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Bees in the Blue Mountains (NSW)


You’re welcome Clint, the newly hatched bees are the ones with fur over the thorax, they are a bit smaller & unsteady on their feet.

Those 3 cells you circled look like empty cells with newly laid eggs in them to me. The pale amber color is the cocoon left behind after the bees have emerged. That will get darker after every generation. You can see light through it now, however it will get to the point when you wont see any light through it, if it’s left in the hive long enough.


Thanks everyone for the comments and advice :slight_smile:


Katie, I don’t put too much on packing down for the weather. If they have two full boxes I am happy but last winter I had one go through with four boxes and the rest with three boxes. The main danger I see with this “method” is that the hive beetles may get away and wreck some honey. Really, I would think two boxes are plenty, but make sure you take out the QE which would mean taking the flow box off.

After saying all that, my winters are MUCH milder than yours, I am only halfway up the mountain.



Hi all,

John is my name from Lawson in the Blue Mountains.
I have 2 hives, one with a brood box and 8 frame Flowhive and the other an 8 frame brood box and 8 frame super. I have flow hive for this as well, but because I only started this hive in late Feb 2017, decided to let this hive get strong enough for the upcoming colder months.

The Flowhive hive has not been filled as yet and on the external window can see about 20% being capped and not quite sure is the bees are using this or not. I was away for 3 weeks in March and thought I had more capped than what I saw today. As the weather is cold and wet these last few days, I worry about opening the flow hive and check out the frames for honey. The rear window allows me to see lots of bees working in all frames, but I cannot see any honey. This hive was started in mid Oct 2016, so I was hoping to get at least some honey.
The bees are very busy all the time and I hope that some warmer weather will return soon.

As I am newbie at beekeeping, I have been reading a lot and hope that i get to know some of you to share information with.

John Hendriks


Hi everyone, I did my 3rd inspection on the weekend. All looked fine at 7 weeks now, growing numbers with them beginning on drawing out their 7th frame. More capped honey and brood. Once thing I noticed, a bee carrying out what looks to be a dead premature bee. On close inspection I also found another on the ground in front of the hive. Is this anything to be worried about? Or do some just not make it? Thanks.


Hard to tell, but looks a bit like chalk brood to me.


Its getting colder up where you are, they could be drones.


Hi all, I am new to this forum and don’t have any hives yet. What I do have is five acre and plenty of room, I also have a couple of acres of Tea Tree…would anyone be interested in placing a hive on my land in exchange for honey ???


Should mention I am in Katoomba


This is the first time i have seen this forum. I have had bees in the mountains for about 6 years. I have never joined a group so learned by trial and error.
We are coming into spring time and swarming season. Most years I lose a lot of bees to swarming, and this year Its my mission to stop the swarming by splitting and rearing new queens. Does anyone know if drones are about yet? (I’m around Springwood)



I’m at Woodford and have had drones all winter this year. Bit too early for a split yet IMO. Wait a few weeks and it should be all systems, go.



Why don’t you split when you see queen cells ?


Over the last couple of years the swarming for me has happened September/ October. Last year it was more like mid to late September. As I have hives at Blaxland, Winmalee and Springwood they seem to swarm according to the nectar flow/ the altitude and types of trees in the area. Blaxland seems to have a flow early December. Im finding in late summer nectar flows occur around Springwood, and would I be right in thinking Woodfood is a bit latter?
My hives at Springwood have no Drones yet. Maybe I should check the Blaxland hives.


As we are in the mountains the altitude affects the swarming/ nectar/ tree species. Its probably time that I don’t have to look at them all the time and catch them while they are making the queen cells. I have read that once the bees get it in their mind that they will swarm they tend to go anyway- Have you experienced this?


They will unless you do a split. Sometimes they do even then. However the modified Snelgrove split described on p17 of the article below is extremely effective (>90%) at preventing swarming, even when you have found queen cells:



Thanks for that- Looks like a great resource


That’s why we are taught to look in once a week in the swarming season here in the uk. You can spot swarm preps before they actually make queen cells. Because there are many many urban beekeepers in the uk queen clipping is common too. That effectively increases your inspection interval to 10 days


Hi All, I did my first inspection after winter on the weekend with a nice still sunny day. I started with a package at the end of February so they didn’t have all that much time to prepare for winter but they have made it through and are looking pretty much the same as they did going into winter. Most of the honey stores were gone but there is still capped sugar syrup in the corners of the brood frames, bees covering 5.5 of the 8 frames and they were busily working away on the foundation of the 6th frame. I didn’t look for the queen as it was still only 16 degrees C so I kept it quick, but there was capped worker brood. I really only wanted to check on food stores and numbers and if there were any signs of swarm preparations.

Given the hive is only 6 months old, half of that being winter, and they haven’t yet completely drawn out the first box, is there any chance at all that this colony would think about swarming this season? I understand weekly inspections are normally necessary during swarm season but I’d rather not disturb them that often if it’s unrealistic for them to even think about swarming at this stage. I have a second brood box ready to go for this hive and a second hive ready to do a split when the time comes. How often would you be going into this hive to inspect over the coming Spring? Thanks!


The short answer is yes, bees can swarm anytime, but considering your hive still has room in the box its less likely. I would still check every seven to ten days so you can keep an eye on stores, as they are a relatively new hive they may need a boost of 1:1 during their buildup but you will only know by looking. If you keep ahead of them for space then the likelyhood of swarming is fairly low BUT the only way to do that s a quick check every week.



Thanks Rob, I think I’ll wait from here until days get into the mid 20s before starting weekly inspections. Would that be a safe strategy?