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Honey flow South East QLD


I know Jeff’s thoughts, where I always ran double deep brood boxes as did all the commercial guys but that was in a different climate, More severe in heat and cold than here where it is a closer in summer and winter conditions. Jeff has a lot of experience and I get along with him well being the same age and think alike.
I mark my queens where Jeff doesn’t, I am thinking as he has said his bees tend to swarm in Spring, that I might try a double brood box on one hive and see what happens. I have my hives at the local Men’s shed and I am there 3 days a week so I can monitor them easily without any effort. If it doesn’t work out then I could do a split.
Thanks for you input and regards,


Thanks Jeff, let me know when you are ready.
As per the bees ‘selecting’ a victim it might be by scent or by the the victim being nervous around bees and they sense, it but either way we as bee keepers tend not to suffer that problem unless the hive is really hostile. The memory of my Dads episode led me to ask you about if bees had a memory of ‘their’ bee keeper so didn’t see him (the bee keeper) as a threat.
The Men’s Shed has taken on the job of making my boxes and I have located a local supplier of timber so there is no freight charges, freight doubles the price of a box in flat pack form. They will come to me assembled glued and screwed, and painted and at a very considerable saving. Is that my Scottish heritage coming to the fore!!!
Passing showers and good heavy rain late last night and the cool breeze dropped out, blue sky this morning
Cheers mate


Thanks Peter, I’ll let you know.

That lady wanted the bees in her wall killed. She said that the trap-out box was just a nuisance. My second attempt failed anyway. The bees must have figured out how to crawl back up the funnel. I felt a bit flat after putting the phone down from the lady telling me to kill the bees.

I’ll try a different idea that I have next time the occasion arises. I’ll try taking a lot of nurse bees with the brood.


That is sad but not surprising the way she was when we went around to her place, she just wanted to be rid of them and instantly would be her choice of time.
Some people see bees as a part of the environment and others see them as nothing but a pest. At least you tried and I say nothing wrong in you approach to the problem.


Rod, thanks for the link to this publication. Some excellent suggestions here - we have species around us recommended for other climatic zones also so we are not limited to ‘hot,humid’ selections. It was a very interesting read.


Oh happy day! I looked up from hanging the laundry today and saw all the big gums in the neighbourhood are blooming! And at last the girls are filling the end cells and capping right to the edge. Think I might do a little harvesting on Saturday when it is supposed to be 22c! :slight_smile:


Hi Peter, I recently spoke about a flow hive that swarmed last Aug., then was ready to swarm 2 months later. At that point the bloke got me to do a split, the split was my fee. He phoned me today, “the bees are bearding again”. Anyway I’m going in the morning to do a split. He wants to start a second colony. So I’ll get some $s this time. The swarm that issued in August was while he was over seas. His next door neighbor phoned me. He had bearding before he went away, so this time he wants to do the split (and rightfully so) before they swarm again.

PS, it might be a different story in the morning, with temps ranging from 9-20deg. A bit different to the warm weather we’ve been having. Then 6-20, the following day.


Ok Jeff, I’ve been waiting to hear when you were starting to make splits or if you were called off to collect swarms. The weather has been so warm I wondered if it would start early this year. I did my split on the 9th of August last year and I thought that was early. i’m a bit nervous about managing swarms this year with two colonies instead of one. They are bringing in the honey now which is great.


Hi Cathie, I’ve been looking at the weather, thinking that we have this cold snap coming up. I’ll start thinking about my first splits after that. This one I’m doing tomorrow, I’ll see how cold it is first. His hive is sheltered from the southwesters & in a sunny spot. I think I’ll be ok if I work fast & find the queen. I’ll reduce his entrances & I wont checkerboard the brood. I’ll put the new frames on the sides.


I will be looking at doing some splits in a week or two when the milder nights come in. Especially the last colony I got from you, the queen is a beauty and today still has laid in 6 1/2 frames in a really good pattern and her bees are drawing out comb in the super above the QX.
I noted what you said to Cathie about not checker boarding, that will help in keeping the brood area warm.
Let me know a day or two ahead when you are going to do your next extraction, I have a reason, think it will be of interest to try on a couple of frames, and need the exercise on the extractor. :grin:


Hi Peter, no worries, I’ll do that. I wont be opening that bloke’s hive this morning, brrrrr. I doubt his bees will be bearding today. I’ll still go around & see what frames etc that he has ready for when I do it. He doesn’t live far away. I might remove the roof & see what’s up there.


