Perth (WA, AU) Flowhives and honey flow

Yours get a bit of shade though Terry?

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Looking at your photos all you need is some star pickets (even use the fence post pickets) and some shade cloth. Double it up for better shading. Much better than a piece of MDF.


I can’t attach a shade cloth to the fence, because the kangaroos recked it, plus it gets very windy here, and it won’t sustain the stress. There’s a tree outside my boundary, and was going to fix one point of a shade cloth to it - but that’s not exactly legit.

And… driving a star picket in that rocky ground is back breaking.

When it is hot it is usually not that windy. The umbrellas can be put up and down as you need them.

Other option is to put in some posts for a shade sail, they too are relatively cheap if you are concerned

I’d like some shade sails here to keep the sun off the ground but I reckon they’d sail away with the overnight easterlies.
Forgeddabout digging.

Noticing the Marri beginning to bud, looking good so far.

It’s windy pretty much every night. This is just this morning and it is usually still windy by the time I leave home for work. Unfortunately it is not practical.

And like Mr. Skeggley… who is only 5 minutes away from me… digging this ground for posts is impossible without heavy machinery, or a core drill.

Hi Stefan, I spent some time thinking of your dilemma. The conclusion I came up with is to build migratory lids a 100mil deep with 50 mils of insulation under the lid, leaving 50 mils of bee space above a hive mat, which I would also recommend. That would be awesome.

On top of the lid, you could also fit another roof separated by two bits of 50x50mm wood on either end. That would create shade over the roof as well as a bit of a breezeway. That would be doubly awesome.

We think alike Jeff!

What I’ve done is similar - I used the flow hive lid, glued 35mm thick cork on the inside of the shingles. Then I have this frame 60mm deep that I screwed on top of the crown board - it acts like a tray. It is ventilated, and I filled it with dry leaves. The hole in the crown board I covered with mesh, and I remove that to feed.

I was also thinking about fitting another roof on top to create shade. To work well it needs protrude on the sides and front, to have shade on the sides. Since my hives are still relatively light, I was worried that a strong gust of wind might catch the roof and topple it.

I wouldn’t worry about the sides so much, as long as they are painted white.

If you can somehow do away with the crown board & replace it with a hive mat, the bees will propolize the roof to the honey super. That will save you having to tie the roof down.

With the insulation you have already fitted under the shingles, you wouldn’t need to do much more if you painted everything white.

Don’t provide the bees with any ventilation apart from the entrance itself.

PS This morning I did a quick flow hive inspection. The roof lifted off easy. I had to use my hive tool to pry the crown board off. So following my advice/suggestion, you’d need to use the hive tool to remove the roof. Then you’ll see the point I’m making about not having to tie the roof down.

Cheers Jeff. How long do they usually take to propolise the roof down? Problem is that if they don’t glue it down within hours, it may get windy and loose a roof.

At the moment, none of my hives are propolising the crown board down in a week between inspections. They are still infant hives.

That’s why I have to tie them down. Once I put the super on I have to lock it down with toggle latches, which I already have.

BTW, aren’t migratory lids ventilated? The ones over here all are. I read a lot of your previous posts about hive ventilation and they make a lot of sense.

It does take a while for small colonies to propolize a lid down. I have a few bricks where my bees are, so I can use one to hold the lids down on weak colonies. It’s seldom needed because most of my lids have a lot of propolis under them which stays a bit tacky. When I put them down, even over a weak colony, I can generally tell while pushing them down, whether they need extra weight on them, or not. I must subconsciously know because this morning I felt the need to put extra weight on one lid.

I did a quick count earlier. Before breakfast I went to 3 different locations to get into 19 hives. That was to return stickies, check on 2 colonies to see if their new queens were successful, remove 4 brood frames from a strong colony, place those frames, one each into 4 weak colonies, That’s about it. Hang on… kill a few beetles.

Imagine how muck extra time it would have taken me if I had to untie & retie each hive.

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Hi Stefan, I forgot to answer the question about vents in migratory lids. I know they do come with migratory lids. Sometimes bees propolize them over, other times they don’t. I never place much importance on that in my climate. I do think that hive mats are important. I place more importance on using them, especially with weak colonies, along with reducing the entrances.

Because I don’t move my hives around, I don’t include vents in my lids when I make new ones. Plus I wouldn’t put vents in lids to give hives added ventilation during a heat wave, for example. Others will disagree. But that’s beekeeping.

Thanks Jeff. I understand there are different point of views on ventilation, and your logic make a lot of sense to me, especially when ambient temp is higher than the hive’s and you don’t want that heat to get in.

Then there is that chap down the road from you, whats’is name? Peter or something - he is putting solar powered fans in his hive lids with good effect.

Exposed hives

As I also mentioned in some other thread, in my home country in the Mediterranean, native of the honey bees, I often found hives fully exposed in trees and open structures with maximum ventilation and exposure to the weather. Granted, these wild hives are not being harvested for honey, but maximum honey production is not my goal either. Climate there is very similar to here in Perth.

I will approach this subject with an open mind. I will give the bees the option to ventilate if they want. I will keep those vents open in that frame I built on the crown board, leave the leaves there for insulation and minimise draught between vent holes - then reduce the hole in the crown board and place mesh that can be easily propolised if they want. I think that is a fair compromise and will be up to the bees to decide.

Slatted Racks

When I gather enough scrap wood I want to build a slatted rack even though the sceptic in me thinks it is 70% gimmick. I can only find anecdotal evidence that they are a benefit in hot weather. I think if they really are the panacea people claim they are, everyone in hot climates will have one.

I also don’t want to change too many things at once, only gradual ones and see what happens, then adapt from there and see what works best in this climate with my bees.

Great times ahead.

I remember reading your post about finding hives in open structures. I’ve been called out to similar hives myself. The bees never get a chance to store much honey, as you can imagine, they consume it as fast as they produce it just to keep the brood at the optimum temp.

I’m sure that slatted racks work. I’ve never felt the need to go to the trouble of making one. I’m happy with the performance of how my hives are set up. I like the KISS method & I think my hives fall into that category.

I just thought I’d pass on my thoughts earlier because people were talking about star pickets & shade cloth etc.

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Don’t make it too comfortable for the bees, otherwise they’ll expand quickly, bee un-thankful and swarm on you…

Opposite problem with children… you make it too comfortable for them, they live longer at home and overstay their welcome, instead of creating their our brood space… :rofl:

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I think bees are able to survive in unsheltered hives is when they have reliable food sources available all year round. I remember this one particular place I used to go birdwatching, called il-Buskett, where these hives were not uncommon and it had a very good variety of native, exotic flowering plants, and orchards, and something is blooming all year.

I enjoy reading your posts Jeff - your experience from decades of managing dozens of hives are worth their weight in gold.

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Hi guys, off topic, but does anyone know any bee keepers around Northam that I can get some advice off?

There is only so much advice I can get off youtube or google.

My hives are 2 years old now, producing well and no big dramas, I would just like to learn more.

Hello Tony, Have you introduced yourself in that section of the forum so that others on the forum in your area might make contact? Check for a local bee group in the Northam area. Most bee keepers are open in helping each other out with advice about local conditions.

Hi Peter, sorry, I thought I was on the Perth Forum.
I’ll try again.


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@Messines You are on the “Perth” forum/thread. Your message is posted in the correct spot. This thread isn’t exclusively focused on Perth.

There isn’t a specific Northam thread on the site. I did do a search for you but the only other “Northam” that came up was in the UK…that’s even further from you than us in the flat lands!

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