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First winter with bees in Brisbane, Australia


#1

I have a single hive, a colony rescued from a chair on someone’s balcony on November 30th last year. I have only harvested two heavy frames of honey and the flow super is full although the outside frames are not capped. I would love to harvest more honey as I have people lining up to try it but am not sure how much honey to leave them with over our mild winter. They seem as busy as every other day they have lived in my yard, loaded up with pollen yellow and white and they seem very healthy. It will get colder of course but from what I have read there should still be flowering trees through the winter. The two frames I harvested - one in March and one in April - both are full again. Would you harvest more frames?


#2

do check with your other beekeepers in your area on how much should you leave on for winter. don’t know if you have 1 or 2 boxes of brood. Also it maybe ripe enough to harvest. May want to get a refractometer to see if it is ready or not

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#3

You should be OK with your mild winters on one brood box. If you harvest some honey only take the capped stuff and it will keep perfectly. Leave the uncapped for them to use or finish.

As for satisfying the queue of people who want to try your honey, it never ends so don’t worry about them they will wait.

Cheers
Rob.


#4

Living in Tasmania I can’t get my head around Brisbane having a winter of any sort. Even here is very mild compared to winter in places in Europe and the US of course. According to one of my weather books, Weatherwise - Fact, Fiction and Folklore by David Ellyard, Brisbane has only six days a year when it gets too cold for comfort. Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory has no days a year that are too cold but 140 that are too hot. Brisbane is reputed to be the best Aussie capital comfort wise with Hobart and Canberra obviously being too cold (with Hobart leading the way with 239 days that are too cold for comfort). Having been to Brisbane in June I remember it being warmer than our summers and a land of beautiful flowers - ideal for insects. I recall Cedar - flow hive inventor, saying that “winters” in Byron Bay are actually the time of the year when they get most of their honey so I’m guessing that they are approaching peak flowering time soon there. Hopefully a local will tell you of their experiences.
Edit; I see from the Brisbane forecast that at the moment your maximums at least for the next few days are 25/26 c (78 f) and mins around 15c (59f). That is fantastic!


#5

I live in the mountains Byron Hinterland, going into my first winter with 3 hives. The bees bring in more pollen and nectar now than the previous 5 months. Not sure if it stays that way, may change year to year.
For now we are blessed. While you might pack down your hives, I have to consider adding a honey super to a recently acquired nuc.
I even heard of bees swarming locally.


#6

The value of local knowledge. Another reason why people should include their location on their profile.


#7

Yes Dan, we are very indulged with gorgeous winter days here - the skies are clear and weather just brisk in the morning and evening but lovely and warm in the sun during the days. Our long hot humid summers are when we pay for it!! I’m hoping what Cedar (and Webclan) says about winters in Byron will prove to be the same for us 3 hours north.


#8

Rob, I will continue to pursue folk who can give me local knowledge as you and Marty suggest. I will be attending some field days now I have connected with a bee club. Not always easy to get to monthly meetings as they are quite a drive away and they conflict with other things. I did manage to find a group on facebook today and some of the comments posted indicate a good flow on the other side of town so I’m trusting that similar trees are flowering here too. Certainly the Golden Penda’s have never been in better bloom and are just covered in bees - European and native.
PS. have managed to edit my profile too. Thanks for the prompt.


#9

I’m just outside Brisbane and set up my first hive in November last year. I recently harvested 3 frames when I found the bees were moving honey around and filling up the roof space with more stores. In three weeks those harvested frames have been refilled and are currently being capped. The bees are focused on storing honey in the super and haven’t tried building in the roof space again. I am looking to harvest another frame to give them some more space as we seem to have plenty of nectar and pollen coming in at the moment and winter is very short in BrisVegas!

I was watching the native and European bees going mad over the Golden Penda’s when I was in Brisbane on the weekend - contemplating adding a grove of them for next year!


#10

Paul, yes the Golden Penda’s are something else - if you drive along Old North Rd in Albany Creek, as you approach Eatons Crossing Rd the road is lined with a towering golden hedge. It is just amazing. I drove over yesterday to take pictures. Thanks for your input re harvesting. I was concerned about them running out of room too. I harvested 6.2kg from two frames yesterday! Happy camper.