This is my first season beekeeping, I live in Western Sydney.
When I did an inspection today 7 frames are full of brood, honey and pollen, 8 th frame 3/4 capped honey, 1/4 uncapped honey.I put the super on around 4 weeks ago and they are starting to put nectar in.
Should I do a split as I’m assuming the queen will need more space?
Did you see any queen cells?
You either do a split to preempt a swarm or to expand your number of colonies, not to give the queen more space.
You haven’t given us many pictures, but if you are not seeing real queen cells (not just play cups), I would not split at this point. Just leave the super on. I am not sure what other Sydney beekeepers do about brood vs brood and half - any ideas @Rodderick?
Personally I would not split on the basis of your photos, but I could be wrong…
No queen cells, we just live in a residential area and are not wanting a swarm, so just would like to stay on top of it. How quickly does the queen reuse cells?
Once a worker bee emerges from a cell, her first job is to thoroughly clean it. It is now ready for the queen. So theoretically, the queen could use any brood cell the same day that the brood emerges.
Double brood is often recommended in Sydney due to the ability to mitigate swarming particularly while you gain more experience.
I would only consider running a 10 frame single brood box at a minimum in Sydney.
So then I would not split, I would add a second brood box. Just my humble opinion…
And look into checker-boarding some frames too, it should be warm enough to not do any harm.
My only concern would be giving them too much space with another brood box and the super on due to SHB.
Where in Sydney are you and do you get many beetles?
We still have plenty of room in the super, the bees have just been in for the last week. I just felt it was looking crowded in brood box
Well my personal view is that in Sydney you need at least a 10 frame brood box to be able to cope with swarming and wintering.
An 8 frame box has 20% less space for the queen to lay so if it was me I’d be going double brood boxes.
Also I don’t have a flow hive but I’m not sure if those frames look correctly aligned in that pic?
Thanks for the info, it’s just the angle of the photo on the flow frame it’s definitely closed.
I do have a second brood box that I’m getting ready in case we need it
Looks like you have a strong colony there. If you are worried about space, remove the honey bound frame and replace with a fresh frame - give the bees something to occupy their time so they don’t think about swarming. The girls are working the flow frame nicely.
Yes, I was wondering whether to do that, sounds like a good plan. Thanks
Sydney is easy to keep bees, it seems no matter how much effort I put into preventing swarming, a small number of hives “swarm”… its a tricky one.
Lots of great advice to go with. Be careful not to deplete your bee numbers, thats when the beetle takes hold and a total slime out is very disheartening. At this time of the year I do like to remove or move any honey/pollen frames up into the super or into an extractor. Insert a fresh foundation and those newly hatched young bees will just go to town producing lots of wax comb which is what they are just itching to do. I strongly believe that if there are too many very young bees, then they will swarm.
Thanks, I don’t have an extractor as just have the flow hive. So if I was to remove the frame that is totally honey I’m not sure how I could extract.
If it’s capped, it will keep, you could save it for the bees at a later date when the flow drops, or you could crush and strain, or decap with a fork and let it drip out with gravity and catch the liquid gold… ,or find somebody with extractor… so many options
Thanks, I think I will give it a go.
Are you using wired frames and foundation?
Unwired frames in an extractor won’t end well.
I lived in the Hawkesbury at Richmond so a lot colder in Winter compared to Sydney and so a double brood hive was the way to go there but in Sydney if you can run a single brood hive, especially as a beginner, I would advise that as the best option. A queen will only lay when there are cells available for her. From what your pics are showing it all looks good with room for the colony to expand further. It is the colony that controls the queen in the laying of eggs depending on space for her to lay eggs, incoming nectar and pollen and climate.
Spring is normally when a colony can swarm and I prefer to do a split then if needed or you want to increase the number of hives. Spring is also the right time to cycle out older brood frames as the cells size reduces with use by the cocoons that remain in the cell.
No, they are plastic frames. That’s what was on when we purchased them