Hi all, I’m located in Newcastle Australia a fairly temperate place, that has mild winters and hot summers.
I picked up a nuc in late October last year from a local guy (Jamie Baggs) that told me the queen was bred for production and not temperament. Through the spring they filled out the brood box and were very mild I could sit with my uncovered face inches from the hive and they didn’t bother me.
By mid December I felt the hive was getting pretty full, so I added the flow hive super, I was fortunate as I was able to watch over the next few weeks them move into the top and starting building out the flow frames and eventually by late Jan had to harvest as the flow super was absolutely full. Between late Jan and the end of Autumn I harvested roughly 24kg of Honey.
Another interesting thing that was a shift in the hives temperament say mid Jan, they were decidedly angry and I’d have a guard bee hassling me if I lingered within a few meters of the hive for more then a few minutes. I never realized how much your eyelids can swell up from bee stings up until this point.
My last inspection was in late autumn (late may) and the hive seemed to be doing well and they still had 4 full frames of honey in the super to use over winter.
We had another mild winter, I think the coldest was maybe 2-3c for a few weeks at night, and days averaged about 14-15c so the bees foraged all winter still with plenty of flowers around, they didn’t seem to eat much of their winter store in the super, just from looking at the inspection panels - they may have got down to 3 frames of honey in the super?
I have to say I feel pretty blessed as the hive has done really well and I’ve had some great fortune as a novice beekeeper compared to some of the stories I’ve read elsewhere. I think my greatest worry has been managing SHB.
Anyway winter doesn’t officially end till the end of August, however no one told the plants and the bees and an early spring seems to be upon us. Today was 26c
So today was my first inspection since then -
I was very surprised but it seems I have a new queen! My original one was marked with a white blob of paint, I wouldn’t imagine it had washed off? So what happened to the old one? I keep a close eye on the hive and would have thought I’d notice a swarm? (though I was away for 10 days a couple of weeks ago). Is it even possible for them to swarm on the cusp of spring? I didn’t see any queen cells on the frames today although there were drone cells dotted here and there.
The bees have heaps of honey…the super is almost full - 5 full frames, I’m going to take 2 tomorrow. In the single 8 frame brood box there is also the 1 and 8 frames with a substantial amount of honey and pollen on both.
Plenty of brood in all stages of development, the brood pattern is excellent too. So the new queen is doing a great job.
So after that story I have some questions -
What are likely scenarios for what could have happened to my queen?
So I bought another flow hive a few months back, also have a 5 frame nuc box. I want a 2nd hive and was thinking i’d like to split from this one rather then buy another nuc. However most of the articles I can find talk about taking 5 frames from the original hive as a nuc, so i’m assuming they are referring too a 2 brood box setup, and taking 5 frames from an 8 frame brood box doesn’t seem wise right?
What is my best option? Add a 2nd brood box and checkerboard it with new and old frames, let them build it out over spring and then split when it’s full?
- Any idea why my bee’s got angry late summer?
Thanks in advance