Just an update Peter, at 8.30 I turned up to tell the bloke it was too cold. I fully expected the beard to be gone, seeing as it was around 10 degC. Would you believe 1/2 the beard was still there. The hive hadn’t been opened since last time I was there in around Oct/Nov. It was chockers with bees. The roof was full of comb, honey & bees. We went ahead & did the split. Getting the hive apart was a challenge because it hadn’t been opened for so long, that upset the bees.

There was no point looking for the queen with multiple layers of bees on the brood frames. Plus the owner got lots of stings on the ankles. I made the split with 4 frames of brood plus more bees out of the roof.

My intention was to not checker board the brood, I finished up doing that with 2 of the new frames. I reckoned there was more than enough bees there to keep the brood warm. It was getting too hectic with him telling me I got another sting on the ankle every few minutes.

I took the split to my main site. I’ll check it out in a few days. Plus I’ll check his hive next Sunday on his next day off. One of his new frames didn’t have the foundation embedded properly, so that’ll need fixing, plus we’ll have a better chance to clean things up a bit & see what’s going on in the brood, hopefully not upsetting the bees.

About the flow frames, they looked full from the back window, however they had huge arches empty in the middle. The owner asked why, I told him that the bees left them empty for the queen to lay in. I noticed one frame had a few scattered sealed drones. Must have been laid by a worker.

There’s a few lessons to be learnt here, #1 do regular brood checks, that makes everything easier to remove & replace. #2 Don’t let the population explode to swarming strength. #3 always inspect the frames before harvest. That also keeps the frames easier to remove & replace.


Hi Jeff, do you remember noticing the capping status of the cells in the drone free frames (apart from the empty cells of the arc)?


I always have trouble getting my head around hive owners that are not bee keepers. Doing nothing till the poo hits the fan I feel is negligent. Bee keeping is a commitment to the bees and not a ‘when I have a spare day’ hobby. Taking on a colony in a hive involves a duty of care to the bees.
This might sound ‘over the top’ but it annoys me that people ignore the reality of bee keeping.


Hi Dan, the rest of the honey was fully capped. It rang alarm bells for the owner because he thought he had a full box of honey to harvest. #1 was full of honey, 2&3 had the large arcs. I could see the few sealed brood cells on the exposed face of #4. We didn’t lift 4,5&6. We just removed the super with them in, which didn’t weigh much, however I assumed #6 was full of honey & ready to harvest, the same as #1.

Hi @Peter48, the owner said something that made me smile. Because of the size of the population, he said “I’m a bee farmer, not a honey farmer”. I said “we ARE bee farmers”.

I tried to drum into him as well as a second bloke on the same morning to focus more on swarm prevention rather than honey production during spring. I told them to keep one step ahead of the bees swarming, the bees will still produce honey during that process.


Hi Jeff, I would harvest Frame 2 and 3 (with empty cells and the rest capped honey) in addition to all the other frames apart from 4. I guess I’d probably harvest 4 and give it back to the bees and let them clean out the frame. The Frames from what you describe seem to me to be ok to harvest, save and except the brood one(s). The quantity of honey from each Frame is known to vary quite a bit sometimes from what I understand but I don’t think it means too much if it is all ripe.


The few cells of brood could easily be plucked out with a meat skewer or tweezers, I feel. We’ll have a closer look at them next Sunday during the brood inspection. Hopefully we’ll be able to remove all the propolis & clean everything up in relative comfort. I also want to show him what the bees do to foundation that’s not embedded properly. Naturally I put that frame on the outside. He purchased the frames like that, & didn’t know to inspect them before using them.


Just an update, I phoned the bloke this morning to make a time for today to go into his hive to #1 make sure we didn’t kill the queen last week, seeing as his split is making queen cells. #2 to make sure that the colony isn’t making swarm preparations because there was 4 brood frames we didn’t get to inspect last week. If they were, we’d have time to stop them today. #3, to replace that dodgy frame we put in the brood box. As well as tidy things up a bit.

His call must have got diverted because he said “we’re away, would next week be ok?”. I said, “I guess it’ll be alright”.

I’m thinking by next week, if the colony was going to swarm, it’d be too late by then. He assured me that the outside bearding had stopped. He must think that outside bearding is the only indicator of swarming.

Anyway I’ll see what next week brings.


I guess in this case you have to accept he is ignorant about caring for his bees, he is showing that the hive is very low in the list of his priorities. Remember the old saying “you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. I guess the same applies to a donkey.


So true Peter, his main concern is the honey. I actually showed him the egg in the queen cell of the first brood frame we checked. If there was any eggs in the queen cells of the other 4 frames we didn’t look at, & the bees didn’t abort the idea of swarming, they could have done the deed by next Sunday.

The split he wants is for a second flow hive for his backyard. He’s got a 10 frame brood box, so he’ll be needing a 7 frame flow super.