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Mid Autum Honey- Adelaide/Medditeranian Type Climates- Urban?


the season is drawing to an end- but I am hoping there might be some last late nectar flows. I have several hives that have frames 90% capped- I am hoping they will fill. I have other Flow hives recently robbed- I am hoping the bees can lay in some more honey before winter- and I have one hive with 3 frames of brood and 7 of 100% capped honey- I am hoping to rob about 5 frames of honey from that one- and that the queen will still have enough time to lay fresh brood into the robbed frames when they are returned.

Basically I am wanting what all beekeepers want: more honey for me and more for the bees.

Can anyone with experience of Adelaide’s honey seasons chime in? Or similar type situations?

currently the days are still warm and sunny and my bees are bringing in pollen. There are still a lot of drones about- and plenty of flowering plants in my surrounding suburbs.

a last thought: is winter honey being unrealistic? Too much to hope for? I plan to leave some flow supers in place as a trial this winter. If there is any forage and I am hoping they may even fill very slowly over winter. Last year we removed the Flow super from my mothers hive at the end of Autumn: the brood box had a few frames of 100% capped honey. At the end of winter when we first inspected the hive: we found those frames still 100% capped and seemingly untouched (capped with dark/old wax). the hive was in good health. Her bees were seen to be foraging through much of the winter months on sunny days. Here in Adelaide winters are generally quite mild- no frosts, etc-

Also I spoke to an Adelaide foot-hills beekeeper and he told me that he gets more honey in the winter than he does in the spring- sue to the secret locations he knows about… he is a migratory beekeeper. He said he could show me around- and tell me things ‘they don’t know at any bee society’ but unfortunately I also got the impression that I would have to convert to a born again Christianity if I was to get along with him…


I am in prospect, I harvested 4 weeks ago , photo was taken 2 days ago so I think the season is toast


I’m also in prospect :slight_smile: my harvested frames look the same- but I have hopes there’s nectar still to be had… today my bees were bringing in pale yellow pollen. apparently we’ll have rain tomorrow.


At Willunga in the Mt Lofty Ranges, non-urban…A few Pink gums flowering, lots of salvation jane, a few wildflowers and the cup gums are thinking about blooming. Nothing this year from the plantation sugar gums and spotted gums. Last year the plantation gums were humming with bees in the tree tops.

I have not ever harvested from this hive, and I’m still thinking what to do for winter…We will get flowering eucalypts over winter, and our temps rarely dip to 0 Celcius, so I think I’ll leave the flow frames on.


according to an expert at the bee society (are you a member?) the heavy rains early this year have provided a deep ground soaking the likes of which haven’t been seen for a decade or more. He believed that over the next few years there would be larger than average flowering of many of the gum trees. So hopefully next spring will be an absolute winner. He has kept details records of rainfall for years… he also mentioned that it would be a good year for salvation jane- and that that is a very good strong nectar source.

Did you have that flow super on all season? And it never filled :frowning: I also heard that Adelaide hills beekeeping has been pretty patchy for the last few years. I read a french study that concluded in general urban environments produce more nectar than country ones- due to the wide variety of species in gardens flowing at all different times. That seems to be true here too. Having said that- when a big Eucalyptus forest is in full bloom- I imagine little could beat it.


Maybe keep in mind to that the majority of Eucalypts don’t flower every year.


Yup, I’ve had the super on since October, which in hindsight was a tad early. All the frames were drawn, but I don’t think the brood box was quite bursting yet.

Something has always been blooming, and we do have a lot of Salvation Jane, terrible weed that it is :wink: . This year around the hive we’ve planted rows of exotic plants (rosemary, lavendar) and a few fruit trees so I’ll be providing more urban-like forage for them. Keeping the roos out is interesting though.


If things are that mild in our winter (my first beek winter) and if we have drones around what do you think the chances of for a successful walk away split? I am temped to give it a try. I was thinking of leaving the flow on over winter, but I am now thinking of putting a few brood frames and honey into a 5 frame nuc (or similar) shake the “flow bees” into Nuc and winter Nuc also some bees from brood into nuc and walk away - could be a goer? I ended up with over 35kgs honey between Christmas and march so the hive is strong and in good nick. I want to avoid possibility of swarm for spring and have a strong hive to put into my new long hive in spring



I am only a one year beekeeper- and have only done one split- back in early spring. So I don’t think I could answer that… My hives still have some drones in them- though I have noticed that the numbers have dropped over the last month or so.

Also I was told by a local beek- that the queen needs days over 24c to make her maiden flights- I don’t know if that true or not? I think if you were going to do a split like that- you would probably want to do it sooner rather than later. I did read somewhere about late season splits- and know they are ‘a thing’. Also given our experience of removing a flow super- and having difficulty getting all of the bees to squash down into a single brood box- it seems like it could be a good idea.

Perhaps a more experienced beek can chime in?

If you do decide to go ahead- you might want to consider buying one of my ‘beespoke’ 5 frame complete Nuc hive systems! :wink:


@semaphore well Michelle I did a walk away split today. Most people will cry " tooo late" and they may be correct. I did an inspection last week, plenty of drones, good strong hive, and judging by the weight the flow super must be 70% full. Anyway went for a walk through north parklands, plenty of flowers and nectar( bees active) so I thought I would give it a crack. Not sure which hive now has the queen, as I could not spot her and smoking/ brushing all the bees off the frames is easier said than done. Anyway I topped up new hive with bees from flow super, and as I suspected the flow is actually pretty full and should support he hive through winter.
Well time will tell whether I mucked up, but I wanted two strong hives going into spring so fingers crossed.
How is your long hive, if your hive is starting to settle and grow it may mean I have not missed the boat as we are in the same area


Hi Jeff- my name is Jack actually. I know it’s confusing but I took over my moms forum account-Her name is Michelle-I really need to fix app Settings.

