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Perth (WA, AU) Flowhives and honey flow


Question about bee deaths at this time of year.

I’ve noticed more dead bees outside my 2 hives. About 20or30 per hive over several days but they are not drones. They seem to be young bees. Any suggestions.?

These hives are absolutely cranking at the moment with more flowering . Even busier than the Jan and Feb.


Hi @BecW , Say the average hive is 80,000 bees and they live on average 60 days the hive will have over 1,352 deaths per day on average. A lot of them will die while out foraging but some will lie while in the hive. Bees don;t live to “human” old age and when the hive is ‘powering on’ there will be an increased mortality rate.
Pretty stunning figures when you see it in black and white isn’t it.
Your regular inspection will tell you if the hive is healthy or not which is another matter.


If they are in front of the hives in numbers and not drones, you should watch if you got a robbing hive trying to get some loot.
One of my carnie colonies is frantically going around trying to steal from the others at the moment. The dead bees outside my hives look exactly like the unsuccessful carnie robbers.
Just something to consider if nothing else makes sense.


Agreed, on average. At her peak the queen is laying 3,000 eggs a day (Dzierzon) so when those hit six weeks old or so the death rate would be about 3,000 per day…


Another question. Thanks for your patience

The Vines - Brothers hive.
Would we expect significantly less brood at this time of year. Given that we have only just hit a few cooler nights (8°c) and the days are about 24°c but bees are busy on a heap of Acacia.

Flow frames still not even 1/3 full from start in September 2017 and QE almost blocked with propolis. Heaps of bees but brood on 3-4 frames only with less than 25% brood.



Do a hive inspection on a warm day and compare the brood numbers in the 3 hives and clean up the queen excluder so the workers can easily pass through it. Your hive will reduce the colony number as winter come in and so the area of brood will reduce compared with Spring-Summer. Over here on the East coast we have some winter wattle blooming and bees are bringing in pollen and nectar but as winter settles in the colony will reduce, that is normal.
As the honey is consumed near the brood they will take down honey from the flow frames as they need it, it is easy to think they are not interested in the flow frames but remember Bec, it is just the surplus from the ‘good times’ up there.


Hiya Bec, how old is your brothers colony? Were both boxes full of bees during summer?
We’ve plenty of winter forage here on and around the Scarp which keep the bees busy between rainy days so starvation isn’t usually a problem.
I havnt seen noticeably less brood here yet and the cool nights and late mornings are just beginning.
Is the plan to pack down the bees for winter?


@skeggley.the hive was a swarm in September 2017. Flow went on in November although they were on to it quickly it have never filled. Most it has has was 70 filled and capped cells. Now down to 40. Heaps of honey in brood. They are a bit feral at the moment. Thanks


I am a new bee keeper just out of Freo ans very green.


Ha, a bit feral, I know the feeling. The weathers probably not helping.
And welcome to the forum @Annie30.


Cheers for that…steep learning curve


Welcome to the forum Annie, lots of nice people and a wealth of knowledge is available just for the asking.


Me again. I’ve tried to find this on the forum but don’t know the right key words.

We seem to have a problem Huston!

Honey in the flow channel but have never harvested any honey. Yes they were correctly aligned to start.

Also bee numbers are dropping rapidly with fewer capped cells on end frame despite warm weather and heaps of flowers around.

Flow hive at the Vines - shared with brother.
Swarm caught in September
November chaulk brood issues
December super added
Inspection showed no issues until late April may have failing queen sparse brood pattern few larvae or eggs.


Hi Bec, So you have two separate issues, firstly the failing queen which I assume can locate in the colony so I would dispatch her and from that hive or from another of your hives find a frame of young unsealed brood and switch that with a frame from the weak hive. Mark the donated frame with a texta pen. Transfer the nurse bees with the frame and a good puff of smoke into the hive. Do that weekly to coincide with a weekly inspection and you are looking for a frame with brood that is not marked with the texta. Balance between your two good hives for the donor frames of brood. Don’t disturb any queen cells you find in the weak hive. Sooner or later you will have new brood from a laying queen in the hive.
Problem two: Others on the forum might be able to give better advise but I would fit the harvesting tube and then open the frame fully and close it again, let any honey drain fully and remove any honey still in the bottom draining channel with a chux wipe and using even a stick to get the chux as far in as possible… clean up any spill and close the hive up to monitor it. If the flooding continues your only option is to remove that frame and clean it thoroughly in the laundry sink with the plug in to wash out any wax with hot water and let it set on top of the water and remove it. Don’t let it get into the drain as that will block with the wax. Then you might see the problem as to why the frame is leaking the honey.
Hope that help and let us know.


I would do something simpler. Honey in the channel is often seen the first time the bees use a Flow frame. It doesn’t seem to happen so much in future. I would put in the Flow tube and rinse out the channel with luke warm water. That should remove any unripe/fermenting honey without losing the honey they have stored already in the cells.



Thank you once again. We are opening hive this Friday.


I like Dawn’s simpler solution.
I think what’s most important is to ensure the flow back gap is open. I check those weekly on my flow hives, and occasionally there has been some honey collecting. If it’s fresh and your hive is at the correct angle, it will flow slowly back into the hive and you can see the bees lapping it up from inside.
I’m not sure if the bees would get sick if it had been sitting there for a while and had a chance to ferment. If that would be the case, rinsing the channel might be the better option. I never had to do it.

Don’t forget to scrape the wax off the little closing disc sometimes too.
The flow hive angle and a clean pathway are important for that genial flow gap to work.

Before harvest, I wrap a slightly damp double chux cloth (off the chux roll) around the flow key, insert it into the collection channel and twirl it while retrieving.
It’s probably not necessary, but sometimes I get some wax flakes out.

Make sure you don’t loose your cleaning cloth in the channel. Happened to me once, but got it out with a long wire with a hook at the end. Won’t happen again. :sweat_smile::sweat_smile:


In my experience, bees won’t touch fermented honey. That is part of the problem with an SHB slime-out. If the honey smells off, they ignore it. They won’t even clean it up. :thinking:


I wondered about that. That would be a terrible thing to happen.
Great that you know, so if ever in doubt, I will base my decisions on that.
Never had fermented honey. Guess the time will come.