by side in a box,
and they’ll build on these and the flow frames at the same time. It’s really quite amazing.
It doesn’t have to be either or. You can have flow frames in the middle of your box, and
then a couple of traditional wax ones either side, you can have the best of both worlds.
You can have a whole other box of traditional frames, or another box of flow frames. It
doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
You can see how all that honey’s drained out now and the comb’s getting quite light. There’s
still a few drips, dripping from the ceiling. Gorgeous. You don’t need to leave these tools
in the whole time. Once you’ve opened the frame you can take them out and move on to
the next one. Such beautiful honey. The best time to harvest the honey is when
the bees have capped it fully. They can be standing on the comb’s surface and really
not notice much difference. If you harvest the honey early, and there’s bees down the
cells, then we’ve designed it so the bees won’t get hurt. We’ve done that, you can see
here a fresh one that’s had no wax on it yet, you can see the space we’ve left so the bees
won’t get a wing or a leg caught. To reform the honeycomb so the bees can fill
it up again. We use the top slot. It’s a matter of putting your tool in the top here, and
turning it once again. That’s it. The honeycomb is now ready for the bees to fill again. Now
another thing we’ve designed, is that if you forget, and you leave that up, we’ll just
put that up again, you can’t actually get the cap to go in. To remind you that you need
to put the comb back into the cell form position for the bees to fill with honey, we’ve made
it so you do actually have to close the cells again, and then the cap will go in.
The honey’s coming out nice and slow now. If I’m in a hurry and I don’t want to wait
any longer, I can take this tube out. We’ve designed a little point here, that means when
we put this cap in, any remaining honey will drain out of the trough and back into the
hive. Put that cap in now, and you can actually watch the bees licking up through this little
slot and they’ll clean that whole trough out just by continuing to lick the honey. That
way, there’s no honey left in the trough going fermented or candied.
Look at that big jar of honey. Isn’t that beautiful. Now the bees will notice all the
honey is drained from out of the cells. They’ll chew all that capping off in a day or two,
and be refilling it with honey again. It’s a wonderful thing.