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Major flow on in Adelaide plains right now- happy days

after our last awful season we are having a massive spring for hives. All hives have wall to wall brood- and nectar just pouring in. I put a flow super onto my mothers hive around 8 days ago- and it is already maybe 65% full. I caught a massive swarm and hived it in a two story 10 frame Nuc box tower hive- the swarm filled all ten frames with nectar in just ten days and then absconded- I assume because the queen had no space to lay. We caught it and put it into a larger hive. I inspected a swarm I caught a month ago in a ten frame box- it had built the entire thing, wall to wall brood and 5 kg’s of honey in the lid. I sold that hive and the new owners put a super on the day they got it home and got the 5kgs from the lid- not bad for their first day of beekeeping! I fully expect that super will fill with another 30kg’s ovwer the next fortnight- assuming this flow continues.

If you have hives in Adelaide- be ready to catch this flow- get your boxes on and be sure the bees have room to expand into. Swarming has started to slow down but I expect more hives will swarm as they become honeybound if you don’t harvest regularly enough.

Hives in the hills are a few weeks behind- but things are just ramping up with flowers blossoming everywhere. Great days to be a beekeeper.

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Very happy for you, Jack! Good thing you didn’t give up after last season! :slight_smile:

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I second what Cathie said. Well done Jack.

Can we see some photos? if you have some spare time. cheers

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I just love success stories! :grin::grin::grin:

Awesome! You needed a good year after the last. I’m so happy for you guys down there.
This year it all goes the other way. Some areas in Northern NSW are in a terrible drought. My colonies are just equalizing, no excess. Don’t have to feed yet, they are still nibbling away on their winter stores. Glad I left them enough to be sure. Pollen income is ok.
Heard of bees starving in the area. Hives in towns seem to be doing ok.

Really happy for you Semaphore and I hope the rest of the season keeps you and the bees just a buzzin!

Your explanation of the productivity dynamics of swarms is a primary driver for my style of beekeeping (which is based on package bees (artificial swarms) in part). When a hive is reset through the swarming process, it goes through a most wholesome transformation…thanks for that exciting description. Like JeffH has said, post some photos…and I would love to hear stories from Aussie beeks of what plant species are producing how much honey.

We are just entering winter here…and I’m just going out today to complete a final pillow tuck-in and feed tray removal of my hives. It’s +15C inside the wintering beehouse and tonight it’s dropping to -20C…I’ll slowly drop the inside temp from this point on.

Beehouse in February:

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that’s a very interesting observation to me Doug, as I have just been wondering about that hive of mine that swarmed. The new colony was SO perfect and strong looking, and did so much building and honey gathering in such a short time I was wondering if it was possible that the new swarm hive represented exactly the lost productivity of the hive that swarmed- or- somehow was more productive that that hive would have been had it not swarmed. My tentative conclusion was that it was more productive.

It truly was as if it was ‘reset’. Large primary swarms seem to be particularly powerful- the old mated queen gets to laying so fast, the frames are all built, they seem to even outstrip established hives that haven’t swarmed that season. The renewal of the combs seems to play a factor- as colonies get older and the combs get darker they seem to slow a bit.

This week I had another hive swarm, then it returned, then it swarmed again- and then it returned again, all over the course of one afternoon. This year I have seen lots of strange activity like that. I hurriedly set up a Taranov split and split it into two hives- they are both now very active and laying in honey- they didn’t skip a beat. I have never used package bees- but I have started most of my hives from swarms, I am curious to learn more about using the swarming function to establish colonies and build up frames rapidly.

the reverse of the coin is that hives sometimes take quite a while to recover from a swarm- the bees in the parent hive often seem to lose their way a bit. They don’t always re-queen on schedule and need a frame of brood or two to get them back on track. Then they miss out on that spring flow.

The good thing about keeping bees in the suburbs is the massive variety of local and imported flora- the increased irrigation and the fact that bees don’t need to be fed over winter. The bad thing is it is very hard to know exactly what the bees are foraging on at any time. I can kind of guess that it’s the citrus- then the jacaranda, etc, but I just don’t know. I have some microscopes and hope to one day find the time to try and learn how to analyze pollen.

-20C? :cold_face:here today it will get up to 33C… :hot_face:what a massive difference between us: 53C!

