New beekeeper starting out

Hi all. We live in sunny Perth Australia and I’m sitting here watching the bees buzz around wishing we had our hive already. Unfortunately it isn’t due until December (we purchased the full flow hive), and I think our hive in the tree near the house is going to swarm & we may miss it :worried: Having read through this forum for a couple of days, I am now thinking that maybe the best plan would be to buy a standard hive, and then add the flow hive super to the top & brood box to the bottom when it arrives. This would give the bees plenty of room & also leave them a full super for their own honey before I start harvesting any from the flow hive. Does that sound like a good plan? We have a very experienced beekeeper who is happy to teach us, so perhaps learning the traditional way first would be wise.

Anyway, if this is a good idea, my simple question is what size hive do I buy, that I can then add on the flow hive later?

Thanks so much for all your advice - these forums are priceless,


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Hi Julia, get yourself an 8 frame single hive box (they are not expensive from a beekeeping supply shop) and put this out on the other side of your yard from the hive in the tree, make sure there are several (3 or 4) frames with foundation in the hive box and have it located 1-2 metres off the ground. If the hive in the tree does swarm, there is a good chance the bee scouts will smell the wax and find your new hive. You have nothing to lose as you will most likely need to the hive equipment for future needs anyway. Best of luck… and a little lemon grass oil scent will help as an attractant but only use a very small amount, a drop or two at the back of the hive.

Yes, get that new box. Add two frames of foundation and an old empty brood frame (best attractant in the world. Drip a few drops of lemongrass on each topbar. Good luck

Hiya Jingles welcome to the forum, nice to see another Perth member. You seem to have the same idea as me, I too have a wild colony I’d like to utilise.
On the subject of swarm trapping, I keep seeing the use of an old brood frame as a swarm attractant, is this necessary and is foundation also required as I was hoping to use foundation less frames.

Ok cool so it is possible to trap a swarm using just the oil just not as successful. Good point on the frames, hadn’t thought of that.
Thanks for the info Dexter.

An old brood frame is not necessary but increases your chances of catching that swarm. When you hive them you leave it at the edge of the nest and remove it as soon as you can, or just shake the bees off it and sacrifice the brood. I prefer the former.
As for foundation, it helps the bees (or the beekeeper, really) to draw comb straight if you alternate your foundation-free frames. Collapsing brood frames are not an issue if you wire them and you can use wire or fishing line.

Hi Greg, I have used frames with foundation & frames without foundation. Using frames with foundation, in my books beats foundationless every time. It takes a little bit of practice to embed the foundation to the wires properly, but it’s really worth the effort. As far as your swarm trap goes, you need to apply every trick in the book because the scout bees are looking all over the district for the best possible site. Your site, in their eyes, has to be the best. It’s similar to a bower bird building a nest to attract a female, his nest has to be the best. Now I think of it, your trying to attract thousands of females:) good luck with that, cheers

Thanks guys,

So just to confirm, we should get a full hive (brood box & super (if that is the correct term?)). How close can I get away with putting the baited hive from the wild one? My hive is high up in a hollow tree. It is near our orchard and veggies for flowers & pond so they can get water. We ideally wanted our own hive in pretty much the same spot - though we do have 10 acres to play with if we need to move it.

I am so happy about the positive suggestions from this forum. When I asked a guy in the local bee keeping club about this he suggested I wait till after dark, climb up a ladder & poison them all!! I think that is a bit harsh as the hive was here when we arrived 7 years ago, has given us heaps of fruit, and not one bee has stung us even though we walk among them daily.

Finally, can anyone recommend a good book on the basics of bee keeping - the terminology is a bit mind boggling so I have a lot of reading to do!

Thanks heaps,


Hi Julia, a good book I’d recommend is “The ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture”. A great video to watch on Youtube is “The City of Bees”. You need to watch that several times to take it all in. There’s preaching at the end, so you can ignore that if you wish. The video must have been made 50 or more years ago. It’s really worth watching & absorbing the information it contains. It IS a bit drastic killing the nest, you could extract most of the bees out with a “trap out” to get a colony going.

@Jingles here is the link to various books etc Beekeeping books I recommend

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@DextersShed, the colony is about 2 1/2 meters up a tree out front but there is another about 8 meters up another tree. I was going to try a trap out in another about 1 meter high but it seems that perished during the winter so I’m hoping a swarm appears… I’ve just bought a box and will hopefully assembly it this weekend and paint it next week however Murphy’s law says there will be a swarm hanging on a tree between now and then… Friendly bees though, my daughter and I like to stand on the wall and watch them close up coming and going she’s 2 1/2 and shows no fear. She’ll learn.

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