New to bee keeping. Advice please regarding frames

Hey Guys. I’m got my flow hive late last yr and got my Italian honey bees (Apis mellifera ligustica) in the first week of Jan(4 frames of brood and honey) within 4 days they had begun building comb. I was so excited. Today i inspected the brood box and 6 weeks on they’ve built out about ⅓ of that same frame and the two drops have joined. But the other 3 frames haven’t been touched. I’m so keen to go foundationless despite those around me telling me I need foundations. We are on 5 acres with alot of flowering gums, bottle brushes, sandalwoods(which have just started flowering) wattle which are about to flower, chinese elms which are flowering, plus a huge rose garden and lots of other things around. I’m just concerned that they’ve havent built enough comb heading into autumn and I’m worried about my hive being ok thru the winter. Should I be feeding them? The brood is hatching and seems to be alot of bees. I was told if theres not enough comb in the broader they will swarm so I’m a bit concerned on what I should do next.
We are in south west Western Australia so we get a bit chilly in winter. I’ve got my hive in a nice spot that has sun until about 3pm in the afternoon. If you have any advice I’d really appreciate it. Thanks so much

Hello and welcome to the Flow forum! :wink:

I would feed them using an in-hive feeder. They need to build out more and lay down stores for winter. If the flowering trees are preferable, they just won’t use your food, but meanwhile you are helping them along.


You have been given good advice in regards to using foundations. I would follow that advice. I would also follow @Dawn_SD’s advice & feed the bees for the time being. Even if the bees prefer the flowering trees, they still have all night to take the syrup & utilize it.


Feed for sure. 1:1 sugar syrup. Use your super box to provide enough space for a rapid round or decent sized contact feeder.

Foundationless is what I go for. The bees will thank you for the help :+1:.

Thank you everyone for the advice. Do you have an in hive feeder you recommend

There are many options. This is one that is easy to install, there will be similar ones in Aussie:

You can also search the forum (top right magnifying glass tool) for baggie if you want to feed simply. Others use mason jars (or jam jars) with tiny hole punched in the lid and then inverted over the inner cover/crown board.

Please do not use an exterior or entrance feeder though. At this time of year they will encourage robbing and may well lead to the death of your colony… :cry:

I would also make up your syrup as 5:3 sugar to water. That saves the bees effort in dehydrating it for winter storage. I use 5lb of sugar to 3lb of water to make a little over 3 liters of syrup. I boil the water, turn off the heat, stir in the white sugar with a bit of star anise, and let it sit for about 20 mins to dissolve, stirring occasionally. When cool, I add about a teaspoon of Vitamin C powder (ascorbic acid) to prevent mold and promote healthy bees - nectar is acidic, and has Vit C in it too :wink:


I’m terribly sorry. I made a mistake–this feeder does not fit under the gabbled roof. I’ve since then learned that they only way to get a rapid-round under the gabbled roof of an 8 frame hives is to add a 2" shim. Sorry if I mislead anyone. I thought it would.

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If you have a spare empty box (or an unused Flow super) you can put that on top of the inner cover, then any feeder will fit with no problems. :blush:

Curious question…
I’ve heard a few people on the forum talk of boiling the water. Is this to sterilize the water or just to make it easier to disolve the sugar?

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That is the reason. For 1:1 you may not need hot water, but for 5:3 or 2:1, you definitely do. Tap hot water might work too, but it is so much faster with boiling water. I know that the sugar will have dissolved within 15 minutes, so I don’t need to set aside a lot of time for intermittent stirring. :blush:

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Thought that was probably the case.
Thanks Dawn

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