First month for new hive

Hi, we’ve just started our first hive. We are in week 2 and I would say that 80% of the frames are full with capped honey, worker brood and pollen stores.
We have come across SBH and will pick up a trap tomorrow.
Just want to know a few things : when should I add the super?
Do I need to cover the round hole in the top board at any stage?
Should I stop feeding them?

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Hello and welcome.

If all frames are fully drawn with comb, and covered with bees, you are probably good to add the super (and queen excluder) now. If they are not fully drawn, you need to wait until they are.

If the comb is fully drawn, definitely. If you have a good nectar flow, yes. If you put a super on top, absolutely. :blush:

That is a harder question. I always cover it, because my bees use any excuse to build in the roof space, which is very messy and wasteful when I inspect. Many other beekeepers here leave it open, partly for ventilation, and partly because when their bees start building in the roof, they know that they need to harvest or add a box. If you haven’t had problems with roof comb, you may want to leave it open, but you will need to inspect every week or two to make sure they don’t have nefarious roofing plans… :wink:

Good questions. Please ask more as they come up. :smile:


I have covered mine with a fine mesh (fine enough so bees can’t go through) and I find the bees will either block with propolis or open the holes as they see fit. No definite answer on this one but if you leave it completely open the bees will make a huge mess in your roof. :slightly_smiling_face:


I see you are in Brisbane, I’m at Coolum Beach just down from Noosa.
Hang out till you are 90% capped, pollen and brood then put on the super, that might be very soon going on the flow of nectar at this time.
You will always find SHB in your hive, it is a part of life having bees. If the colony is strong they can control the SHB or you could go for a trap that will help you to monitor the SHB.
SHB breed in the ground under and close to a bee hive, I use 1.5 cups on cleaning vinegar and 2 cups of salt in a 10 litre pressure pump and mix till the salt is dissolved. Spray the ground to about 25 cms out from the hive and under it till it is well wet and that will kill the weeds and the SHB and will do no harm to the bees.
Given your climate I would leave it open till about May, if the bees start making comb above it take that as a message that there is some extracting of honey to be done.
You shouldn’t bee feeding them as there is plenty of foraging for pollen and nectar about even if you are in the suburbs.
You didn’t ask about a QX so I assume you know to fit it under the super, if you haven’t bough it yet then get the metal one as the bees will pass through it much more willingly.
Welcome to the forum, there is a lot of reading here but also take into account members locations, not a lot of helpful info from folks in Alaska and sub-zero climates.:grin: Is your hive a Langstroth or a Flow Hive??

In WA we don’t yet have SHB, but Peter this has me thinking if your hives are islanded on an impervious surface say concrete or bitumen would that keep the little sods away?

It doesn’t. One of my hives is on a stone patio and I found around 20 SHB under the lid last year. :blush: :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :cry:

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SHB flies to the scent of a hive so being on a concrete pad won’t stop them when they get over to the West unfortunately. As for them wanting to burrow in soil to reproduce I guess they will find a way like all creatures. Maybe they will find a crack in a soft timber that is dark and cool is an option.
Cheers Wilfred

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Sorry in advance, this is off topic, but relevant to W.A. Keepers. Watching my bees this morning I noticed a BIRD,( honey eater) gobbling up the odd bee or two in mid flight. I suspect it’s grabbing the bees carrying nectar, though how it differentiates from bees carrying pollen beats me.
It hangs around, darts thru, grabs a bee and takes off, coming back a few minutes later to repeat the process. After about 20 mins or so, and about 25 bees, it flies away apparently having achieved it’s fill. This has now happened on two mornings, so I suspect it’s going to be a regular event. Any ideas ?

Great! Thanks everyone!! Carried out an inspection yesterday. Looks great. Found a few SHB, and installed the apithor trap on the corflute bottom board.
Also thought they might be getting a bit hot so I’ve erected a beach umbrella over the hive to keep the direct summer sun off through the day.


