Hello all, this is my first post and am a total NewBee. I have just done a second inspection on my brood box, there seems as if very little process has been made on the 4 outer frames. There where bees on the outer frames but nothing else appeared to have happened since my first inspection 2 weeks ago. Does this seem normal ? I received the Nuc on the 5th November 19 -4 frames. I’m in Kalamunda Perth WA. Thanks for any input. Cheers Dave.
Hi Davo, I’m a stone’s throw away from you. I installed my two nucs a couple months ago. One barely changed at all, and probably went backwards. The other is making very slow progress.
Are there any food sources for the bees up your way? Mine, which depend mostly on John Forrest NP, are almost starving and have to feed them.
Hi, thanks for the reply. Thats interesting about the food source, I assumed there was as we have mature flowering trees and gardens around us, we are also on the edge of the National Park. What are you feeding yours?
Eggs and bacon… haha not really. It is a mixture of 1:1 sugar and water syrup at this time of year.
But if you have flowering gums and they are finding it you might not have to feed. Do they have any stores at all? If you can take some pictures it can help a lot.
Don’t fall for the trap that because the bush is flowering there must be nectar in them, I found out the hard way that trees can flower in drought conditions but don’t take it as a given there is nectar.
Even in ‘normal’ conditions don’t expect big results to start with in a new hive. I have had to run a single brood box for up to 4 or 5 months sometimes waiting till the brood box and the colony need a super, but that can also happen in a month or two. The queen and brood should be on the inner frames and as the colony gets bigger they will make comb on the outer frames firstly to store honey handy to the brood but then the outer frames will be used for more brood.
Nothing happens in the bee world at human pace, except when they get agro and decide to sting. A worker bee in her lifetime will produce only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey, less than a single cell full. Somewhere I read that on average about 1/3rd of worker bees are actually foraging bees. So be happy to sit back, relax, and watch the colony build up, but you might got to taste their honey in the first season.
@jojo20 do you have and photos?
Out of interest, how close is your nearest water source (of a combined 5 litres+)?
You’re attempting to establish your colony as the major spring flow tapers off, before the later summer gums reach peak flower, and we’ve also run into some seriously hot weather. I’d suggest patience is in order.
As @peter48 said, flowering does not mean nectar. I haven’t closely inspected the gums in flower around me currently but they seem to have very little insect or bird activity so i actually think they have little to no nectar. I hope that changes with the other trees when they flower over the coming weeks…
Ha Ha lol, I deserved that, knew it was sugar & water but wasn’t aware of the ratio. Yeah there are gums and Lillypilly in flower plus the garden plants, so maybe just wait and see for a couple of weeks. No pictures. Next step “Big Mac” lol.
Hi Peter, thanks for your response. Yes there was brood on the inner frames, didn’t see the queen. There where a lot of bees on the outer frames unlike the first inspection, so maybe there just starting work. Cheers Dave.
Hi, no unfortunately I didn’t take photos, lots of water close by, we have several fish ponds with plenty of bees drinking. I’ll sit back observe,be patient maybe with a wine or two. lol.Cheers Dave
Take it as it come Dave, it is a common mistake from new bee keepers to expect things to happen too fast. The other big mistake is to put a super on when the colony doesn’t need it. Doing that gives the colony a really hard time and can knock a colony about to the point that they can struggle to keep alive. I’ll explain it this way so it is simply understood. Bees need to keep the hive warm so that new brood matures to emerge as bees, if it is too cold the brood can die. So if you give the colony too much space to warm with their body heat there is less bee available to fly from the hive to forage for pollen and nectar. Make sense? Bee love living in really high density living conditions, the more bees the happier they are.
Only add a super when 80% of all the cells in the brood box is used for storing honey and pollen or has brood in them,
A Little Bit Of Progress Has Now Been Made.
I’ve been feeding them since the first post. The second frame in has made most progress, the first frame only a little. Same both sides of box. Probably continue feed ? Your thoughts please. The Gums are full of buds now, I was hoping to put the Flow Frame on before they bloom, what do you think my chances are? Cheers Dave.
Helpful photos, thank you. I can’t see any capped honey stores though. Are there any? If you have about 2 frames of capped honey, you can stop feeding for a week or two and wait for the gums to flower.
I would only add the Flow super when:
- Every frame has fully drawn comb, and
- Each frame is 80% full of food or brood, and
- Every frame is completely covered with bees
That way you know that the hive needs the space and has enough bees to heat, defend, and use the new space.
Oh, so I thought the cells in the first photo was honey, not the case but brood ? Cheers Dave.
That is a beautiful frame of wall-to-wall (but not quite floor to ceiling) brood! You can tell it is brood from the domed caps on the cells. Capped honey looks a lot flatter - the cappings form more of a sheet.
Here’s a pic of capped honey along the top and capped brood in the middle and bottom. At the top edge of the bottom portion you can see some eggs in the cells - the little white dots.
Thanks Dawn, the reason I thought it was honey was because its on one of the outer frames. I thought the inner 4 frames held the brood and the outer frames the honey for their food. No I cannot say I saw any honey cells as in the photo KimM has just kindly posted. I recall reading somewhere that feeding a 1to1 sugar feed encourages the bees to produce brood, this is what I’m doing should I stop doing that? Cheers Dave.
Thanks Kim that’s made it a hole lot clearer . Cheers Dave
Hiya jojo. It is fabulous to see so many fellow west aussies here. My hives are in Hovea so close to you.
I have a very similar situation to you. The first colony I got in 2017 took off gangbusters. This year my new colonies are very slow to build up. This morning I inspected and it was the first time I saw noticeable progress.
I made the mistake of stopping the sugar water for a month. They had no food stores and I think I lost brood especially in that heatwave. I am now feeding continuously and like you I’m having the corymbias starting to flower. I don’t think the first flowers will have much nectar, so do not stop feeding as yet.
One of my new colonies is still gulping on the sugar water, the other not so much.
Excellent advice given above. If you do not have honey, and make sure it is honey not brood or pollen, keep feeding. I think they will soon take off.
It is so annoying when bees don’t read the rule books about brood location, isn’t it?
As @DarkEmu said, do not stop feeding them if they have no stores. One to one syrup is just fine, especially in hot weather. They need the water too! Once you start to see capped stores, you can stop the feeding.
I made that mistake too mate, so don’t stress. I remember my first hive, opening it up, scared to death I’m going to get stung by a cloud of bees, and never having a clue of what I’m looking at because I couldn’t concentrate. I read a lot before I started but when I heard all those bees buzzing around me, I wet my pants.
It took me a full year to build my confidence and know what I’m doing and looking at. I’m still a total noob though.