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Perth (WA, AU) Flowhives and honey flow

Cheers Fred, this was pretty much all I was trying to assess.
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Hi everyone.
I did an inspection about 3 weeks ago, everything look good and when I would peer into the windows each day it was so full and lively with busy bees. Still no honey. They just looked busy.
I hadn’t looked for about a week. And had a little look in the windows yesterday and its very scarce. Not full anymore and very few bees around the frames. I will inspect on thw next warm day. Where have all the bees gone. Havw they swarmed or are they all down in the brood box.
Im feeling disheartened.

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Hi Tracy, don’t be disheartened. Bees are unpredictable. It’s part of bee keeping.

The weather has been quite unusual lately. The cooler weather may cause the bees to cluster out of sight.

How is the honey level? If they have significantly dropped, there is a chance the bees could have swarmed.

The only way to be sure is to inspect. But be careful as the bees could be a bit cranky as a result of run away queen.

They will leave resources to make a new queen. You may have to intervene and knock out some queen cells to prevent cast swarms.

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Thanks Fred. Ill have a good look next free warm day.

They may have swarmed. Three weeks is too long to leave them without inspection at this time of the year. A colony can go from normal to swarming in 10 days. As Fred says, your priority now should be to check if swarming has happened and if so to limit secondary or cast swarms.

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So what’s going on Sandgropers?
Awefully quiet…
Not a lot up here in the Perth Hills that’s for sure.
And, even with this warm weather I’m not seeing much bearding!
Hope everyone’s colonies are fairing ok.
:hot_face:

Hey Skeggley

Mine are bearding. But go inside at night. They are filling my flow frames. Slowly but consistently. New Nic is busy. I’m checking them next week. Fingers crossed.

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Well…I never got that harvest I was expecting. I went to harvest but moisture was too high. So instead I put a Super on and ever since my hive has slowly lost weight. As far as I can figure it is/was due to a dearth… Glad I didn’t harvest.

The last week and a bit has been an improvement (I think) but the batteries on the scale are flat and I need to replace them.

The Red flowering Gums are also starting to flower around me. However, a few years ago the nectar was literally spilling out. That’s not the current case. There’s nectar (sticky surface) but nothing to rave about. I’ve been wondering what it is that influences the amount of nectar… I’m convinced it’s got nothing to do with the amount of water.

I’m intending to do another inspection soon… Just not on a 35+ degC day and definitely not 40+…

I’m getting a little bearding of a night. I’m noticing a heap more bees doing water runs during the day at the moment (not surprising given our temperatures).

Yeah I don’t think all is lost, it’s nearly Marri time and as long as there’s enough around to keep the colony sustained there may be a harvest yet.
My inspections are over until fire season finishes.
I think a set of scales would be a handy investment but I still think there’s some improvements required before I fork out.

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Mine collected some honey in the beginning of November. One colony has a full super, another about a half. I added a second super in November to the colony with the full one, but it is still untouched. By this time last year I already had 55 kg of honey harvested. This year it is about half of it and it is still in supers.

No bearding at all on 40°C days. But I have fully vented bottom boards.

Bees are very calm. No guard bees on their usual patrol flight around hives. Had a quick look inside today. Did not use smoke and all reaction I’ve got was half-hearted try to sting my glove by one bee which after three attempts to insert stinger into fabric decided to leave me alone.

It is hot :sweat:

The scales do assist management. Interested in what you think needs improvement. Mine have worked flawlessly for a few years now.

All the colonies I’m responsible for are going backwards. This is normally a period of dearth for me but hard to manage following the nine performance prior. Most colonies are being feed, particularly the smaller ones.

Hopefully everyone’s optimism is realised…

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If your hives are within range of a wifi signal I’d suggest looking at WiFi hive scales (WiFihivescale.com). It certainly makes an improved difference to hive management.

It’s a simple and effective setup (don’t just don’t have 30 min weighing setup unless you have a solar recharge setup).

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All hive scales I have seen on the market involve data storage and viewing on producer’s website as well as their control over data. This is what stops me from buying them. Companies go belly up, change their structures, etc., and there is no way to be sure that I will not end up with expensive piece of useless equipment at any moment in the future. I would be way happier to have something that allows me to run software on home server and do with it whatever I wish.

Australian distributor wants AUD649.09 for it? :astonished:

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Still by far the cheapest, most reliable, with no hosting of data costs and your data is downloadable. They also have mobile data options as well for where wifi isn’t reliable. They have also been very responsive to requests and changes when I’ve dealt with them.

I’ve also set two up running off an old mobile as a hot spot.

Adam

Disclaimer. I know the Australian distributor but have used my hard earned cash to purchase prior to them being in place.

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Very quiet here too.

I am slowly feeding both hives just enough that they don’t lose weight (BroodMinder scale)

Some minor bearding on the hot nights.

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Finally got an inspection done. The hive was very mild and didn’t seem to be bothered by my poking around.

Observations:

  1. Definitely a dearth. Compared to previous, honey stores reduced and pollen also slightly reduced. They even started using some of the spare traditional frames I had put into the hive (I store frames from year to year so if I do need to feed I can use the frames and not sugar water).

  2. Very few drones, unless they were out of the hive at the time. Negligible drone comb (didn’t notice any areas of significance at least but I’ll need to go back through photos to be certain)

  3. Hive is otherwise healthy. Brood box is still bursting. Brood in all stages. Based on a dearth I’d posit the rate of egg laying is slower when comparing this time this year to last year. First couple of frames I couldn’t spot eggs but I’m the middle of the hive I did.

  4. Again, didn’t find the Queen but not too fussed as everything otherwise looks healthy and fine. Hive was actually cleaner than the last time I’d say, judging by the bottom board.

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Thanks @SnowflakeHoney always interesting to hear what is going on locally.

@AdamMaskew here is a pic of my current long lang plus the bearding at the end of a ~40c day

Cover at the top is poly the bottom board is poly with marine ply. Side walls are 3cm pine. 2 hives separated by follower board with a shared flow super.

Detachable robbing screen and better landing board will be made in the next few months.

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@Whitedog Karen thanks for showing another photo and the explanation. How is the two colony use of the flow super going?
How many frames in each half of the bottom? What is the story behind the bricks at each active entrance?

Sorry lots of questions, I’m always interested in understanding why people do the things they do, particularly in the LL format.

Adam

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The shared super is going great. Haven’t seen any fighting.

Did a walk away split recently one side is now queenless. Will find out this weekend (if there is no fire ban in place) if they have started any queen cells. I have heard a possible downside of this arrangement is if one side goes queenless they may not requeen as they still get pheromones from the shared super. Will be interesting to find out.

Each hive has 20 frames available to them, 40 in total for the whole box but follower boards can be used. The middle two entrances are currently blocked.

The bricks are a temporary landing board. Without it some bees were coming back heavy and not making the entrance then hitting the ground. If the ground was wet it took them a while to get back up.

Here is a photo of the original landing board that it had. My clever husband made it but the paint has already faded and it needs to be remarked. Can anyone guess what we do for work/hobby ? :smiley:

I personally love the horizontal hive format, so much easier to inspect.

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Thanks for the further details and photos. I like the long format to.

Let us know how you go with the inspection and queen replacement.

Are you flying Uber drivers?