Nice photos, thank you, they are very helpful. They are not really ready for the super yet, as those frames are only 50-70% drawn. I would like to see comb almost out to the sides and bottom on almost every frame before adding the super. You probably need a few more bees in the hive too, which should be happening very soon from all the beautiful capped brood in your photos.

The only problem with having the super on too early is that there may not be enough bees to defend and ventilate the extra space. That can give SHB more space to run around, so you may want to consider pulling the super off. From the look of the frames, I would guess in a week or two, they may be ready - you will need to inspect again to see if that comb has been drawn out to the edges.

Your parasol is a great idea. Lucky bees! :blush:

If you add a super now the bees will go to the higher frames in the hive to build comb there and won’t finish the frames in the photos. Bees build from the top downwards by instinct.
Those frames, if you include the open areas are about 50% in use, that is too early to put a super on. By the time they have completed the comb there will be an increase in population from the capped brood cells and then will be the time to add the super. Too early and you will have more SHB than you have now.
When you talk about a super am I right in seeing a Flow Hive with the Flow Hive Super already on it, if that is the case it isn’t normal practice to put another super on top of it, when it has capped frames, confirmed by inspection, the frames are drained of honey. Remember the tilt of the hive and don’t tap the whole frame at once or you will have flooding in the hot weather, I do 20% at a time to avoid that problem.

I haven’t actually added the super frames yet. It’s just the empty box on top to house the sugar syrup and give a little extra insulation.


I’m also new to beekeeping. I’ve had my hive for 5 weeks now. I started with a 4-frame starter bundle which was about 3/4 filled with activity. I then added 4 “plastic” comb frames in the brood box to complete it (8 frame).
I inspected in the weekend, and noticed a comb (nothing in it) being built upwards into the roof area, from the hole in the top board. I panicked and quickly put an extra super on top (with queen excluder etc). There were still two frames in the bottom box that had only just been started (new frames).
I was wondering if the two frames in the bottom being plastic foundation, were empty because the bee’s didn’t like it, and instead decided to build upwards. I recall rubbing bees wax onto only two of the plastic foundations (not the other two).

That is totally normal if you leave the crown board (inner cover - same thing) hole open. My bees do that all the time. They will do it even more if they have to build on something that they do not prefer, like plastic comb frames. :wink:

You haven’t done anything wrong, so don’t panic. Just put some fly screen or a flat tile over the hole in the middle of the inner cover. Your bees will get the message, and use the space more efficiently if you give them that signpost. :blush:

Meanwhile, I would take that super off, unless you want a bigger brood area. If it is just for honey, take it off now, or they may not fill the Flow super before the end of the season.

Thanks Dawn. I’ll take it off this weekend.

Hi Steve, I have found that bees don’t like plastic foundation and will steer clear of it if they have options. With my Flow Supers I painted on melted wax onto the plastic comb before they would go into the super for anything more than a look around. I won’t use plastic in the brood box, I use frames that are wired and fit bees wax foundation from a reputable supplier.
I use a piece of old lino about 4cms smaller than the internal measurements of a box and sit it on top of the top box frames under the lid.
Welcome to the forum, you will find lots of reading from previous posts as well that get a buzz out of passing on their past experiences.

Thank you Peter.

I used plastic foundation thinking it would be stronger and last longer than conventional beeswax. Probably wrong.
However, the person I got my nuc from did advise to rub was on the flow combs. I melted some wax and painted on the flow frames and 2 of the plastic frames (as an experiment). When I look this weekend, if there are plastic frames with nothing on them, I’ll paint some wax on them as well.

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While this is true bees will build out a wax frame that is strong enough to do what it is made for. Some people have tried to change bees to use plastic but that is not what a bee uses in nature.

Cheers Steve

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Buy some chickens :wink:

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Yes!! Then you’ll have plenty of great combs :chicken::chicken::chicken: