Advice on management, Bathurst, NSW Australia

I started the hive from a 5 frame Nuc 1st November - they filled the brood box with capped brood,pollen and honey mixed.when I had two frames left to draw
December 10th I put a new full 8 frame super on top of the brood box -I didn’t put a queen excluder on as I planned on putting a 3rd box with the excluder between the 2nd & 3rd box and leaving it as 3 boxes for winter (cold weather starting for us around may)

The amount/activity of bees has increased at the entrance and lots of pollen visible on legs etc.

I looked in today at the frames and over half of the new box is drawn comb and it is full of honey but no brood the honey seems to be open as it drips when I lifted the frames which seemed to really agitate the bees- usually they are very placid when I inspect the frames. Today they were not!

the top box middle 3 frames are heavily covered in bees and honey and a lot of the comb is cross combed between the bottom box and the new frames in the top box such that the middle two were completely stuck in by the comb onto the bottom - the bottom box is absolutely full of bees.

Do I trim up all this cross combed - why is there no brood in the new box?
There was also several tiny brown cockroaches :scream_cat:on the two outer undrawn frames- what do you do to get rid of them? I squashed the ones I saw.

There is 4 undrawn frames left in this new super but it is all honey - do I put the next super on? Where do I put the queen excluder since she hasn’t seemed to have come up into this new box.

You can (I do if it is very extensive) but they will very likely rebuild it. I freeze the comb for rendering later, but if it has honey and no brood, you could always eat it. :blush:

Could be several reasons:

  1. The queen doesn’t need the space for laying yet - there is still empty space in the bottom box.
  2. There is a thick arc of honey above the brood nest in the lower box. One the whole, queens are reluctant to cross large areas of honey-filled cells. If the colony wants her to use the upper box, they will move that arc of honey out of the way.

That is what I do. They always come back though. As long as there are only one or two, and they are just under the roof, it isn’t a big deal.

No. They haven’t fulfilled the 3 golden rules for adding a new box. You need all of the following to be true:

  1. All frames have mostly fully drawn comb, and
  2. The comb is 80% full of brood, pollen or honey, and
  3. Every frame is completely covered with bees

If all of these are true, they can use the space, and they have the numbers to work it, heat/ventilate it and defend it. If you put it on too early, they will probably ignore it, and the SHB will have a safe haven… :worried:

It depends on what your goal is. If you are going to give them that box for winter anyway, I would put the queen excluder above it. If you want that honey for yourself, I would put the excluder below it. :wink:

Please ask more questions if anything isn’t clear.


Thank you Dawn for such a detailed reply I am learning and you have helped me understand. I will update and let you know how I go!!


Dawn, You and Jeff do a great job of helping with advice. Thank you. It is so good to read this to explore!!!


Hi went down and inspected the hive today- they have gone great guns! There is brood in the three middle frames and all the frames are drawn but theee are not fully filled or covered with bees so I won’t add the excluder and next super yet. The number of bees has really jumped up - so many bees!! you could hear the buzzing from the hive a few metres away I think they are trying to cool the hive - It was really hot today 41’C (106F)

Do you do anything specific in the heat or just leave them? There was lots of activity around the hive & lots coming and going

There are a couple of things which can help:

  1. Provide a source of water nearby. I use a poultry waterer, some people have made mini ponds, even a bucket with a handful of sticks for the bees to land on will work. Put it about 20 feet from the hive to make them more likely to use it.
  2. Paint the roof of the hive white
  3. If you can’ t pain the roof, then on really hot days, drape a soaked sheet over the hive - the water evaporation will help cool it
  4. Provide afternoon shade if you can

The bees are pretty good at cooling themselves, if they have enough water and get some shade. I know that @adagna lost a hive to heat a couple of years ago, but his apiary reached around 120F, and lots of people around him lost hives and even chickens to the heat.

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120’F is very hot! I have put a birdbath full of glass pebbles and water in the yard nearby.
The roof is white but shade cloth/towel sounds like a good idea too because they are in full sun
Thanks again Dawn :blush:

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