Bee Activity. Unsure what’s happening today

Hello there
Here is a 3 day window into my hive activity.

1.) Loads of coming and goings. Pollen and nectar. Busy bees.
:dash:60km winds most of the day but they battled on.

2.) :sun_with_face:Sunny and no wind. So orientations occurring at both hives at the same time, I think.
See photo:

3.) :cloud_with_snow:Today cold and fairly constant rain.
Looks like all the bees can’t get back in out of this bad weather. I fear they are going to be dead soon.
See photo:

The hives are around 10 months old and established from nucs I purchased. The flow supers have only been on a couple of weeks. Looked in through the back viewing door today. It’s packed to the rafters. (They are not working it today.) usually working it though. Just packed in out of the weather I’m guessing.

My question is does anyone know why the bees are clustering outside when it’s so cold and wet?

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It really sounds like the hives are too strong in numbers for the available space in the hive in my opinion… Normally wet bees in a cold climate will die, they just can’t cope with those conditions, even in my sub-tropical climate in Queensland which must be much warmer than in Tassie…
There is nothing you can do till you get a fine and warm day and to do an inspection to assess what is happening and why.
Please keep us updated when you have checked the hives.

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Thanks for the reply. I will have a look as soon as a hot day comes. Should I add a ideal box if they need more space? I did add the super only a couple of weeks a go.

I was hoping the bees would fill the super before I added another box.

Will they still work the super if I give them a ideal now?

I thought it might be booted out drones, But not sure if they are drones or not. I’m not a very experienced bee keeper yet. :flags:

Drones are normally booted out of the hive late Autumn into Winter when they are rejected by the colony. Without a good close up pic my thinking they are worker bees.
I would do an inspection and decide on an action from what you find. I’m in favor of full depth boxes thru my apiary, both for brood hives and for supers. I use wired frames with foundation fitted and if the conditions are good and a strong colony the frames can be built out and being used in a week or two, full of capped honey possibly in 4 weeks. To my thinking I prefer to give a full depth box and know they are fine than to tinker about, but they are your hives so your choice to make. My strongest honey yield months are in my mild Winter months when your bees are maybe eating their stores.

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Are we talking about the hive on the left?

Hi Steve
Yes the hive on the left has the cluster of bees outside. Its to cold and wet to open up the hive and take a look at the moment. Spring weather here in Tassie is a mixed bag. Changes a quickly.

Has it got one of those screened inner covers under the gabled top?

Yes it has. I have put a piece of Lino over the frames to add warmth. It’s different to the hive I purchased which has a solid liner under the roof. It has 10 frames while my one on the right has 3 frames plus 4 bar frames.

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Yeah those non genuine Flow hives have some strange features.

There’s probably rain leaking in somewhere.

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That is a good move adding the piece of lino to help retain some heat in the hive and it will also stop water condensing in the roof from dripping onto the frames and making life uncomfortable for the bees.

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My daughter bought the 10 frame hive so we would have 2. It is different to my hive. The landing board and inside roof cover etc. also the quality of woods not as good but both wintered the same through a typical Tas winter.
I didn’t take any honey from either hive. As I wanted the colonies to get through there first winter ok. Both went in loaded with stores and came out loaded.
I’ve just added the flows for the first time recently as the colonies looked ready.
Cedar says to have strong colony before placing and good nectar flow.

My smaller hive has drawn the 4 bars and is filling the 3 frames with nectar which I think will be capped soon. The 10 frame appears to be all waxed and has lots of bees working it on the good days.

I just checked the hives and there’s a few dead bees on and around both landing boards.
Still raining, but not very cold. Going to be 6 to 13 degrees according to forecast. 7.4 currently.

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The timber parts are usually made from Chinese Fir to odd dimensions and whether the plastic they use to manufacture the frames is safe for food contact is anyone’s guess.

I would not know if the quality is Australian standard.
The bees are coating the inside of the cells with wax, which possibly might act as a barrier/liner inside the plastic maybe?
There appears to be lots of plastic and polystyrene choices, in different forms, being used throughout apairys all over the world these days.

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Chemicals or manufacturing residues have a habit of leaching into things.

Not worth the risk in my opinion.