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Need to rob in winter!


Can’t believe it. Just looked in the bees for the first time since reducing them for winter and a couple of the hives need robbing! I was really having a look to see if they needed feeding but its the opposite :smile:

Looks like they will need splitting in early spring as well, even the one I started last year.


Perth (WA, AU) Flowhives and honey flow

did you have supers on them Rob?

seems there are many stories on the forum of winter honey- shaping up to be a great season- fingers crossed.


Hey Rob, I have already extracted a frame from each of my hives that were running out of room for stores. All the frames had all the cells in use and pollen and nectar coming in and It has been a very mild winter up here. All the signs are for an early Spring, Wattle is in full bloom and the gum trees are budding up.
I have already done Winter splits on two of my hives for swarm prevention that would normally be on my agenda towards the end of August, not for the middle of July.


No supers, I pack them down to a double brood for winter. Makes for easier swarm control, a bigger population in spring and a bigger population really lets them gather nectar when the spring flow happens.



Yep, mine are out most days, the Claret Ash above them is flowering so they are bringing in buckets of nectar. The camellias are flowering so pollen pants are definitely on. Will need to take a couple of frames from each hive soon to give them room. Don’t want to put a super on as the nights are still quite bitter here at the moment.



Hey Rob, Just watch out for earlier than usual swarming, I have already added supers to give the colonies more room and something to do making new comb on the frames of foundation. The hives were getting a shade warm (temperamental) from being over crowded. Signs up here are a very early Spring with day and nights temps up 2c average, all the signs are for a good spring flow.


Onto it but not too worried at present. Taking out a couple of frames for room combined with the really cold nights (-2 deg) and only really flying for 3-4hrs on a good day is keeping them in check. As soon as the weather takes a turn for the warmer it will mean flipping the brood boxes and adding a super. Just got to get the timing right :smile:



when you say ‘flipping the brood boxes’ do you mean tilting them on their sides to see if there are any swarm cells on the bottom of frames- or- do you mean putting the top one on the bottom and vice versa? If it’s the latter- can you explain why you do that? Just curious.


Some people recommend that for swarm control early in the season. It makes the bees rearrange their home, as the honey arc above the brood nest is now below it. I don’t do it, because I find it hard to lift full boxes, but some people swear by it. :blush:


Hi Dawn, couldn’t you move the frames one by one? Do you find or envisage problems (for the colony) with doing this or is it just too time consuming/fiddly?


When you are switching boxes, it gets a bit tricky. You need two flat roof and inner cover setups, for example one each side of the hive. You empty the upper brood box into a spare box on one side. Now you need to either be able to lift the lower box, or move each frame into another box on the other side. Then you can put an empty box back onto the bottom board, and refill it from the first box you emptied. Then repeat from the other side with the second box.

My problem is that my apiary space is tiny - around 2 x 2 meters for 2 hives. I don’t have space to put extra boxes on both sides of the hives, plus have space for working. So unless I can lift, I can’t switch in the manner discussed. As I can’t lift a whole box, I just rotate frames out or split for swarm control.


Yes…you describe my method. I do end up working on top of myself a bit (planted bushes too close to the apiary) but have no back pain afterwards. I find I need to think ahead and have lids, bases and boxes ready and set up (I have plenty of spares) to take the frames. I am on a slope (typical Tasmania) and sometimes things slide which is annoying.


Its supposed to open up the brood and I suppose it does but I really use it to cycle the boxes out so I end up with no comb older than 3 years. Often the bottom box is fairly empty as well by the end of winter so then its just a super.



“Flipping the boxes” is changing the positions of the two brood boxes, top to the bottom and bottom to the top. I was told that trick by my Commercial bee keeper/mentor when I was west of Sydney. His reason was that it gave the queen more space to lay eggs, I did it for a couple of years then in a busy year I simply didn’t have the time. I am not so sure it was worthwhile but back then it was all about harvesting the honey and as I was chasing pollen and nectar up to 200 klms away the hives were sometimes having boxes of stickies put on weekly or 10 days as a maximum, if it was longer I would move the hives to a new location.