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New to bee keeping - Inner West, Sydney

Hi all,

I’m 10 days in with a 10-frame hoop pine Flow Hive that I’ve colour-coordinated with our house using left-over paint. I’ve installed the hive on the skillion roof of our house as our backyard is microscopic and we have young kids. In hindsight I probably could’ve gotten away with the back yard as the bees seem very relaxed in my interactions with them so far.

I installed the nucleus last Thursday and everything seems to be going well so far, other than a few SHB.

Here are some pics (I have removed the flow super as the bees still have some work to do on the brood frames).

I’m really enjoying things so far and looking forward to learning more.

IMG_9032 IMG_9034 IMG_9030 IMG_9029 IMG_9033 IMG_9039


Hi Ethan, Welcome. Great setup you have there. Don’t want to be an alarmist but do your other frames have more brood and bees? Numbers seem a bit on the low side. Did you see any eggs in the empty cells which will be the next generation of bees? Got to keep the population cycling over.

Hi Rodderick,

I’m still getting my eye in on that and will report back at next inspection. It is a 10-frame box and I got a 5-frame nucleus. I had 3 pre-fab empty frames with comb starter (apologies for incorrect terminology) and 2 empty frames. The bees have taken well to 2 of the 3 pre-fab frames, ignored 1 completely and have also started work on one of the empty frames, again ignoring the other empty one for now.

I did about 8 days with the flow super off, put it on for a day and realised it was not a good idea until they have done more work in the brood box and took it off today.

I have had quite a few deaths that have worried me. If I had to take a stab at the number of dead bees around the hive I would estimate about 100. Does that sound excessive? Most were in the first day - quite a few bees seemed disinclined to enter the new hive and they mostly perished by morning (I completed the transfer around midday last Thursday). There have been a few more dead ones around the hive since. I’ve cleaned all these up and will monitor from here.

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Welcome to the forum Eathan, you made a common mistake of fitting the Flow Super way to early, you only add that when the hive has 80% of all the cells in use for either brood, pollen or honey. The frames should have a very heavy covering of bees. Any sooner and you are not helping your bees.


Great to see another inner west Sydneysider. I’ve made the same mistake of adding the flow too early potentially. Will be watching your progress with interest.


Hi all,

I’m 95 days in now and have some capped cells in the inner 2 flow frames now. They still haven’t done anything on the other frames though. However, there is always a lot of activity on them…not sure what they are doing…just inspecting and preparing maybe?

With some luck I could be doing the first harvest within a few weeks?

No sign of SHB since the initial 4 I saw in the first week.

Numbers of bees have increased significantly to the point where I seem to kill heaps every time I put the hive back together.

IMG_9838 IMG_9839

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Wow, fantastic. Mine finally started on the flow super a few weeks back but nectar flow seems to have slowed to a standstill in Newtown.

According to the commercial keeper of hives on the roof of the marly down the road, their hive weight has stayed static after a flow in January.

Fingers crossed these buds I see on all the trees at Sydney Uni bloom soon.


I’m close to Callan Park and there are heaps of eucalypts there, but I never really paid attention to when they flower in previous years. Hopefully that is yet to happen. One thing that is going off at the moment around here is crepe myrtle.

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I figured you must be around the Crepe Myrtle. I see loads of it in neighbouring suburbs. Seems that it was standard council planting on the streets from Marrickville out your way in Callan Park. There’s only a few of them around here.

I remember someone on here saying that the paperbark and Eucalyptus were late summer flowering trees, so that must be next. The eucalypti all over the Uni and in most of the parks are budding.

My flowframe a couple weeks ago


I am located up near Chatswood and have noticed that the paperbark melaleucas and flooded gums (street plantings) are budding up nicely. At a guess there should be some flowering in march.

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Sorry, veering off topic sort of. Did a bit of a look around at the trees in the neighbourhood on tonight’s dogwalk. Never ever paid attention before the hive research started a few months ago. :slight_smile:

Lots in bud and flower. Any ideas what these 2 are, they are all over the place @Rodderick

The one on the right I am seeing as the common paperbark, it is easy to grow from seed just throwing about on the ground and regular watering till it shoots in a dry period. Up here it is even found growing in standing wet areas as well as sandy dry soil so I guess it is very hardy.
The one on the left I will let pass through to the wicket keeper, and I am sure @Rodderick will know it.
Cheers Robert

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I agree with Peter, the bark gives it away (Melaleuca) and the plant on the left looks to be Sweet Viburnum (viburnum odoratissimum) which is a very common hedging plant in Sydney.


Thanks gentlemen.

The one that looks like viburnum is actually a stand of 10 or so trees about 8 metres tall.


Hi all,

Still not a lot of action in my Flow super since the last update. I think my middle 2 frames are a bit more developed than last time, but they still haven’t done anything the outers. I saw on a recent email from the Urban Beehive that “some beeks suggesting it’s the worst season in 20 years”, so that would explain it.

I opened up the brood box too as I hadn’t checked it in a while and I got the DPI alert about AFB in my area. I think I’m clear and there re heaps more bees than I’ve ever seen before. Unfortunately they had attached built comb across from on of the outside frames to the box and when I pulled the frame it tore off a massive chunk of honeycomb. I wasn’t sure what to do, but is seemed most logical to remove it and eat it! Here are some photos anyway.

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There are too many pics for my computer to process them all. Don’t expect the bees to rush into a Flor Suer to store honey there in the first season, it doesn’t happen but once you do the first extraction it will be treated no different to a ‘normal’ honey frame, and for that reason I would hold of extracting the honey till all of the frames are at least 80% capped.

Not much happening in the Sydney Metro area for the last few months, so that will be the reason why your super is not filling. I have had to remove some supers altogether from my hives due to a lack of nectar flow and a rise small hive beetle infestations. If you are located in the north and north-west of the Sydney region the swamp mahogany’s are in flower and producing honey…