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No Brood or Capped Honey in Brood Box

Hi everyone, it’s a beautiful sunny winters day here in Perth WA. As it is such a warm day I thought I’d give the brood box an inspection, maybe not such a good day after all. My findings :-
BROOD BOX…
I saw absolutely no brood and no capped honey. There were a lot of bees together in the centre frames, not many on the outer frames I didn’t see the Queen but I never have.
FLOW SUPER…
There where a few bees in there and capped honey on all frames, not all over but in about 10cm patches. A bit of condensation.
BEES…
The bees are active and bringing in pollen.
This is my first year, I’ve had the hive since November 2019 and did one complete harvest Febuary. The super had several frames of honey at the start of winter. Sorry no photos.
Not sure if there’s a problem or not. Any feed back please. Thanks Dave. :worried:

What was happening on the frames in the centre of the brood nest? Just empty cells all uncapped? Any bad odours?

Was there a large amount of pollen stored or is it being consumed?

Hi Stevo, Thanks, the centre of the brood was just a mass of bees, I do recall now seeing a few, what I believe were capped drone cells, but very few. No bad smell and I didn’t see pollen being stored. I took a look at the hive an hour or so later and bees were active and I did notice pollen on them. Cheers Dave.

Pollen being collected is a good sign of brood rearing, not guaranteed, but I’d be surprised at bees going broodless during winter over your way.

Not being rude but could it be inexperience that’s making you think they’re broodless?

Can be hard to see what’s under a mass of bees unless you shake them off. Have you been able to spot eggs during any of your inspections?

When was your last brood inspection prior to this one?

On a warmish day I would do another inspection of the brood to check if the brood is all drone cells and if that is the case then I would suspect the hive is queen-less. Even in Winter a couple of frames with some worker brood should be there in your climate.
Pollen is still needed in a queen-less hive to feed the drone brood from a laying worker. Nice to see pollen coming into the hive but you really need to check what the brood is to work out a strategy.
Cheers

Hi, yes I have been able to spot the eggs and brood cells before, I bought a 4 frame nuc and inspected it regularly until they built it out to 8 frames prior to installing the Flow super. I last inspected the brood box end of January prior to placing the super. Cheers Dave.

Hi Peter, Thanks, I will do another inspection asap, I’ll be prepared with a camera next time. When I saw no honey in the brood box I thought I was going to have to start feeding them, however then I found capped honey in the super so probably not going to be the case. Cheers Dave.

I saw on the ABC Landline that the heavy drought is still there on the WA south coast still effecting the honey bees and yield. Your in Perth so maybe it isn’t as severe there but something to think about. With the drought here for 15 months and at its worst last Summer I was a bit slow in realizing how bad the conditions were. The bush was flowering well but there was misleading when checking hives I found no wet cells of nectar. The flowers were dry.
The need of feeding my hives with so much of the bush in flower took a while for me to consider feeding and it was the lack of nectar near to the brood that set off the alarm bells ringing. Though there was capped frames the bees were hungry and went for the syrup for a few months till late Feb 2020 when I got good rain and the bees ignored the syrup completely.
Cheers

Hi Peter, Thanks, I’ll take a look at the Landline program. Wednesday is suppose to be sunny so I’m pretty certain I’m going to remove the super and then start feeding.

I’ve not completely removed the super before, is it just a matter of taking it a few metres away and leaving it a few hours for the bees to return to the hive or do I have to also shake the bees off the frames?

Cheers Dave.

You should either use a clearer board or shake/brush all the bees out and store it where bees can’t get to it immediately.

Leaving a super exposed like that would encourage robbing and could potentially spread diseases.

But if they have honey stored in the super and are foraging I would leave it there for them rather than feeding them sugar.

I wouldn’t remove the super if there is any stores in it in which case there wouldn’t be many bees in it if it is empty. To remove those in the super you could use a clearing board, a brush, or by shaking them off. I use an Ozito small blower which is effective and minimum disturbance to the bees. Using the blower the bees return to the entrance so a lot faster than brushing them off a frame and they head straight back onto it.
Cheers

Hi Stevo, good point about robbing, I’ve picked up a clearer board today and after speaking to the guys at the store I’m going to start feeding as it seems I’m not the only local bee keeper to have to do this at the moment. Thanks again. Cheers Dave.

Hi Peter, I’ve picked up a clearer board today and after speaking to the guys at the store I’m going to start feeding as it seems I’m not the only local bee keeper to have to do this at the moment. I’ve just bought a Ryobi small blower, awesome piece of kit but never thought of using it to remove bees, good idea :+1: Thanks Again. Cheers Dave.

The Ryobi blower was one of my best investments, amazing how much time it saves and I think causes less stress to the bees than a bee brush does. Once a bee is blown off it flies straight back to the hive entrance and not back onto the frame. I use it without any of the three nozzles and about 150mm from the bees to clear a larger area of bees.
I use my clearer board when I add a box of stickies to a hive for the bees to clean off the residual honey, a couple of days later I use the board and the stickies can be stored for later use.
Cheers Dave