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Perth (WA, AU) Flowhives and honey flow


#1

Hi, I’m what I will term a ‘first year beekeeper’. I got my flowhive and Nuc at the end of summer (late Feb) so I managed to get my colony established before the cooler months mid year (and the colony appears to be in good health). However, looking at other posts from around AU there are some flow users that are already enjoying the honey flow. I was wondering what people around Perth are experiencing???

Currently, my bees haven’t yet started to shift into the “flow” super so no honey yet for me. I’m hoping this cold weather ends and I start to see a difference soon…I’ve got a list of people that want to come and 'turn a handle to get honey!".

Alan


Hi from Perth WA
Honey from Canola
Where to place hive
New to Bee Keeping in Esperance WA
#2

Hi Alan, I got my flow same time as you, I’m in Perth as well. I haven’t put my flow super on as yet, over winter I just had a normal super on, suggestion from WAAS members. Will be be putting flow super on as soon as weather warms up a little more. I might leave it on next winter and see how it goes, another member in the club has had his flow on all year and getting heaps of honey from it. My bees are cranking up now so I think they will be ready very soon.
Cheers Tim


#3

Hi Tim,

I’m up near Joondalup/Wanneroo…do you know the general area that the flowing hive is located in?

I’ve been using a broodminder device (also from indiegogo) to monitor hive temp and humidity. My colony seemed pretty strong before the weather really cooled down so I decided to keep the flow super on and monitor it. All I did was restrict the hive entrance (I’ve still got it restricted at present). I probably could have removed the flow super but I wasn’t expecting the coolest winter in 20+ years and had (delusional?) hope of honey.

Cheers

Alan


#4

Hiya Alan, welcome to the forum. As Timbo2 says the bees are only just starting to build numbers. It’s still cold, wet and windy but we are getting a clear day now and then. I think today we will be getting our first day over 20°c since Autumn which is unusual for this time of year.
I was at the C/Vale markets to get some honey from the Sweet As honey guy there and he was neatly out ou honey for sale as last year was a lean year and this year it’s been too cold, wet and windy so the bees haven’t been out and about.
I’ve seen that @Dunc, from Perth, has been doing splits, which I thought unusual but he seems to be going well. I’m surprised that anyone around here is getting honey from their Flow although I’m a newbee too and have much to learn.
I put my Flow frames on a couple of weeks ago and the bees are busy working the wax with no honey in them yet.
Are you registered with the Ag dept yet?


#5

I left 2 brood boxes over winter and the flow on top of a cover board. I’ve done a split because i found swarm cells. Another friend has had their hive swarm multiple times.

Mine are definitely bringing in plenty of nectar and pollen but i’ve also put in empty frames to slow them down a bit as part of the split. There are a few bees working in the flow hive but not many. They have moved some stores down from the flow in the last month.

I reckon mine are still using up honey to draw new comb and keep warm.

Overnight there is a fair bit of condensation on the side walls of the the flow super so it must still be getting cold at night.

I cant smell the nectar from my geraldton wax yet. Normally by now it smells strongly of honey.


#6

Yes. I made sure I was registered before I got my Nuc to start my hive, and I joined up with WAAS after getting my Nuc.


#7

I live in the hills of Perth and got my Nuc last March, so the poor girls struggled through winter essentially as that. They have drawn a lot more comb since then but when we did our check on Sunday we were surprised at how few bees there were, and how little capped honey (though there was necter & pollen). Eggs, larvae and a queen present so I think they are just using up massive amounts of honey & energy to keep warm. We had a feral hive in a log on our property but unfortunately they perished in a cold spell a month ago (autopsy showed starvation), so I think it’s just been a tough winter. We have an amazing number of flowers around but I think it is just been to wet and cold to get out and get it on many days.

That said, a neighbour caught a swarm last week, so clearly some colonies are doing well. Hopefully things will improve soon :slight_smile:

Cheers,

Julia


#8

Right after I wrote this post we were out on the property and a feral tree colony we have swarmed! We managed to scoop a few of the bees and the queen into a brood box (with old comb & some sugar sprayed in) and the other bees seem to be now following her in! Fingers crossed she likes her new home & decides to stay!!! About a week ago there wasn’t much activity in the tree so I am amazed at how fast they must have built up numbers!!!


#9

Sorry to hijack this post, but I have a general question for the people of Perth - are you using one brood box of two? I was told by the guys I bought my Nuc from to use one, and our neighbour uses one, but I am a bit concerned that managing swarming (when I get that far) might be tough with only one box and I’m thinking of going against the flow and using two. Any thoughts?

Below is my swarm we just cought an hour ago. There are now virtually none on the outside and a lot of coming & going. Fingers crossed they are still there in the morning

Cheers,

Julia


#10

I’ve got one brood box and one super. I’ve got the 8 frames that came with the flowhive and one frame I picked up from Beewise in O’Connor. The frames that came with the flowhive are wider than the frames from Beewise, but they left too big a gap by themselves in the brood box that came with the flowhive. Beewise indicated they had seen the issue so this was my approach to managing the space between frames, and so far so good.


#11

I really don’t see any harm (to the bees) in using 2 brood boxes if you feel that you would like to.

