Honey in the hills

The book started life as a fund-raiser in 1980 by the Australian Plant Study group (I think Victoria).
It went through a reprint every year in the 80’s. That’s the copy you see on Amazon. There are also soft backed editions. Abe Books is a good place to look as that price on Amazon is not real.

I am not sure when the edition by Natalie Peate, Gwenda Macdonald, Alice Talbot came out. I thought it was updated in the early1990 by Gwenda MacDonald. I see the Booktopia one is 2008. The authors all belong to the Australian Plant Study Group.

I would go for the latest edition you can find (or afford) By way of example my book (1986 edition) has 2300 plants the 2008 has 3000.

Hi again, Ive got a quick question, well I suppose its not really quick, but, we have just taken our first 3 frames of honey, yay, but we went to the WAAS meeting and it was suggested that we might need a “rotation” box, as our girls have now moved into the lid.
I was wondering, could we put a hybrid box in between the brood box and the supers, so that we can swap frames in an out but still have the ease of the flow hive as honey boxes?

Thanks for your help.

That’s basically what I do, so yes, you can. I made comment on what I do here:

I presume that your question is based on the thought that the bees feel short of space, so they are building under the roof? If so, then I would actually put an extra traditional box on top of the Flow super - either a WSP or an ideal, depending on what is available in your area. If the Flow super that you have is a hybrid box already, you could put another hybrid under or above it, if you can afford one.

The reason for putting the new box on top is that as you found out, bees can be slow to use plastic. If you put a traditional box below the plastic, they may well ignore the plastic frames, or even not properly ripen the honey in them. For that reason, I prefer to add other boxes above the Flow super. :wink:

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Thanks guys for your replies. I did open up my brood box and there is a foundation frame in there that they have barely touched, but have made comb everywhere else, including up in the lid. There are also a few empty cells, we also couldnt find the queen. I have since decided not to put on another box as she doesnt seem to need the room, but Im a bit baffled as to why they havent used the foundation frame, though the rest of the hive is natural comb that they made originally as it was a cut out.

thanks again.

Hiya Sharon, was it a wax foundation frame? Are your bees in the sun?
I have a few hives and they havnt all produced however I’ve found that I don’t care, I just like having the bees here and I’m sure they will grow and prosper. :wink:
I’ve also found that if you give them too much room too soon it can actually set them back. Do you have a super on the hive with the empty brood frame? 8 frame box?

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Hi ya, its one of the ones you can buy from the shop, its a plastic one I think. I put it in, in December I think, they have filled in one side but its blotchy on the other. They have put honey everywhere but there, which is annoying because theyve made it hard to open them up, which I suppose is why they did it!
As for being in the sun, they are for a little of the day, we have 3 shade clothes over them.
Ive just got the 8 frame broad box and the super.

Hmmm, my experience with plastic.

Never again. Try some wax foundation frames. :wink:
As for the sun, my best colonys are full sun all day. 25mm foam insulation inside the white ventless lid as per @JeffH’s recommendation. The colonys in the shade aren’t as productive. I’m north of you.
Hope this helps.

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Was that frame up against the hive wall? My bees do that with plastic on the outside of the brood nest, but behave much better with frames placed centrally. :blush:

I just scrape off the islands and rounded bits, then put the frame in position 3 or 6 in my 8 frame box.

I think that wax coated plastic is ok. Someone gave me a couple in a frame exchange when I sold a colony. They built them out beautifully when placed above a QX. They are more fussy with plastic below the QX.

That would be a good trick to get the bees to build them out above the QX before using them in the brood.

Oh wow that looks amazing, not good but cool anyway! I was told that they were wax frames in the end but the girls are very fussy little buggers, the frame is in the middle of my hive, but hopefully they’ll just get to them soon!

So your brood box isn’t completely filled out Sharon? If not take off the super, shake off the bees and put it away for next year. :wink:

ohh I was thinking of leaving the supers on so that they have honey over the winter, should I take it off and just leave them with what is in the brood box.

How much honey is in the brood box? What is your winter like?
Some leave their supers on however it’s extra space for your colony to keep climate controlled. Leaving the excluder between the super and bb will keep the queen from laying in the super but conversely keep the queen from following the cluster IF they move up to access their stores.
Perhaps a case of following the local recommendations. :wink:

Sharon is in the hills of WA near Perth. Temperate/Mediterranean climate just like you Skeg. You might even be able to see each other.

I dare say there will be a combination between native bush and urban scapes. Is it likely there will be small nectar sources over winter? If so leaving it on may yield results for both the bees and you.


Hiya Adam, yeah there’s flowering natives around over winter here and the weathers not too foul but in my short experience, and it does change from year to year, there’s enough to keep the bees comfortable but not well fed so to speak. We don’t have the urban gardens here so the forage is mainly native based probably much like your area. Having a few hives I’ve been able to test the waters the last few years and I’ve found the best Spring performers are the superless colonys. It’s the crowded brood box/es that seem to produce best when the supers have gone on late winter when the colony is expanding. Sharon is a bit south of me and probably the same bush scape but also from experience, conditions vary.
I do use a fd and ideal for brood as per @RBK’s advice which was to have the ideal as a stores box, and have found it work well for me. More to inspect but it has, in the past, been a stores area for the bees in late autumn so not been too much more work.

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Hi fellow hills keepers.

So the Marri is pretty much gone & we are about to do our last harvest and full inspection today of the girls.

They have been rather aggressive this season, and I think have gotten a bit big for their boots so need thinning down a bit. If the brood boxes are chocca, I was thinking of making a split to calm things down and have another colony come spring.

We have plenty of honey frames to get them through, but I was wondering if anyone has seen many drones around, as obviously this is essential for the plan to work? Is anyone else planning on doing any splits still this year, or am I best just waiting till spring?

Cheers in advance,


Looking forward to the replies you are getting Julia. Here on the East Coast in native bush in the hills, our strong hives with flow supers on are so full of bees with plenty of drones. No way we could condense these numbers down into the brood boxes. We are just starting another flow after good rains.
We also are thinking of getting a couple of nucs started for the spring take off, to reduce numbers in the strong hives and make use of those big fat drones. I know there are a few strong wild hives in our National Park.
There are no other experienced beekeepers in our particular location, so we need to make these decisions based on our as yet very young experience.
Down in town on the coast conditions are very different.

Not in your area but driving around Perth for the first time in a while there looked like still a lot of blossom to come off different eucalyptus. Couple hours south of you still have plenty of drones about. I can’t see them being kicked out yet given the flow we’ve had.

If you are uncertain maybe buy a queen and do your split that way?


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Hiya Jingles hopefully you got a harvest this year with all those bees.
Still plenty flowering here in Kala and plenty of bees also. I haven’t seen/heard many drones this year but I’ve not spent the time down at the bees this year either, looking forward to the end of March when fire restrictions end so I can do some full on inspections and maybe do some splits too.
I’ve heard BW have been advertising queens recently.