Interesting to hear that you did a split I inspected my long hive today and found that it was queenless. I put in a fresh frame of brood- and I am hoping they have enough time tomake a new queen. So I am in the same boat as you.

Also today I saw lots of pollen and also plenty of nectar in the hive it seems there is a late nectar flow.

Anyway I started a thread on the forum about my queenless hive I’ll update what happens there.

One thing- you said “Not sure which hive now has the queen, as I could not spot her and smoking/ brushing all the bees off the frames is easier said than done.”

I shake the bees off the frames- just two firm shakes and 98% of the bees drop right off back into the box. there is a bit of a buzz but then they settle very quickly- they don’t seem to mind the process much. If the few remaining can’t be dislodged with another shake I use a brush tip to gently persuade them off. Easy Peasy. If you watch some of @JeffH videos you see how he does the shake very efficiently.


Hi Jack, I have a couple of nucs making new queens at the moment, I’ll be keen to see if the new queens get mated or not. For the purpose of research I’m going to attempt this right through winter in our sub-tropical climate. I know queens are successful at mating at the end of July.


Hi Jeff,

this is interesting. I am curious to see what happens in Winter in our climate- if in a mild winter there is a chance queens can be raised and mated. Today it is cool 17 degrees- but very sunny and the bees are very active bringing in pollen with 4 separate colors. Last winter my mums bees foraged whenever the sun was out- which was often and came through winter with a hive full of honey.

Also I spoke to a very curmudgeonly old local beekeeper who I bought some honey off of (10$ a kg)- I mentioned I was starting out and after swarms and nucs- he said he would teach me everything. I said I had joined the local bee society,'he snorted and raised an eyebrow and then said “I know things they will never know at any bee society… for instance: I get more honey in the winter than the spring! I know where the secret places are, Ha. Bee society…” He is actually a pretty interesting beekeeper and probably has some good tricks… only problem was it became clear I would have to become a born again Christian to get along with him. Being reminded you are going to go to hell even if you are a good person (but not born again)- is not worth it for some beekeeper insider infos…

anyhow back to topic: I will also check on my seemingly queenless hive in 3 days and see what the bees did with the comb I gave them.

Last night I was googling around about Queens and if they stop laying- and odd queen problems and I found this article, if you have the time I’d be interested to see if you think any of the weird queen Issues the author (Roger Patterson) thinks he is seeing in the UK, USA and Canada are anything you have seen in Australia:



Hi Jack, I read the start of it & then scrolled down. I came to the conclusion that it was too long to read.

I have simple answers to those three things he mentioned. There’s lots of reasons for queens disappearing etc. I still reckon that naturally selected queens are far superior to randomly selected queens. I’m not sure how big of a window queens need to mate, I can see problems for a virgin queen if that whole window of opportunity occurred during a bad weather event or during gale force winds. That could account for a young queen not successfully mating.

You may have seen me mention that I read once that on the law of averages, 1 in 6 or 7 queens will fail. Recently I had a lot of nucs making new queens around the side of my house. I did a bit of a count with that in mind because 2 failed. There was a total of 12 nucs. So, as the law of averages suggests, 1 in 6 failed. The ten that didn’t fail are going fantastically.

If a young queen is a dud, I guess the bees will supersede her. I have also witnessed on more that one occasion, young queens getting balled by the colony. It happened while I was transferring a colony from one super into another one, one day. That is always something to bare in mind. That, I think could be completely natural, the bees feel stressed so they ball & kill the young queen for some reason.

Jack, for what it’s worth, put up with that blokes preaching, you could be better off in the long run. If he gets too bad, throw a few curly questions at him. For example: How many people were in the exodus?

Enough of me ranting, I’ll catch ya later.


All of them. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Wise words, @JeffH. I love learning things from people who do things differently from me. Sometimes you get a real gem that makes a big difference in a positive way. That is why I love this forum. Lots of different people, different styles, different climates and different experience levels. New beekeepers make me reread about something that I think I already know, then I often learn something from them too. Nobody constructive is without value. :blush:


Thank you:) I read somewhere that it was about 1.5- 2.5 million, I think that included slaves. I’m not sure how long it took for them all to cross the Red Sea. So as, not to go completely off topic, they headed for a land that flowed with milk & HONEY.


But did the bees’ legs get stuck in all of that flowing HONEY??? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Hey, Jack, I tried to find your “queenless” thread but technology and I are not good friends.
Anyway, two days after the split I put some more bees rom flow super into the new hive as new hive seemed a bit light on with bees, anyway I noted that they seem to be more aggressive ( one sting on throat and one on jawline) .today I went to old flow hive just to look in back observation window and kapow, stung again!! My bees have historically been pretty calm, but I donot know whether it is the weather, queenless hive or just sick of me poking my nose in but they are cranky, are yours ok


my bees are more defensive at the moment- I am not going near the hives without my veil on for that reason. They are being harassed by European wasps- and the one hive is seemingly queen-less. Also at this time of the year the average age of bees is older- and older bees are more aggressive (or so I read)…

With your split: apparently the bees become aggressive when they are queen-less- they should be busy making queen cells at the moment- you should check in around 4 days to confirm- but after that you want to leave the bees alone over the period when you expect the new queens to emerge. Between the time they emerge and their maiden flights supposedly they are quite vulnerable and best not disturbed.

here s a queen rearing calendar- you can put the date you made the split in and it will tell you the timeline for the new queens:



Thanks for the calendar, I am sure I transferred the queen over to the new hive as old hive is aggressive. However, I am going to leave them alone and see what happens, either two healthy hives going into spring or I am in the market for a couple of nuts and honey in spring 2017!!! Fingers crossed