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At Last, The Game is a Foot - Busselton, Western Australia


Busselton , South of Perth is at last seeing good nectar flows as the Marri (Corymbia calophylla) is flowering in strength.
I am seeing honey being deposited in the Flow Cells for the first time so am a bit excited about that. And it’s building quite quickly.
Perth and the South West should also be seeing good Marri flower by now.


Its amazing how quick they get onto it when a good flow is on. Mine have to rebuild comb and can still build and fill a box in a week or so easily. You should be harvesting soon if the flow is good and strong.



Hiya Busso, I was down your way last week and saw the marri flowering and thought of your bees. Yep the blossom is out down in the flats which should work it’s way up here in a couple of weeks. Hopefully it’s a good flow and I can pack up the feeding gear…


The Marri is finally flowering up here in Brigadoon too, and a strong smell of honey is filling the air :). The girls are not filling the flow frames yet, but I can see there are larger numbers in there sealing up gaps, so fingers crossed we will see that soon.

I know the brood boxes are around 80% full as I checked last weekend. I read somewhere that you shouldn’t smoke them too much if there is a flow on, or it’ll slow down the gathering. However, I am worried they will quickly fill their box with honey, run out of space & swarm. Can I have a general concensus please on how often people would check this time of the year? My aim is to have a flow super and standard super on each hive, so I can leave them a box for winter. This would also allow me to rotate frames out of the brood box to make more laying space but I don’t know if I should just leave them to it and stop meddling. I can inspect the supers without smoke, but if I want to go into the brood box smoke is a Must.

Answers and ideas much appreciated!




Sorry I didn’t see you in the zillion or so holiday makers that clutter up our peaceful little city from time to time.:wink:


About weekly if the flow is strong. If your bees are calm generally, and there is a good flow, you shouldn’t need much smoke, if any at all. :wink:


Been about fortnightly but am going to leave it now till I start seeing a lot of capping. Could be a few days could be more.
I normally don’t use a smoker at all unless I think I will have the hive open for more than 20mins. Most times, on a quick inspection I can get in and out in less than 20 mins.


I think I could get away without smoke for a couple, but the ‘best’ hive gets very aggressive if I even try to look in their super let alone the brood box! I think I will keep an eye on the supers and maybe have a quick look down into the brood without smoke & see how we go :).

This is our first nectar flow with bees, as we got our first Nuc last March & it has been a shocking summer so far. It’ll be fascinating to see how the next few weeks progress. I’ll be happy if we can fill a box for the bees and maybe get one harvest from the flow super, but maybe us bush folk will finally get the kind of honey production the city folk have been enjoying all summer :smiley:


Use the smoke. If the hive is quiet it is back to normal very quickly, it its toey you suppress the agression before it starts and they are back to normal really quickly. If its toey and you have no smoke they are upset for ages. Its not worth the bragging rights.



I’ve mentioned before that using smoke in summer here sets off alarm bells with the neibours so it’s generally smokeless for me, like your bees @Jingles ours fly around bum first when I do inspections in summer time.
They are saying this has been the worst flow year in a decade

There were hundreds of bees flying around one of the hives out front this arvo which set off alarm bells. I sat and waited and watched for a while thinking perhaps they had found some nice flowering trees then I went to see what the colonies out the back were doing. Drones were in and out of the pot colony which, last time I saw this, they swarmed a day or two after, just before the swamp gums flowered and now the marri is about to flower… It’s been a dreary day so I didn’t want to go in and check so will need to in the next day or so.
When I went back to the front colonies the bees had calmed down. I was looking at the landing board and thought I saw a queen bee! I had to look twice and the abdomen was way longer than the returning foragers. It seemed to be begging to get in for a few minutes and stumbling around. Weird. I was about to run off and grab a camera when it flew off then back and straight into the entrance. Gone. No drones around this colony.
Alarm bells are still ringing and hopefully I can get into the hives straight after work tomorrow to see what’s going on.

Any ideas people?


As a total novice guess, maybe they have replaced their queen and we’re evicting her? I guess it depends on when the last time was you did a check of every frame, as i’m sure you’d have spotted queen cells. It’s been a muggy grim day here - certainly not hive checking weather. I’m hoping for more rain over the next few days as the plants need it, but hopefully there will be a nice clear patch for a good inspection.

Good luck!



The game may be a foot but it’s taking a long time to play out.
From the inspection windows all the frames appear full and they are not capped.
After thinking the middle frames were capped, well they looked capped, twice I took them out and had a look and all I found was rings of white wax around each cell extending the cell a little. I’ll take some photos tomorrow
with taking out the frames.

I am thinking they are still trying to ripen the honey.

Mind you I should be more patient as its less than 2 weeks since the first honey went in, but …Ahhhhhhhhhh the cells are chock a block


@busso :joy: I can see myself doing exactly the same when I get my hive up and going. All the best and please post some pics.


Todays photo still not capped

Sorry about the the reflections. Will have to get a cape like the old photographers .:slight_smile:


I have a cheap plastic black hairdressing one that I use on my hubby when I shave his head :smile:


Looking better than mine, but out of 6 frames, 8 sides are capped and the other 4 sides are only half full. It’s been like that for weeks, so will probably turn the tap pretty soon and count my lucky stars I got some honey. Bees are crazy!


Haaaaa. My wife has same.:grin: Good call


Yes I feel like wearing the frame crank around practicing my draw.
like a six shooter. Just waiting to crank away.:slight_smile:


Your frames in that window look pretty full, just a tad ahead of mine. I noticed the bees keep shifting the honey/nectar from here to there, and uncap and recap, but every day there is more essentially in that window.
I never harvested yet, but I think the bees keep adding enzymes and what not while shifting, so the more patient we are the more stable and complete our honey will be.
Just my theory.
I can see looking down through the frames it’s all capped on 3 frames, but can’t see through to the bottom where they prob cap last.
A neighbor harvested 3 frames who looked like yours, all into one bucket. I am sure the water content is too high all up.
Ordered a refractometer that should arrive tomorrow. Also will harvest each frame into separate container, for various reasons.
A couple of days before harvest I will pull my flow frames to be sure of capping, then leave the bees to fix the damage before harvest.
Till then I won’t check my flow frames to preserve the sterling sealing work of the girls.


What is that magical all mighty marry you WA people talk about? We don’t have that on the east coast? Do we have a mighty equivalent?
I hear we don’t have a good season here around Northern NSW and South Qld. Is that everybody’s experience, or are there pockets of landscape where nectar and pollen are booming?
Just wonder if my first bee keeping year is a doozy and why I’m still happy with the result after just 10 weeks.