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Adding a second brood box before Winter? Australia - Southern Highlands


Hi There,

I have my first brood box, 90% full & I have a second brood box assembled ready to add, but…it is now Autumn

I live in the southern highlands, and we will have frosty mornings come June, July…

Regardless of the time of year, or winter approaching, my first box is full, so I should just add the second correct?

Just concerned about adding the extra space, then it turning cold in the next few months ahead.

Thoughts and feedback might help me make a decision. :slight_smile:


Hi Shane, a more local person might respond and let’s hope they do but your proposal is ringing alarm bells to me. I think it is too late in the year with cold weather almost here. In Tasmania plenty around us have wood heaters going already and we are more or less at sea level.


Hi Shane, I’m a glass half full beekeeper. You still have April & May before you get to frosty mornings. That’s plenty of time for a strong colony in good conditions to fill a box. Fully drawn comb would be ideal to add, however failing that, I wouldn’t give them any less than properly fitted wax foundation.


Hi Shane.
What is the purpose of adding another box at this time? It’s unlikely they will swarm at this time of year. As the days get shorter the bee numbers will begin reducing in preparation for winter.
@JeffH, would they use their stores to build the frames out if just wax foundation?
I put an extra box on prematurely earlier this year due to convenience and it actually stalled the colony.


I probably should have explained myself a bit clearer. “Good conditions” can be interpreted as good weather, I should have said “good weather with a honey flow”. If that was the case a “strong colony” can build up from wax foundation quite readily without drawing on stores. I assumed that Shane probably didn’t have any frames of drawn comb.

I’m finding that during a honey dearth that bees don’t build any fresh comb. They need a lot of honey to build wax, so they conserve what they already have. As soon as the honey flow starts, then they start building fresh comb.


Hi Shane…you are pretty high up there aren’t you in Moss Vale? I am estimating from the Weather Station there that you are about 675 meters above sea level?


Thanks for the feedback, I have waxed frames in the new box ready to go.

Watching some video’s I am thinking to place 2 full frames into the new box from the first, and replace with 2 waxed frames in the first, standard practice by the look of it.

Yes 2 months to go until it gets bitterly cold with frost, watching the bees today, they are still bringing back plenty of pollen, orange and white colors under their legs…

Yes they wont swarm now, funnily enough at the start of the week we had a hot day 30+ degrees and they formed a beard out the front of the hive, hadn’t seen this all summer, not a normal day though for this time of year.

I am in rural area, gum trees near by, possible food sources through the worst months.


Hi Shane, that is what I would do. However, if the nights are cooler, I would keep the brood tight & place the waxed frames on the outside, the same thing with the 2 frames you place in the second box. Keep those together directly above the middle of the brood mass. If you are using waxed plastic frames, keep an eye on those. Bees don’t like them in the brood unless they are well waxed. The bees will sometimes build large areas of drone comb away from the plastic.

The limited experience I’ve had with wax coated plastic frames is: they build on them better when used as honey frames above a QX. They would be fine in the brood after the honey extraction.


Hi Shane, Comparing your climate stats to mine in Tasmania, your April max. /mins. are almost identical, but your winter nights are actually just a little cooler. I’m really interested in how you get on given we share a similar climate over the next few months. Our gums where I am are all out of flowers bar just one or two Stringy Barks.


Hi Dan, I have only been down here for 1 year… some days we have cloud / fog that sits around, so it hard to know what the weather will be like;

Found this on wiki;
The Highlands geographically sits between 500m and 900m above sea level on the Great Dividing Range.[2] Like other regions along this plateau such as the Blue Mountains to the north and the Australian Alps to the south, the Southern Highlands is known for its cool temperate climate.

Well I have added the second box today, I will use entrance reducers come the start of winter, just spent the day making them, and I have top feeders, will give them a burst of sugar syrup leading into winter.


Hi Jeff, wish I read your post before lunchtime, as I just add the second box and re-arranged the frames…

I replaced 2 from the bottom, the 2nd and 7th positioned frames (Its an 8 frame hive).

Then with the new 2nd brood box, I did an alternate arrangement, 5 frames in total for the moment, 1 empty wax, 1 full, so each full frame has an empty wax frame either side. Yes directly above the center of the bottom brood.

Maybe not the best arrangement… can always re-arrange this in a few weeks… before it gets cooler.??..


Hi Shane, you may not need to rearrange them in a few weeks. Another thing you could do to help the bees as it gets colder is reduce the entrance on both sides.

My recommendation about keeping the brood together comes after my own experience of a bit of chalk brood after me chilling the brood.

If you find a bit of chalk brood in a few weeks time, chances are the brood got a little bit chilled. Make sure your entrance is facing away from any predominant cold winds.


Yep, spent today making entrance reducer’s, all ready to go.

Will see how it goes, obviously me and the bee’s aren’t a fan of winter!


Well I am already for winter here in the highlands… entrance reducers fitted, have been feeding sugar syrup with the top feeders, fairly clean and easy, and the great thing is the roofs fit back on just with the top feeders on.

My hives are still busy with Autumn kicking in, noticing alot of white and orange under the bee’s legs, will inspect one more time before winter kicks in mid May. Here are some pics of my customized Flow and standard langstroth.

Langstroth; with custom fit Entrance Reducer & Top Feeder. Metal legs raised with Petroleum Jelly around each leg to stop ants!!

Flow Hive; with custom fit Entrance Reducer & Top Feeder, Roof adjusted and covered.
Metal legs raised with Petroleum Jelly around each leg to stop ants!!


Hi Shane, you’ve done a great job with your set up. 12 degrees forecast here tomorrow with highland snow. It has been a very mild March /April however. Some Tasmanian beekeepers seemed to have picked up later season Stringy Bark nectar - most would have moved hives to those areas.