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Hi Jack my first mentor told me that a swarm always outperforms an existing hive. The same as you’re experiencing.

We have to look at it from the bee’s perspective in the natural world. The bees in the swarm only have a limited lifespan. Therefore they need to get the comb built, get the queen laying as quickly as possible & raise as much brood as they can in the limited time they have. They want to leave behind the brood as strong as possible.

Let’s face it, a bees sole reason to live & die is for the welfare of the next generation.

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Thank you all for your thoughts and sharing experiences.
What a privilege it is to be part of this forum.

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My observations exactly…and I’m excited to see you are using the Taranov method…it’s as if the bees actually benefit from being removed from comb for awhile.

We’ve had a very ordinary winter season and dry spring on the Sunshine Coast but with the latest little bit of rain I’ve retrieved some honey (at last) from some hives up near Noosa. (Doonan near Eumundi). 10 frames but could’ve taken double that if I had replacements.
I’m so out of practice uncapping the traditional frames I uncapped my fingers three times before I retired the serrated knife and turned on the hot knife. I was only just going up to the poorly performing hives as a routine check and was amazed to find two hives packed out with honey and bees.

A very light honey and distinct taste compared to the darker honey I usually rob. Lots of big gums around this area. Happy to see the hives have started to produce.

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Finally found a moment. Inspected this nuc 6 days ago- one tiny piece of comb in the roof. Split it today so it won’t swarm on me (bless the bees no queen cups yet), and found this in the roof:

I’ve carefully preserved this virgin comb- jarred for next show.

That lovely perfectly formed lid comb is also a valuable lesson to me: always use a hive mat! As you can see I had a hivemat meaning none of that comb was attached to my frames: virtually no mess when I cracked the hive and no honey to clean off the top bars. Saved me a lot of bother, drowned bees, spilt honey. The split went superbly.

All this just occurred to me just now as I looked at the photo. I actually left the hivemat out after the split. I’m going to get it back in ASAP. And make more for all my hives.

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This mini flow hive got Taranov split last week- nevertheless progress in the flow frames continues at a rapid pace:

mums hive has managed to somehow not swarm- pulled an ideal off it. 100% virgin foundationless crazy comb- grade A:

flow box added around 3 weeks ago- this is it yesterday

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I have had very good rain over the past 6 weeks but it has been very patchy. My bees are producing well at last so there is now nectar in the flowers. Funny that Jeff is only 18 klms away and he has had rain some nights when I have only heard thunder in the distance. But, at least the bees are back producing honey so I’m happy.
Cheers Alan.

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Impressive Jack and love the value adding in your marketing scheme…your hives must be busting with bees to get those results. Thanks for posting those photos…never see honey that dark over here.

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I’m really impressed with the crazy comb in the pic Jack. Sort of reminds me of “Hey ho, the drunken sailor” :smiley:
Sound like your going well so that hive is down in Adelaide and not up on the hills?
Thanks for the update and pics.
Cheers

the hills hives are a few weeks behind- the cold at nights prevent them from exploding quite as rapidly. But the good news is flowers abound and the brood is strong. I am taking a window of cooler weather as an opportunity to get up into those hills and into my hives. I have been finding it hard to manage all these exploding hives, catch swarms and keep up with my normal life. Last 8 weeks have been crazy. I guess I caught around 15 swarms, made half a dozen splits, built innumerable frames and so on. I’m just trying to keep up with the bees- who never rest- and work 24/7. I reckon as of today I have maybe half a million bees or so out there working for me!

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actually our honey tends on the lighter side too- I think that lot looks darker due to the shade. That lid comb was very light yellow and sweet- really superb stuff. In the hills we can get darker honey from the Eucalyptus.

Hi Jack, “and work 24/7”. I know exactly what you’re talking about. Also remember that bees are emerging 24/7. A mediocre colony today can be exploding with population in a week’s time & getting ready to swarm.

I used to have nightmares (not really nightmares) thinking about all the bees emerging, while I was sleeping, having breakfast or even driving down to the bees. Bees continually emerging turning mediocre colonies into super colonies.

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LOL- I know exactly what you mean. It is this creeping sense of anxiety at this time of year that the bees are getting away from you. The only way to lessen it is to suit up, crank up that smoker and get right to it. I just had to emergency order a heap of supers and a few hundred more frames. Soon I will be needing LOTS of buckets.