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Honey in the hills


I had a text from them that they had queens available.


So we went into the grumpy & happy hives yesterday to have a good look & saw some drone comb & a few drones so we decided to split:

We took 4 frames of brood from 2 different hives, 2 drawn frames and 2 honey frames.
We then put it on the grumpy hive for a while to fill with bees.
We then left the split where the old hive was (to catch grumpy stragglers - thanks Jeff :slight_smile:) , closed up the grumpy hive and moved them to the naughty corner of the property.
At dusk we closed up the split and moved that to the naughty corner too.
We put branches in front of the entrances to help them re-orientate to their new surroundings.

While I think the plan was good, It ended up like a bit of a horror movie so I thought I’d share our mistakes and the lessons learned:

  1. If u have no hair, wear a hat under your veil! My poor hubby got quite a few stings in the head by properly grumpy bees (first time we’ve ever been stung through the suit.

  2. Double check your suit if u are going to a nasty hive. 3 bees managed to get inside husbands veil & one got in his shoe and gave him a nasty sting

  3. The biggest lesson we learned is when you close a hive up for transport - make sure you close the hive up!!
    It was pretty dark when we used some cardboard to close the split. I started driving with the hive on the back of the quad with husband holding the hive together. He then sees his white suit going black as hundreds of bees crawl out of the hive and up his arm. By the time we got to the new site we were both covered in crawling bees. It was a truly freaky experience, as they weren’t flying at all so whilst we were covered there was no noise. Brushing them off was very hard and as they had no where to go (I guess they can’t navigate in the dark) and there home had moved anyway. We turned the lights of the quad on to see better & this resulted in a large number of bees attacking the lights.

It was pretty much a disaster with lots of driving in the dark to try and get away.

We put an empty Nuc box in the original spot and this morning around 100 bees hay we’re lost in the dark we’re back. These bees are now more aggressive and grumpy than ever, but hopefully tonight when we put the Nuc bees back with the split we will gradually regain peace on the hill. This brings me to my final point:

  1. Never underestimate bees and always show them a lot of respect.
    This hive was from a good Breeder and has been super calm until the last few weeks. Apart from a few tiny ants on the hive, all looked very good in the brood box and there were lots of eggs. We have taken steps to address them but I think we are in for a few days of seriously grumpy bees yet. It makes me think about Dawns question about dealing with aggressive hives and I just don’t think I could deal with them if I lived in suburbia, without persuading all my neighbours to stay inside for a while. I think the only way to deal with it would be to take them away where they can’t attack anyone.

On a happy note we got 80kg from 2 hives this flow, and we have another split from spring that we will be taking 3 frames from this weekend. Now if we can manage to stop them all turning into killer bees then we have the makings of a nice little boutique business :slight_smile:

Happy bee keeping,



Hi Julia,
Im new to this and have had a similar experience to you ,recently.
Where once i could sit and happily watch my bees go about their business, i now cant get anywhere near the hive without being warned off! when doing any inspections,they become highly defensive and sting excessively. they will not leave me alone afterward and will follow a fair distance for a great amount of time. It has been offputting as we have pets, children and neighbours to consider. I have attempted to re-queen in hope to see a change in behaviour in a few weeks time, but am wondering if i will be going through the same thing this time next year?!
Hope your girls settle into their ‘naughty corner’ - let me know how you get on.


Thanks guys, this is my second winter with the girls in the hive, but last winter was when I did the possum box cut out. I feed my girls most of the winter, we have loads of wattles flowering for pollen, so no pollen shortage up here, but they only started really going great guns when the marri flowed which has now begun to taper off. I do have some gravilleas that flower all year but very slowly and few flowers.

I know Im very inexperianced so forgive me but what is an ideal and fd?

Sorry for this late reply as I thought Id pressed send!


Hi Julia,
I always wear a hat under my hood so as not to get any nasty stings on my head. Ive also learned recently not to blow them out the way while trying to get the back onto my flow hive, without any suit on, yup ran for the hills as one little lady came after me!
Always learning!


Hiya Sharon, fd is an abbreviation for full depth and and ideal is a shallower box generally used as a super. Pretty much the only sizes available here in the West.

I had a nasty colony, the type that flys bum first but after reducing the entrance and fitting a robber screen or brick, it is now fine. Although I saw no fighting on the landing board I did see many bees flying around the entrance not freely entering.
It’s tough inspecting with the fire bans all my bees are nasty without smoke.


I finally closed down the access to prevent robbing and the bees are now much calmer.


Mid-Winter Update:

The girls have been active in the flow frames all winter and there has been no condensation sighted even on the wettest days as reported elsewhere.

The left frame (frame1) was deliberately left full as winter supplies so that we would not have to artificially feed.

This pic was taken on Tuesday this week.

The hive numbers seem to be a little down with total foraging activity still good and reasonable pollen supplies and nectar being taken in, the girls have managed to add significantly to their honey stocks over the last four months which is pleasing giving us the option to harvest frame 1 if we need it.

The girls are currently working to the west of us, down on the flats, possibly in town, after having worked just about every other point of the compass over the last 4 months.

Locally, everyone’s winter gardens are looking great, with every citrus tree overloaded with the best show of fruit I have ever seen. I’ll give the girls credit for that.


August update.

It has been a very wet couple of months there are a couple of local gums that have flowered during the rain. The girls have been bringing white pollen into the hive so I will presume that it is coming from the gums and not the wattles.


Hiya SES, I noticed the white pollen too. Not sure of the source but lemon gums are in full flower here and citrus is too so…
It’s going to be a busy Spring I’m thinking.


Wattle pollen is yellow while some gums produce white pollen so you have nailed it.


Thanks, @skeggley, you are a bit further back than us

Thanks also @Peter48 your insights always inspire me :wink:


Sunny Days are here and the girls are going gangbusters as the garden flowers.