Hello from Western Australia

Giving the bees access to the roof area can give you a lot of information, when they are building comb there it is an excellent indicator that a split is a good option to weaken the hive out to lower the risk of swarming. I’m strong on preemptive swarm control and very seldom have it happen. Each to his own way Buz, but worth thinking about.


There is no right or wrong. I’m just a minimal interventionist and only delve into the brood box’s occasionally to do frame swaps, I also leave the flow super on over winter. The advantage of living in WA :grin: with minimal pests and diseases.


Thanks @Peter48. Yes I will definitely keep that in mind. Maybe I will leave as is for winter that just before spring I open it up. Good tip.

I never split a hive and I’m planning / hoping I’ll split preemptively this year.

I was also thinking of adding another brood box like the one @SouthEastScarp‘s photo above. Maybe I won’t even have to split.

I’m with you about leaving the super on over Winter, May, June and July is when I get the most honey. I’m increasing my hives just to keep up with the demand for honey and I have the spare time to put into the bees. I can’t honestly say I’m a minimalist bee keeper, I’m always experimenting with ideas to make both my life and the bees life easier.

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When I was living West of Sydney everyone had double brood hives because of the harsh Winter, a big shock to come up here and find single brood hives everywhere. I had to re-learn a lot of my traditions. My thinking is two single brood hive will have a better honey yield than one double brood hive, and a single is a breeze to do for inspections.

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The reason for the second brood box on my flow hive was to avoid a split this year. I was working away and didn’t have time to actively manage them so I threw the extra brood box on to avoid a swarm. She was a first year queen so the chances of a swarm was low, but she is a champion layer and I didn’t want to take the chance.

The learning from this was:

The extra brood box never improved the overall flow frame harvest, however it has provided that hive with excellent stocks for the winter, not that they really need extra stocks where I am as I don’t get the dearth’s that they do down on the flats toward the coast and further back in the hills. It will however potentially allow a quicker build up in spring.

Having the extra bees makes the hive a lot harder to manage, more bees equals more guards when they get disturbed, the queen usually keeps her girls under control but having twice as many bees just makes it all that much harder.

I will have to split the hive this spring and either give them away or send the split hive out to the farm, which will mean regular 300k trips to keep an eye on them. We can only have two hives per block and I don’t want to over stock the area by putting a hive or two over the fence into my neighbours yard.


That all makes sense Terry, I was wondering about the need for a second brood hive there. Bee keeping is so much easier with single brood hives.
It seems to me that the more bees in a hive the angrier they can get and I can remember the double brood hives at Mudgee, a round trip of 350K’s and the bees on Cape Weed and Patterson’s Curse to take boxes of honey off always resulted in splits as well to control swarming and aggressive bees. Even on days that were 100C+, and most where, I would never consider not wearing all the gear.
Up here I often wear a veil and in shorts and a T shirt. Come to think of it I only stopped wearing glove when I moved up here, so you might be right that a smaller colony is on average a quieter hive.
Time out for a wine and a nights sleep, enjoyed the 3 way chat with you and Buz.


Enjoy your wine and sleep Peter thanks for the chat.

Your observations are exactly what I was suspecting @SouthEastScarp. Obviously you allow the colony to grow bigger with double the space. When you say inspecting is more difficult is it just more work as in having to lift more boxes and more frames? Or is it more angry bees?

I have a really good suit and so far haven’t been stung once. Will it make any difference if there are more bees flying around that still can’t get through the suit? Is it just superficially scarier? Shouldn’t it be ok if you ignore the rage and work calmly?

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@Buz the stronger the colony the angrier, mainly due to their being more older bees on guard willing to give their life for the colony.

Staying calm and working carefully is easier said than done when the girls are out in force and really angry, roaring like a jet engine and hitting you so hard it is like a thousand little hail stones smashing into the mesh and your hat while thousands more are crawling up your arms and over your body trying to find a weak point to gain access.

I have an OZ Amour triple mesh suit with round brim hat and have not been stung since I bought it, but, multiple stings through the cloth and mesh of lesser suits in the past taught me respect, lots of respect, eight stings in one session was my record when I first started. Even the bravest beekeepers tend to give up when the girls get too angry. :scream: :angry:

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Thanks for the heads up @SouthEastScarp. Looks like I was being a bit naive then.

So it boils down to this:
Two brood boxes is better for the bees.
One brood box is better for the beekeeper.


Thanks for the info. Yes, I was referring to toggle latches. The worst of the storm seems to have past for now… hopefully the hives are still standing. Terrance said it was blowing harder on Friday… :joy:

I caught the morning news on your weather of yesterday, sure they select the worst of it to broadcast but seeing roofs ripped of buildings and one building instantly blowing apart reminded me of cyclone Tracey that hit Darwin.
A double brood hive involves more heavy lifting, I’m 72, 60kg so no power lifter. There will be more angry bees trying to defend the hive given it has twice the space so the potential for double the bee numbers, but it seldom gets that strong so for that reason I would go for two hives and single brood boxes climate allowing. There is a limit to how calm you can stay regardless of your protection, there is a point that walking away and going back tomorrow is the best option.
About a month ago I went to the apiary to mow the grass and the first run across the front of the hives was about 4 meters from them and it seemed every hive wanted to have a bit of me, full suit and 1/3rd of the face of the veil had bees on it as well as on the arms and chest, so I “bugged-out” and went back the next day to a totally different reception. Spent 3 hours mowing and whipper snipping under the hives and the bees were totally not caring.


Thanks Pete. My hives survived the storm but found a dozen or so dead bees beneath the entrance of one of the hive.

I hope everyone else‘s hives here in WA are ok too.

In hindsight my biggest worry should have been a branch coming off the tree shading the hives. Something I need manage in the future before the tree grows even more.

Haven’t yet decided whether I add another brood box in not in spring. If I go ahead and find them unmanageable I can always split them I guess.