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Add another Brood Box and/or a Super, Mount Tamborine, SE QLD, Australia


#1

Hi All,
I have been looking at this topic on the Forum and cannot find a definitive answer that takes into account my location, which is on Mount Tamborine (SE Queensland, high altitude) and the time of year, i.e. start of winter.

Current temp on the Mountain ranges from a low of 6/7 degree C to high of 17 Centigrade. And expect it to get colder. About 4 to 5 degrees colder than the Gold Coast.

Keeping in mind that there seems to be plenty of natural food, plus I am feeding every so often.

I checked the 5 hives (just single Brood Boxes at the moment) and they are doing really well. A lot of brood, lot of honey and pollen.
My plan was to LEAVE off the Supers until early Spring, however, after checking the boxes I reckon 80% of the frames are almost full in all the Single Brood Boxes.

My biggest concern is doing anything to change this very healthy situation at this cold time of year.
All queens are Carniolan.

Your advice and comments would be much appreciated.
Many thanks.


#2

Your winters in Mt Tamborine are warmer than spring here which for me is the only time I get honey and a time when I have to get into the hives all the time. Beautiful spot there by the way. I hope that assists in your decision.


#3

Thanks Dan!
In fact a person in this neighbourhood TOLD me in a very serious way that I should NOT even consider starting anything, including buying a NUC, until Spring. So your comment makes my day!
Now for that decision???
Cheers,
Jasper


#4

Hi Jasper, as you have a few hives there, I would consider experimenting with say one of them ( a strongish hive) by adding a super and see what happens over the next few weeks with it. With average max temps of 17, you are going to get days over 20 with plenty of bees bringing in nectar, so I reckon you might be pleased with the results. There may be no-one else on the Forum in your specific area.


#5

Good idea. Will do. Have 5, so will put 2 Supers on this week.
Thank You!


#6

You may also want to consider under supering. I have a hive that I did that with this year in mid autumn. I’ve got temp probes in and it is amazing to see them regulate the temps and humidity differently in both boxes. Top is brood temperature and ~60% humidity. The bottom is chock full with stores but they let the temp fluctuate more with the daily variations and humidity at 70-80%.


#7

Hi Jasper,
I can see Mt Tamborine from our place, but our lowest temp in winter is 10C, a bit more coastal.
I put the flow super onto one broodbox that was totally overflowing with bees 6 weeks ago. They are doing well and populated the super straight away.
3 weeks ago, I added the flow super onto another brood that was full, but not crazy overflowing. It is a lot cooler since, but forage is there. That super is still quite empty and I’m considering taking it off again.
I tried feeding them with syrup baggie on the inner cover, but they just crawl through the super quickly and they are not too keen on syrup.

That was an experiment to see what to do with my other 4 single brood hives. I will leave them all single for now. Even though they are busy flying during the day, they return home much earlier and bunker down for the night.
I guess they need energy (food) to keep the brood warm.

It may be different for my hives down by the beach. They have more forage with all the winter flowering stuff down there and one hive that was a 4 frame nuc 2 months ago may be ready for the super.

Before putting a super on, you should really check if ALL brood frames are built out, FULL of brood and food and bees.

Maybe just put the super on your one very strongest hive and see how they go. You’ll know soon enough if they happily populate the super or not.


#8

Hi Webclan,
I was all keen to get the Super ready for the strongest hive today, but, whoa! It was COLD this morning and I pulled back on doing it.
It has warmed up now to 14 c, but as you say, the bees are definitely slowing down in the colder weather although winter has just started. Mine are all back in their hives much earlier each afternoon. As it is all new to me, and considering I dived in (as usual) and went from 1 to 5 hives within a short period, I am going to show some patience.
IF I add a Super, it will be later this week or next.
There is a lot of natural food on the Mountain, especially in the trees. One tree just at the front door has blossomed, not sure what it is (am finding out) and the girls love it!
Another point I should have brought up in the original post:
The first 2 hives/Brood Boxes are perfectly positioned to get maximum sunlight during the early morning and late afternoon. The last one is getting very little direct sun, although they are thriving at the moment. All face NNE.
Now if I can get the darn GoPro sorted out, I could show a video!
Many thanks for the advice. I’ll keep you all posted.
Cheers,
Jasper


#9

Hi Adam,
I am a real rookie, so will keep it simple for the time being. Thanks though!


