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Heavy flow in sub-tropical Aussie winter


Hi Cathie, I suggest to leave the hole in the inner cover open. That will give you the same advantage as the space in a migratory lid. It is so easy to lift the roof every week or so, without disturbing the bees. Especially during this cold weather. You’d probably still need your smoker going plus wear a veil at least.

If I find the lid full of bees, then find it hard to put the lid back on without squashing bees, I just shake them all in front of the entrance, then smoke the top of the super to clear any bees away before replacing the lid.

I did 3 splits in the last 2 days. They all had one thing in common. A frame nearly full of pollen. I remove those to destroy to render the wax. Pollen is one thing they’re not short of.


I wouldn’t add the ideal now, add it when the weather picks up, maybe in a month. Adding an ideal will not induce the bees to cap the Flow Super and it might have the opposite effect. The bees will cap it when it is ripe or they might regard it as honey that can be taken down into the brood and needed now.
I did full inspections on my hives yesterday and found no queen cells and the hives were strong. I think at the moment it is a bit too cool for swarming. I found lots of honey and pollen in my hives. Certainly when the last of the cold weather is over swarm management will be a priority for me.
I agree with @JeffH leaving access for the bees to go into the roof for you to get information about swarming before it happens. I am guessing you have the same sort of weather down your way. Lately my bees are bringing in more nectar and pollen than is need now and the excess is going into stores.


Unfortunately my bees disagree. the moment I leave that hole open they start building in the roof before building out the other frames. I guess they are just evil-minded little bees. :smile:


Hi again Cathie, I agree with Peter about not adding the ideal super at this point in time. It’s more to remove while doing brood manipulations.

One thing I noticed with the flow hive I worked on last Sunday was that the bees left huge areas open in the flow frames. I’m assuming because they are drone sized cells & they want the queen to lay eggs in them, seeing as we are approaching spring. Something to be aware of with your own flow hive.

The bees aren’t leaving large areas of empty cells in normal frames fitted with foundation.


Hi Cathie,

Have you had a chance to take a peek inside the hive at the capping on some of the Flow frames by removing one or two? Is the frame on the side window capped?


Hey Dan, neither colony has capped the outside window frame at all, but they have definitely capped at least 4 middle frames all the way to the edge visible through the back. I harvested one frame about two weeks ago that was 95% capped. I’ll be checking both hives tomorrow - At least the supers, not so sure of brood boxes since it’s cool. I spent a bit of time looking at them coming and going today. I didn’t see lots of pollen at all - but then of course there may be a frame of it already stored like @JeffH found.


Good job Cathie …hope all is good tomorrow :grinning:


Hi Richie, I should have mentioned the main reason for not getting any bees squashed between combs on the way home, apart from the risk of killing the queen, is because beetles can lay eggs in the squashed bees, that’s if the house bees can’t remove them fast enough. I meant to show you, but got side tracked, the 1/4 inch wire frames on the back of my truck that I use to place between frames when I bring splits home. That’s to minimize bee deaths. I’ll ttyl, bye for now.


Cool Jeff. It all helps I bet. It was good to catch you the other day. I had a peek in the roof of my ‘home hive’ just now and its full of bees hanging around and a big ball hanging off the inside of the roof so looks like another split within the next few days. Amazing how quickly they build up their numbers. Should have the apiary set up in no time.


Hi Richard, thanks mate, same here. It IS amazing how quickly their numbers build. It’s when a few of those full frames of sealed brood emerge that makes the difference. I’m seeing lots of them, none quite as nice looking as that one we saw the other day.

While doing splits today, another colony did a practice swarm. Hopefully I sorted it out in time. I’ll ttyl, cheers


It’s amazing to observe differences just 10 air km away. My beach hives have been powering the last 2 months. Fortunately they were new nucs, and other than taking out a honey frame from the brood box, they just needed their supers.
Here at Mt Jerusalem National Park, my hives have eaten a lot of their stored goods in the meantime. Then they maintained their weight for 3 weeks, and now the ironbark is flowering. Good times and big weight increase daily.
Just worrysome that it’s really dry and the flow might not last long.

No drones flying up here yet, but seen capped drone cells.
Big hive inspections tomorrow.


Hi guys, i live in maryborough qld and my hives ( 2x langs, 1x flow) have been powering along all winter with the tea tree then blue gum and now iron bark flowering strongly. I am wondering if i should start to make queens now for nucs as i can see they will be wanting to swarm as soon as the weather warms up. Im not sure if good queens will be made with the lack of drones atm?? Doing a walk away split now will be hit and miss to create quality queens?? Any thoughts.


If the bees in your hives are making drones, that will be a good guide for you.


I did a couple of walkaway splits over the past month and all were found queen right today.
But as Jeff has said if there are drones being made then you will be able to do splits.
I think your winter would be much the same as here, a very short and coolish sort of winter and given that your hives are powering on I would do splits when the hives are busting at the seams with bees.
Regards Robert


Thanks guys, i have done a split today from one of my strong hives and i am trying this one with the queen. As the main hive is very strong i am interested to see how quickly they recover after making a new queen. The nuc should grow quickly with the queen already laying. I have put 2 frames of drawn comb with the nuc as well as 1 frame of honey and 2 frames of brood. I noticed plenty of drones and also capped drone cells in the hive.


As a matter of interest the nuc is in a different location to the hive it was taken from or if it is in the same apiary and did you screen the entrance with foliage?

With the weather here at the moment I am sure you will need an empty hive and extra frames very soon. I took a few frames from a couple of hives home to extract during last week, when I returned the stickies the bees had already started comb from the inner board hanging down the following afternoon. Busy bees :grinning:


I have 2.5 acres so i have two apiaries on my block. I moved the nuc with the queen to the opposite one and reduced the entry of the nuc to about two bees wide. You cant afford them any spare space atm as they can build wax overnight. My friend up the road didnt put his stickys back in a hive for a day and when he returned it was full of fresh comb.


I took some frames from a hive to extract and 24 hours later returned with the stickies to find the bees had already begun building comb from the inner top board down into the space, I recon the bees must have started as I put the lid on the hive to have made so much comb. :grinning:


I did the last of my splits today, August 24th, so I can sit back and relax a little. I thought I had enough boxes, bases, lids and frames with wired foundation but I underestimated a bit, so much so I can move around my lounge room to some extent, I had boxes with frames to about 3 metres (9 feet) up the walls. Wife is not impressed :hushed:
Found a few queen cells being built in the hive I did the split on so I only hope the queen remained in the donor hive as the queen cells were transferred to the new hive.
Busy days but it is definitely Spring time here now on the Sunshine Coast.


Hi Peter, spring is certainly here alright. I’m starting to see the classic, how would you describe it? It’s when the bees remove honey from around the brood so that the queen can lay more eggs.

The colonies I split 4-5 weeks ago need doing again. The ones that didn’t need splitting then, need splitting now.

I’m lucky there’s a demand for bee colonies with young queens. 13 went yesterday, 12 to one bloke from Central Queensland. That freed up a lot of boxes for me. Plus another 10 this coming Monday to a bloke from the Capricorn Coast, as well as various others, ones, two’s & threes.