Manuka honey (and Jellybush in Australia) are thixotropic honeys. This means they do not run or flow unless agitated. To date, we have not had any success removing Manuka from Flow Frames. This includes trialling a ‘honey loosener’ as used in commercial Manuka extraction.
Thixotropic honey is difficult to remove from any form of honeycomb frame. In order to extract Manuka honey commercial beekeepers must employ the following:
- Plastic foundation (to withstand additional force in extractor)
- Heat frames
- Prick cells by hand to loosen the honey
- Spin 3x faster and 5 x longer than for liquid honey extraction
Often bees will store a 50/50 mixture of ordinary honey and thixotropic, which we have had success harvesting by repeated opening/closings of the Flow mechanism which allowed almost all the honey to flow out.
What to do if you get Manuka or Jellybush in your Flow Frames
You can try one of the following methods to remove thixotropic honeys from your Flow Frames:
- Flow Frames can be spun in an extractor, like conventional frames. You can attempt to extract the thixotropic honey by pricking to loosen, then spinning.
- Agitate the frames and then return them to the hive. The bees will clean up the honey and will relocate and likely dilute it so that the honey will flow on the next harvest.
- Scrape honey out of the frame if you want to harvest the honey – as the honey doesn't 'flow' you won’t be able to strain it to remove the wax.
- A few people have been discussing Jellybush and Manuka honey on our forum, you are welcome to join the discussion: visit our forum to discuss Manuka Honey.