Hi, My bees are taking a long time to build comb in the last 3 frames of the brood box. I’m in the eastern suburbs of Sydney and set up the brood box in early Dec 2018, about 12 weeks ago. They built out the first 3-4 frames in a few weeks but seem to have almost stopped the last 4 weeks. The hive appears very healthy and active. We are still in summer and there are plenty of flowers around and the bees are out there. Any advice on how I can encourage them to build more comb? Should I feed them? Move the frames around? or just be patient?Appreciate your advice. Thanks
I think a combination of feeding them & patience. Feeding them will give them resources to build new comb. Patience to wait for the worker population to build.
A brood inspection will reveal any disease that could be holding them back.
Thanks Jeff. I’ve been inspecting about every 2 weeks and all appears well. I’ll try the feeding for few weeks.
Making wax is resources demanding on the bees so if you feed then sugar/water if that is the reason they have slowed down then problem solved. Another possible reason is that the colony is still small and doesn’t need the frames built out at the moment as @JeffH has said.
We need to understand that bees work to their own time, they are not stupid and will prioritize the jobs to be done so be patient and relax by observing the bees to learn from them.
Inspections every 2 weeks is about right and watch for Small Hive Beetle (SHB), you can squash them and the bees will give them hell but if the SHB gets too strong in numbers you might to add a couple of traps in the hive till the colony gets really strong and manage it themselves. The other nastie to watch for is the Wax Moth so do some Googling and know what they look like.
Cheers, work slowly in the hives and remember to breath. You are not alone mate.
Thanks Peter. Very few SHB so far.
November-December was a large nectar flow in Sydney, however once we hit the hot weather in january, it all stopped. There is another nectar flow just coming on now so I would wait, we never have to feed in Sydney but if you wish to speed things it will help and keep an eye on those beetles.
basically what everyone else said. I have a few hives that were established from swarms in spring. they built out 5 frames very rapidly- and now they are very slow to complete the final 3 frames. That’s just how it is with bees: in times of plenty things move fast- in times of scarcity everything slows down. The trick is to be up and running and ready when the times of plenty come around.
Hi Jack, what you describe makes sense for a swarm. The bees rapidly build 5 frames then slow down. That is to be expected because most of the bees in the swarm have worked themselves to death in their effort to get the brood nest up & running. Therefore a temporary lull in progress should be expected until the new bee numbers have built up.
correct- and in my case we had a poor spring and early summer- so they slowed right down. If this was last season by now they would be finished- but this is this season. I think one of the big issues was low levels of pollen. Luckily in the last few weeks I have seen more orange and yellow pollen coming in so I expect to see a bit of a boost in population in a few weeks. having said that this week is yet another heatwave high 30’s. Bees are definitely not out foraging in my garden as much as when the weather is cooler. I guess more of them get tasked with collecting water and fanning in this weather.