Heads up: Spring has come Early in South Australia

OK- so I got my first swarm call out last week- a huge swarm of golden Italian bees from a hive that was requeened with a queenlsand bred queen late last year. Very happy with that addition to my apiary. Just two days later- one of my own best hives suddenly swarmed- it was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie in my back yard… I managed to catch that and then went into the hive to see what was going on and found 8 superb queen cells- so I quickly made a split as well- suddenly turning one hive into three in one day.

Having seen that- I decided I needed to urgently inspect more hives and found many with the beginnings of swarm signs- and one with a fully developed queen cell. I saw a lot of frames with wall to wall capped brood that tells me populations are about to explode. Havn’t seen brood like that for months and months and months. Spent today and yesterday weakening out hives, making splits, adding fresh foundation, removing frames of honey and putting supers on.

If you haven’t checked already: CHECK YOUR HIVES NOW! Be ready for swarm signs and be ready to take preventative action.

Oh and Jeff you’d like this: I had one hive that was probably saved from swarming by it’s migratory lid- which the bees had filled with around 5kg’s of superb capped honey. Had that space not been there they would have swarmed by now I reckon, it acted as a perfect stop valve and an extra shallow foundationless super.


Maybe your winter was ridiculously mild also Jack. The hottest Summer on record followed the warmest winter recorded. I have been busy this past month making splits making more hives. If we get Spring rain it will be busy here extracting. The bush is full of wattle flowering amd lots of new growth happening over here Jack.

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Yes- winter has been very kind to the bees after an awful summer and autumn. Last winter I had chalk brood- none this time round. The hope now is there is enough rain to sustain a decent flow- I feel there’s been more rain than last year but am not sure. We could be in for more global warming and a shocking summer- but I’m hoping for a reprieve after last year

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I had a hive with chalk brood about 6 weeks ago, the first time in about 40+ years since I last saw it.
I had an apiary inspector from in on his way to Brisbane from his Bundaberg office on a social visit and a look at my hive that was infected and the mummies I had in my freezer. I posted some pics on the forum under “pests and diseases” and had two replies and both hives had been recently moved, mine had been moved about 6 weeks earlier too. The guy from DPI asked if I had recently moved the hive !!! That sort of said something, eh?
He has been a long time bee keeper and well worth listening to. He thinks that bees are much more effected by stress than we accept and chalk brood is often a result of a stressed colony. I found what he said interesting, plausible and I’m pleased he took the time out to call in and open in what he said. So if you are reading this John call by any time and you welcome.
Jack, after last Summer it would be be foolish to think that our climates are out of where they normally are. Summers in the past here didn’t mean a dearth but this last one was a bad one, no Spring/Summer rain, record temps and duration of heatwaves knocked my hives about, amazing it was Australia wide.
Cheers Jack

Hi & well done Jack. The migratory lid works well, that’s for sure. Congrats on that extra honey. It’s all happening eh? :slight_smile:

I’ve only seen about 4 cells of chalk brood in as many months. I put it down to not segregating brood during cooler months & reduced entrances.


spring is well and truly here now- hives are swarming all over adelaide. I got 6 calls just this morning alone to catch swarms and remove them from buildings. Had to turn them all down as was catching a swarm from my own hive that I inspected just 10 days ago- and all looked fine- no signs of what was to come. Many reports of beekeepers being caught off guard this year- hives just WANT to swarm.