I am not in Australia, but my latitude is similar to yours (32nd parallel, and you are 31.5) and the climate is very similar here on the west coast of the US. Most people local to me use 2 brood boxes, except for the commercial beekeepers, who stick with one. Having said that, their boxes are 10-frame Langstroths, whereas our Flow hives are 8-frame. You could easily make a point that they have 25% more brood space than we do, so a second brood box should be a good idea.

Conversely the disadvantage is that you now have more space and bees to inspect, increasing the workload. I haven’t found that to be a big problem, and I would rather my bees have plenty of food stores for the winter, even if it takes me a little longer to go through the hive.


#12

I use 2. I found last spring that the queen was filling 1 box consistently and so i added another box so they could expand the brood if they wanted. Most of the spring and summer there was more than one box of brood and bees covering the frames in all 3 boxes so i stuck with it.

The only problem i had was in late autumn the brood was split across the two brood boxes and the honey reserves were split across the top brood and flow frames. I ended up wintering with all 3 boxes, which was probably not great. But they started growing again mid august and when they were planning to swarm there was more than 1 box of capped brood.


#13

I have just today assembled my new flow hive.
Can anyone advise where I can get bees from in Perth area? I am happy to pay for a colony. I will look up how to register my hive with the Ag dept (?) and act on that in the morning.
Would it be better to locate the hive for winter sun or summer shade (I can’t find a location to do both.)
We are in the Perth Hills and the easterlies are very strong on summer mornings. I could locate the hive in a sheltered spot with summer shade, but it does not have winter sun.

I will continue the steep learning curve I am on.
Tony


#14

Tony,

you will have fun…I’ve enjoyed learning over the last year and am looking forward to spring and summer. I got my nuc from Beewise in O’Connor but I assume you can also get them from Guilfoyles (likely closer for you). You want to place an order tomorrow - I was on a waiting list and ordered mine about 4months in advance of actually having my hive.

As for location of the hive, my house sits almost perfectly E-W. I’ve got my hive located on the South side where it is protected by the fence from the wind but still gets the summer sun and late winter sun. From what I’ve read they typically recommend morning sun to help the hive get active but that isn’t feasible for me. With the rains and winds this winter I had a few issues with water ingress through the roof onto the top board/inner cover so I had to make a new one and swap it out (it got really wet… but thankfully the hive itself was dry and the water only pooled on the top board. In the end I’ve had to put aluminium flashing over the roof to keep the water out but I’ll be removing that as it warms up.

In addition to the Ag Dept you should also reach out to WAAS (waas.org.au). They run courses that will help you with the basics and can be a good way to meet people. UWA also run a course that is great (https://www.extension.uwa.edu.au/course/CCQL002) and well worth it in my opinion (I did it). The UWA course fills up very fast, so join the waiting list and when they run the next one go do it; from memory it is one evening and a Saturday in duration. I also did a weekend course down at Fairharvest (Margaret River) but I’m not sure if they are still running them.

I’m not sure if you have other pets but I’ve had no issues with my dog (I have a small barricade to keep him away though). If you’ve got alot of land and have horses or similar I’ve read you need to barricade the hive off so they don’t treat it as a scratching post and knock it over.

Finally, don’t forget to provide a water supply for your bees. And bee’s can’t swim. So having water lillies, or reads or even gravel (rocky pool) will help. Oh, and don’t have the flight path going across any laundry…

Feel free to get in contact. I’m happy to share whatever I’ve learnt and learn from whatever you pickup as you go along too :slight_smile:

Cheers,

Alan


#15

Thanks Alan, I will check out the suggestions you made.
Tony


#16

If it’s in full sun in the summer, you can rig up shade that you remove in winter.


#17

Hiya Tony, fellow Hillbilly, welcome to the forum. I’ve mentioned on the forum recently that bee nuc’s here are currently in short supply. I ordered one last year in December and one in April and I’m expecting to pick them up late next month… No doubt there will be some on gumtree when the weather warms however these would mainly be captured swarms and splits, not that there’s anything wrong with that but you must be careful and if possible take a beek friend with you to do checks on the colonys.
I have my hive in full sun but the next ones will be going under some gums as I had to rig up some shade last summer and those howling easterlies were a worry. I’m planning to gradually creep the existing hive under some shade so they don’t cook again when our summer hits.
I’m using one brood and am looking at adding a wsp to give them more room. And I said I’d buy no more boxes… Sheesh.
As Dawn recommends slatted racks with the heat I tried looking for one, asking at some suppliers, and they looked at me sideways. One even told me they don’t sell salted rats…
After a nice 22°c today it looks like some more cool weather is on its way.
BTW Our dams are at 26% capacity at the moment, after all this rain…


#18

ROFLOL! Sorry about that. I still love mine. Wouldn’t set up a new hive without one. :wink:


#19

Skeggley,
We have 4 acres in the hills near Armadale. We don’t have any dams which hold water when the rains stop . Both dry by end of December with no usage.
We do have a 30,000 gallon water tank and lots of roof space to fill it up. This is more than 2 - 3 years of storage for our needs.
I thought that the summer sun and the easterlies would be sources of concern. I was wondering how important it would be to have winter sun on the hive. We rarely get below 5°C. They say not to move the hive too much / too far on the property, so I would like to decide on a location prior to populating the hive.
Tony
ps
Skeggley or Dawn,
What are slatted racks?
What is a wsp?


#21

Dunc,
With the Easterly winds in Summer anything “temporary” disappears quickly.
Tony