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An end of season hive removal

Another established hive removal as we near the end of the season in Canberra, Australia


Well done Sam, I wonder if any colonies in the open like that would survive the winter down there. Probably not.

WOW! What a beautiful looking colony- and a very nicely put together photo documentation of the removal… And No Gloves- that’'s gutsy! Canberra is freezing in winter- I’m guessing they couldn’t possibly have survived? Looks like they had a bit of spare pollen but virtually no honey stores at all that I can see? Just in time they were saved is my guess- they should be nice and cosy in that insulated hive now. Lucky little bees.

Thanks for the comments @JeffH and @Semaphore.

We were extremely surprised to find no nectar/honey stored at all. With most of the end of season removals we do there is usually at least a full Langstroth frame equivalent of stored honey, this colony had nothing.

The colony was very strong (in numbers) so we can only conclude they were either living off available nectar/forage or robbing from elsewhere.

Unfortunately, we have local ‘bee advocates’ which become argumentative when we mention a lot of the hives we find would likely die over winter if not recovered. I think this attitude was summarised really well on the Scientific Beekeeping website with this post:


See ‘Beekeeper Taliban’.


Do you think you got them maybe just at the point where they were about to face starvation? It looks that way. I bet a month back they had some stores on those empty outer edges.

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Yeah, without wanting to over dramatise it too much, i’m not sure they had long left. :confused:

Once relocated they were fed with syrup and we have checked since and the queen is definitely laying. I will post a follow up on the site when I get a minute. We also discovered that rubber bands are infinitely better than string/twine for securing temporary comb :wink:


Congrats RBK,

Thanks for the great pix’s n description. I have often caught fresh open swarm but never experienced an open colony with active comb n bees. Enjoyed your sharing ! :+1: