I have just come home this afternoon from 2 weeks away.
I was quite anxious to see how the bees survived, after reading problems with ants and swarming.
To my surprise, no ants to be seen.
My brood box, where I installed a nuc 4 weeks ago,
After I removed the roof and top board, which the girls did not appreciate, they were doing their best to tell me to nic off and after a couple of stings I retreated.
I came back 30 minutes later and the girls had calmed down and allowed me to have a look at the frames.
I was absolutely dumbfounded to find the brood box completely full and large numbers on the front of the brood box and landing board (see photo below, not very sharp, taken at 5:30pm)
I did not want to upset the girls any further so hopefully to provide more room for them, I installed the flow super.
I will look again tomorrow and see if the took advantage of the extra room.
I did put the queen excluder on top of the brood box.
I hope I did the right thing, maybe I will get some advise from the forum
I have just come home this afternoon from 2 weeks away.
Oh well, I’m not surprised.
I recall you had another thread, and most telling you not to worry? Was it a month between inspections?
Rule #1 in beekeeping: Never take the bees for granted. They keep on surprising me every day, and I guess it’s the same for those with more experience too.
I think you did. Did you brush some wax on the flow frames?
You also have to be careful with any advice you receive on forums, especially by people not in your immediate vicinity. Advice is very useful but it is you that can really make a judgement, once you build up experience.
Hi Zzz, Thanks for your reply.
Nuc installed 1 month ago with 4 empty frames
Did a frame inspection 2 and a bit weeks ago, the 4 empty frames were between 30-40% build with new comb.
I did not brush any wax on the flow frames.
I will see in the next 1-2 days, If the girls are reluctant to enter the flow frames, I will brush on some wax.
Can I melt down some comb that I saved from the nuc box and use that?
Absolutely George. That’s what I do. Chances are it will help.
On my first Flow hive, i didn’t put any wax on the frames and they took for ever to warm to them. On my next one I brushed on some burr comb, and the bees took to the frames immediately.
Definitely doesn’t hurt to try.
If the new frames were only 30-40% built out you’ve likely put the super on too early.
That picture you’ve provided is pretty normal behaviour. No indication from that that your hive is overcrowded.
The above being said, you’ve got a nectar flow in your area and your only two real pests are wax moth and ants, plus the weather is pretty warm currently. That all being true, you’ll likely get away with having put the super on but I wouldn’t be expecting a decent harvest anytime soon. If things keep going the way they are you might get one in April.
One thing I’d suggest is closing the entry by about 50-70%.
Hi George when you say the brood box was full, you actually checked the frames right?
I agree with @SnowflakeHoney that you might have put the super on too early, I only add a super when at least 80% of the cells in the brood box is in use for stores and brood. I would also reduce the entrance so that the bees can better defend the hive while they build up in numbers.
When I bought my Flow Supers I did a little experimenting and got a much better acceptance from the bees after brushing on some melted wax, you will get enough by using bur comb and the pieces you will find in the brood box.
I think any advice you can get on this forum is well given and worthwhile but local knowledge is worth more. You just have to figure out the best advice for your climate and conditions.
Hiya George, it’s always tempting to get a first year harvest which can lead to supering early which can then set the bees back dramatically.
I agree with the others but think you’ll be right with the current flow on and you should get some wax action on the Flow frames putting you in good stead for next season.
Did you use the Flow supplied plastic queen excluder?
If I’m understanding correctly, the “30-40% full” was over two weeks ago, and now he said the box was full, so yes, he did the right thing to put the super on.
Yes the frames were 30/40% full 2 weeks ago but George didn’t say how they were at the time he put the super on, or at least that is how I read it. My post was a warning that adding a super too early can actually set the colony backwards, and so my advice to check all the frames in the brood box are in use.
that is a common mistake with new bee keepers so like the others I mentioned it, the same as suggesting reducing the entrance as @SnowflakeHoney, said also. Basics are sometimes overlooked in the excitement of getting a new hive up and running.
I agree with what you say Pete, I just went with what he wrote. I hope it was really full, not looking full without inspecting frames.
Did you brush some wax on the flow frames?
Hi Zzz, I had to go out again this morning and only just got back again.
No I did not put wax on the flow frames yet.
However I did lift lift a couple of frames out and saw a lot of bees already on the flow frames.
I also lifted 4 frames from the brood box and noticed a lot of capped cells each side of the frames
Also the top 2-4 rows of cells were dripping honey.
I looked for the queen but did not see her.
To do a more thorough inspection I will need someone experienced to help me
Hi, SnowflakeHoney, I have closed the entry back to a 60 mm opening.
No sign of moths or ants but I did remove a small cockroach from under the roof.
Other that that, with my very limited Knowledge, The bees seem happy enough and certainly very busy
Hi Peter48, Have a look at my post further down, I would be interested in your opinion.
I would check the tension of the wires on the super on the top and the bottom to make sure they are tight, the leaking cells is a worry. If the wires are tight I would remove the frame and see if all the cells look to be closed. As a last resort while the frame is out of the hive I would drain it and feed it back to the bees. Wash the frame and look for a cause for the leaking. Make sure the frame is closing along its whole length. A leaking now will continue to leak so it needs fixing, It could be with the first use of the frame by the bees that they are a bit slack in sealing up the frame.
I’m happy to find larvae in the brood frames, if the queen flaunts herself at me then it is a bonus but they can play hard to find.
When you wax up the frame the bees will be a lot more motivated.
Hi Peter48, When I first received the flow hive, I checked the wires.
They all needed tensioning and cells are closed.
The leaking cells are from the first 4 rows of cells across the top of the frames in the brood box, not from the flowhive.
I have also noticed that the bees are bearding, under the landing board.
When I looked up bearding on google, it said not to worry about that.
It’s a sign of a strong and healthy colony.
I was initially worried about swarming.
Hi George, I think @Peter48 misunderstood your post.
Don’t worry about leaking cells in the brood box - I suspect they were not capped, and honey leaks from them when you handle them. Try to keep the frame vertical when inspecting. Also try not to damage any comb when handling.
Bearding - don’t worry.
I also see that you are asking for help thoroughly inspecting your hive. If no one on the forum is close enough and offers you a hand, you can either call the WAAS and see whether someone around you is able to come as a mentor for a fee. You can also check gumtree for “swarm catching” ads. They’ll be beekeepers, and ask them for help. Except to pay 100-150 dollars an hour.
Or do as I did. Chimp it. I didn’t have a clue what I was looking at 4 years ago, and I wish I knew about this forum. I learnt mostly from youtube and books. Mind you, I’m still an idiot beekeeper, but I came a long way…
Hi Zzz, I have Booked in on a A bee keeping course on 4th April.
Hopefully I will learn a bit more.
Still hoping to find someone close by to help with a brood inspection.
Sorry George, when I read leaking honey from cells I thought of the Flow Frame, so now I’m thinking does nectar come out of the open cells on a brood frame and you hold it flat to get good lighting onto the frame? If that is right, then that will happen. Just hold the frame over the brood box and the bees will clean up any drops of nectar.
About bearding it is nothing to worry about on its own. It certainly isn’t an indicator on it own that swarming is eminent. Once a week I do a walk thru of my apiary of a night with a red torch and note which hives have heavy bearding then the next day do inspections looking for the reason. I look in the roof for any comb building or if it is full of bees. Frames in the super that are all capped so there is no work for the bees to do and they might be a bit on the angry side so extracting is the fix. Bees idle in the roof is more likely to develop to a swarming situation
Look at there two photos of the same colony taken at 4pm each day a day apart, the same ambient temperature and both days hot and humid. The hive is in full sun till about 3:30pm then is in full shade. After taking the first photo I changes the hive from a wooden hive to a poly hive of the same frame capacity. A brood box and double super. So the only thing different is the better insulation of the poly hive. My thoughts is that the internal hive temperature is cooler so more of the bees can work inside of the hive.
Most of my hives have roof vents added into the roofs to give more ventilation and doing that definately reduces bearding here in my climate for an outlay of about $4 but changing to poly hives has been a surprise to me with be difference.
Hope that answers your concerns.
HI peter, Thanks for your detailed reply.
We don’t have the same amount of humidity here as you have in Qld.
I may try insulating under the roof first and see if that helps.
That is an interesting opening reducer you have
It looks like it has adjustable opening sliders.
Have not seen them here, did it come with the poly hive ?