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From swarm to honey


Hey all. I’m a NewBee and am wondering how long it generally takes to see action in the super? I’m imagining this is a “how long is a piece of string” kind of question, however as I’m new to all this I really have no idea! I got my full flow setup in late September and collected my swarm on November 2nd. So my bees have only been in there for just over one month. At first they were very keen to have a peruse around the flow frames (see below) but lately there is literally zero action up there and the frames remain empty. I haven’t yet opened my brood box to see how it’s all going (as advised) so am unsure how it’s all going. There is certainly a load of daytime activity though, and I’ve managed several photos of bees with rear legs full of pollen. I’m in southwest Victoria in Australia, so we have just come in to summer. I live in an urban environment with lots of gardens around too, so there is definitely lots of flowers around. Any thoughts on how long I should expect to wait? @Valli I read many of your posts and they seem very helpful. Do you have any thoughts?


@JimmiBuscombe G’day Jimmi, I see your based in Melbourne. I’m assuming you are in the 'Burbs?

Have you made contact with your local Bee club yet? If you let us know exactly where you are we can try to put you in contact with your nearest one.

The September swarm would have brought food with it. But you will still need to feed it after a few days as that would have been use up.

It would have been better to build up the brood fist before pushing them to use the Flow supers.

If you have a look at this post I go into more detail:


Basically if you don’t build up the brood nest first the “piece of string” becomes longer.

If the girls are in the super now working they will be slower than if you built up the brood first.

If you add a second Brood box now - remove the flows and not put them back until Feb.

That way you will have more workers bringing in more nectar otherwise they are struggling to feed themselves and the new brood and there will not be much Honey to rob.

Don’t forget you need some honey left for the bees going into winter

Hope that helps :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee:


Thanks Valli. Very helpful. I’m actually in Warrnambool in SouthWest Victoria and I’ve connected with a SouthWest Backyard Bee Keepers group down here but thought I’d ask regarding Flow specifically. As there is literally zero action in the super would you suggest I remove it now? It’s been set up for a month already but they really haven’t done anything in the super. Also, is the second brood box important? I’ve got a Full Flow box and from what I understood it could be used as a single brood w super. I’m imagining it would just mean more honey more quickly when they finally begin filling the super?


By “feed” are you talking water/sugar mix I see people talk about. The advice I got was to collect the new swarm, drop them into the brood box and leave them be for a while to let them do their thing. The swarm I collected had broken away from a hive that day so it was quite new.
Thanks again in advance!!!


Ah I have friends that live there - Unfortunately they are not bee keepers.

As for the Flow treat it like any other super. Ask your locals about forage and when they put their supers on new swarms.

Have you been feeding them to help build up comb?

You can but it is easier with established bees on drawn frames. Don’t forget a swarm has to build the frames from scratch. Mine were not swarms but nuc’s and same rules apply.

Basically until the frames are filled with Comb and busting with brood it will be slower


Thanks for sharing @Valli. You are very generous with your information. It’s very well appreciated.


Valli is right in saying that the brood box needs to be full before the bees put honey in supers. What I would do is take the super off and have a look in the brood box. Then come back and tell us what you find. That way you can get the right answers. I certainly wouldn’t be feeding with a super on. If it’s summer and the weather is good the bees will forage all they need.


Thanks Dee I meant to say take the Super off -


Thanks Dee. You guys are the best.
Jimmi Buscombe


What you are particularly looking for is how many frames of stores. How many frames of brood. Is it solid across the frames or is it patchy. Is it capped. Can you see eggs. Be good to spot the queen.


as others have said - they’ll be working in the brood box
originally they’d have been looking around at their new surroundings before concentrating into the lower box
I’m at around a similar stage with my second hive with the bees having to draw comb
it wont hurt to just leave the top box on at this time of year as its nice and warm anyways, and at a guess, I would say they could be close to coming into the second box soon
if you are living within Warrnambool they will have plenty of food around at the moment - just make sure you have water around for them
I’m not a big fan of “feeding” bees as it can bring excess moisture into the hive which could possibly cause fungal issues - not so much if the temp stays warm as it is at the moment - but there is plenty of food for them at the moment anyways…

I wasn’t aware that Warrnambool had a beekeeping group?


Hi Jimmi, I am in south east Melbourne. I caught a swarm (not very large) in October, I started it out in a 5 frame Nuc and have since moved it up into and 8 frame brood box ( requeened along the way). It should be ready to put the 2nd super on either the end of this week or the next as the first box was getting close last week when I checked and we have a good run of weather for the next couple of weeks. So your brood box must be close to full by now if all is going well.


The reason to feed bees is if they have no stores and there is no nectar to be had.
I wouldn’t worry about excess moisture, the bees can handle that. The highest concentration of water you might be feeding is 50% surely. Most nectar is more dilute than that.


Hi Andrew. The Warrnambool bee keepers group is relatively new. It’s on Facebook at:

Where are you located???
Thanks for your advice and info. Very helpful!


hi Jim,

I live in Merrivale Warrnambool down on the Merri River
so there’s plenty of water and food for my bees :slight_smile:

thanks for the FB page, i’ll check it out
keep an eye on your bees and make sure Pollen is going in, that way you’ll know that there is brood a brooding…

to be honest, on a nice warm day i’d take the top off and see how they are going, even if you just take the roof off and take some frames out of your second box to see what the little beggars are up to :wink:

in my second hive they are drawing comb from the centre out and towards the back with brood and food stores coming in…

all I need them to do this year is establish the lower box and get food stores in for next winter… no pressure :slight_smile:


hi dee,

at this time of year there are plenty of food to be had by bees in this area where jim lives so I would see no reason to feed, at this stage anyways

one of my biggest worries with moisture in the hive is that “it may” contribute to Chalk Brood - but I’m not expert on the matter

with feeding bees they take in large amounts of your home made nectar all at once and then have to dehydrate it - I’ve seen water literally dripping out the bottom of hives even with a high concentration of water/sugar mix

I always have my hives tilted forward a bit as to make sure any moisture runs out

but as I have said, I’m no expert - but just noted things that I have seen with my own eyes and have read
: )


Tilting forward is a good thing :smile:
If it’s warm and the bees are piling in the nectar (hive sounds like an air conditioning unit in the evening…you can hear it feet away) I often open up a little top ventilation. That’s the ONLY time I do that.