#10

Hi Dan2, Webclan, Adam,

Temperatures:
Maybe the bees get accustomed to the local climate, therefore will act different to bees in a warmer or colder region, rather than having a set reaction to the temperature.
In other words, like me, I am used to warm weather, so feel the cold more than someone from Canada etc and react accordingly.
Your thoughts on this?


#11

My thoughts are that I agree…but I’m just going by others fleeting comments on this Forum and my own observations. My bees take off on a still sunny day when it is just a few degrees above zero. They’ve been flat out for hours today, and it has only just got above 10 for instance. There is not much nectar around at the moment. Although it rained heavily recently causing flash flooding, it is quite dry which doesn’t do much for nectar flow.


#12

Thing is, it’s not a good time to check the broodbox. We may get 24C today, but somehow the wind feels cold. The bees seem to know it’s winter and time to contract. Might have to do with the low night temps or the shortening days.
Interesting that our winter temps are about what Dan gets in spring down south, so the bees’ behavior likely has to do with the sun cycle.
Carnies contract better in winter than Italians, but they will expand much earlier and faster in spring according to my experience.
Have your supers ready for that day.

I have 6 hives with brood and super so full, they can hardly move in there. These are the ones to watch as soon as the days get longer. Still have a few weeks to come up with a plan. :thinking:


#13

Day length certainly seems to be very important as @Webclan says . How much rain is important too. Nice moist soil seems to help the trees produce more nectar. Last year here was reported to be the worst for honey in 10 years…and it was really dry…only about 400 mm of rain all year in places. This is a photo from North Bruny yesterday from just above the isthmus. South Bruny is in the background. This lagoon is just so empty at the moment…


#14

Wow Dan, that looks dry. Yes, rain seems to ensure future nectar, as long as the rain stops some time. You never know around the subtropics.

I think @Peter48 is somewhere close to our climate and he recently installed some broodboxes. Wonder if he thinks about supering this time? Unless he is down by the beach. Here at the beach are plenty of trees flowering. Paperbark and such. Unfortunately I don’t know those trees that well yet. I’m from Europe and never saw such vegetation before. Only know paperbark because we wrap our fish in it for fire cooking.
Neither do we have those trees up here in the mountains.


#15

Can see why the nights get cold with that clear sky.


#16

@Dan2 I am only 700 metres from the beach with most of my hives 2 klms inland in ‘old growth’ bushland and heath, Banksia, Paper Bark, Grevillia, and spring flowering wattle are all in flower and the bees are working them for pollen and nectar. Lots of gum trees and Eucalyptus trees as well as heath flora that should be flowering in the spring if we get reasonable rain over winter. My winter usually lasts 6 weeks then I’m back into shorts and a T shirt.
I am busy at the Men’s Shed making boxes and frames ready for wiring and foundation. At the moment I have all my hives except one in single brood boxes and no supers, one hive that is very sheltered from the cold southerly winds I dropped a super and QX on today and will monitor it closely to see how the bees go with it, the brood box is bursting at the seams with bees.
Regards


#17

Sounds really good Peter. The subtropics of Australia’s eastern seaboard must be one of the best places in the world for keeping bees, particularly with no varroa. I remember about 20 years ago, walking a little way into the track to Witches Falls in the Mt Tamborine area- seeing amazing lush bush and hearing just incredible sounds of the Queensland forest birds in song. Really beautiful.


#18

I’m about 200 klm’s north of Mt Tamborine, lots of bird life and the wonderful smell of the bush, fortunately most is old growth. I hate the winters, it was down to 12c at my apiary last night, but the rest of the year more than makes up for the 6 weeks of winter Brrr
Regards