How's it looking?

Hi guys, newby here. We’re about 3 weeks in with my first hive. Our hive is located in the lower blue mountains, west of Sydney. We’re getting loads of info from the local bee club, as well as the nuc. We installed a nuc with four 4 frames of bees, with another 4 empty frames into the brood box. Since we started, the bees have moved into two new frames, with two untouched. The beetle trap is earning its money, with lots of small dead back beetles on the bottom tray.We haven’t installed any food at this stage.

So I guess I’m after some reassurance or guidance from the more experienced that things look OK. From what I gather, we’ll install the super once all the frames are covered in bees, so maybe 3-4 weeks away? This would mean mid March, so with Autumn looming, what would this mean in terms of harvesting?

Cheers, Jimmy

Hi Jimmy,
You shouldn’t need to feed them, but keep an eye on the honey stores at the top of your Nuc frames. The bees will need to consume a lot of honey to draw out the wax for the new frames. Also, have you noticed much flowering where you are. There should be a flow in the blue mountains on some eucalypts as well as the urban gardens.
To be honest, don’t expect to get a honey harvest. If your bees manage to fill all the frames they may have enough stores to begin depositing excess honey in the Flow Super but they’ll need this to get them through winter. Also, as you are in a cooler environment up there, aim to keep a honey only frame on either side of the brood nest for insulation. But come spring and you should get an early harvest. Hope that helps. I am based in Sydney near the coast and get a winter harvest but I never know until early spring as I don’t like to open the hive till August/September and there is nectar coming in.


Thanks for the response. Great info and reassurance.

We’ll keep an eye on the honey stores at the top of brood frames. But when you say keep a honey frame either side of the brood nest, do you simply mean don’t re-shuffle the order of the frames as they naturally fill the inner frames with brood first. Other than that, how do you control the outer frames to be honey only?

With flowering, there’s a variety of native and garden, but we’ve noticed the start of the bloodwood’s blossom just today.

Hi Jimmy
I’m also a newbee and from the lower mtns, Winmalee to be exact and have a flow hive on order. I won’t be getting in to the swing of setting it up until September. If you can pass on the info from who you got your nuc from, that would be much appreciated.

I can strongly recommend that you attend the Nepean Bee Association Group. The local members are extremely Flow Hive friendly and full of local knowledge. One experienced member, Rhys also has a Flow Hive but has yet to extract honey from it. Meeting at Nepean High School second Sunday of each month at 9.30am

you wont get a honey harvest this season Jimmy…

by the looks of your hive I would be sticking sugar syrup into it pretty hard before your bees get caught out with winter coming up…

I don’t want to disagree with anyone and you’ll find that everyone has an opinion on these things… but the time to feed is while the weather is still warm and not wait till winter or else you get too much moisture in your hive which can lead to other problems like chalk brood…

your bees need to draw out comb (now) so that your queen can build up a stronger hive before winter to get more honey storage before winter…


I agree with Andrew. I’d feed to get those other frames drawn out n full for your winter. If they don’t get enough store there’s a fair chance of lossing them or come out of winter in poor shape. I’d be asking several local experienced locals what they think. But your winter is rather close now.

Looks like you have a healthy colony but needs to fill out the frames soon. Up here Stateside we run double deeps but guessing single boxes are the way in your region. We are rather cool climate n damp east of Seattle so need 60 to 80 lbs of stored honey per winter per colony. So if we are light by Fall we feed quickly to beef/enforce them. Each region had differing logic n ideas. Get several of your locals to suggest if you can ! Good luck n enjoy ! Gerald

Thank you all for your responses.

I have a couple of questions with feeding. With the type of feeder we have, where is the best place to put it? In the super without all the flow frames, or without a couple of them?
And how long do we feed them syrup for, and do you continue throughout winter?


that feeder that you have there is an entrance feeder… a double one that that… I’ve never seen those before… fill it up and jam it in…

although it might need some support to hold it up straight…

you’ll probably notice that your bees may prefer one side to leave and enter… so put it on the opposite side…

feeding bees in winter can put too much moisture into the hive… you don’t want to be doing that unless its an emergency… the trick is, is to get them sorted now while the weather is still warm then keep an eye on the bees throughout winter to see what the bees are taking into the hive… Pollen etc

if you do need to feed them in winter feed them 1 water to 2 sugar…

you could put the top box on now and they’ll go up into it when they fill out… then you’ll be able to see when they start moving up and start working the top box without pulling it down…

a lot of people always worry about when to put on the top box but at this time of year just put it on… it wont matter a great deal… when you see where wild bees set up you;ll learn not to worry so much… I got one lot of bees out of a huge dumpster… :confused:

I would run two FILLS of those feeders into the hive now and then stop…