Silly question but

2nd year beek here, with all this rain on the Sunny Coast at the moment I was wondering what the foragers get up to when they can’t forage? Thanks for any thoughts.

G’day Nat, presently my bees at Buderim are foraging on neighborhood clover, whenever the rain reduces to a drizzle. I have the best looking patch of clover on the verge in the whole district, & I’m not mowing it :slight_smile:

Yeah, just make sure your bees have ample food supplies, cheers

PS, sorry I misread the question. They keep busy inside the hive carrying out hive duties.

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Thanks Jeff!
I’m the girl you sold a frame of brood to a couple of months back. I gave you the pickles that Wilma loved haha.
I’ve since realised the absolute importance of having more than 1 hive, my sister had a swarm arrive so I’ve happily hived them, plus another 2. They’re building up slowly and my main hive that you gave the brood to is pumping and able to supply emerging brood to 2 of my swarms to build them a little.
Thanks again for all your advice, both when I saw you personally and on this forum!

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Hi Nat, great to hear from you, you’re most welcome & I’m pleased that your bees are powering along. What do you make of all this rain? Perfect weather for baking bread, lucky I have freezer space.

Cheers for now.

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The bees won’t fly in the rain, they stay in the hive and do ‘home duties’ like capping honey, comb building and so on. Bees seem to get a bit angsty if there is nothing for them to do.
I just noticed you are nearby so if you want to compare notes or a look at what I do let me know.
Rain forecasted for the next 14 days except 1. Had more than 160mm (4 inches) in the last 24 hours.

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@Mrsmcnic @JeffH a ‘silly question but’ how long can you keep a frame of brood to transport to another hive some distance away, how do you transport it? with nurse bees, in a nuc , wrapped up in paper?

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When Jeff gave me a frame of brood he shook all bees off it, I wrapped it gently in a towel and drove straight home. I imagine it was out of a hive for probably 40 mins. I’m absolutely no expert but I think a frame of brood can be out of a hive for an hour, possibly slightly longer, depending on weather of course. We’re a subtropical environment so we may have more time than others. Hope this helps.

Sounds wonderful Peter! Would absolutely love to watch you split a hive if you have any future plans. I read and read and watch and read some more but the thought terrifies me haha. I’m scared of stuffing it up.

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Thanks Nat @Mrsmcnic asking as I had a hive swarm and caught it and took to my sons house about 6km away but did not include any brood from parent hive and it absconded two days later. As I have not transported brood frames before I was curious.


Loving the rain Jeff! Our empty garden tank is almost 3/4 full. Crazy!
My swarms have been slow to build comb so yours and Peter’s answer was exactly what I was hoping to hear. I hope they’re in there working on it. I gave both swarms a frame of emerging brood to help them along, they were only little swarms.

Hi Nat, it’s just light drizzle outside now. Your ground tank must be a monster to be 3/4 full, although you posted 10 hrs ago, it could be full by now.

It’s incredible the difference that just one full frame with emerging brood makes to a weak colony. It can make the difference between the colony dying out or surviving.

The rain’s getting harder. Real bread baking weather, I’m caught up with making frames.

I’ll ttyl, cheers

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I will be doing more splits when the rain stops and gets back to better temps. A newbee spent a few hours with me last Monday who is buying 2 hives from me and she had never seen into a hive so it was as much for me to ascertain she was capable of caring for her bees with back up support from me, so I’m an open book to someone wanting hands on learning one on one.
Rain is forecasted for the next 2 weeks.

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was it a very big swarm (larger than an Aussie rules football?) and did you put it in a 5 frame box?

I have only had one swarm abscond on me- it was larger than normal- and I put it in a five frame box. they simply couldn’t fit and left immediately. I then re-caught them and put them in a 10 frame box- and they left the next morning. there was no pleasing them. That swarm was HUGE- double the standard large swarm size. I have never used a frame of brood in a swarm yet- I often smear a tablespoon of honey on the top bars to give them a little feed- and that’s it. Within just a few days they are bringing in pollen and building comb like crazy.

as your swarm was from your hive and was the primary swarm- I am guessing it was pretty big? there seems to be a real flow on at Semaphore- mums hive is packing in the honey and the brood box is bursting with bees and capped brood and eggs on every frame wall to wall.

Hi there!
First swarm (none of these were from my hive) was pretty much the exact size of a footy. Very easy hived as they were hanging on a sail shade over a pool. Straight into an 8 frame deep. Queen is there, laying and happy. I added a frame of nectar and pollen, she began laying quickly but haven’t built comb as fast as I would have expected. It’s been about 6 weeks and only 2 other frames are drawn on one side only. I’ve since added a full frame of emerging brood.
2nd swarm was very strange. They were on the wall of a house, 2 stories up. Managed to brush the bulk into another 8 frame deep, but many left and went back to the house. I assumed I’d missed the queen. Tried again once settled, same issue. But when I checked the hive later in the day, there was a decent cluster in the hive, but many still on the house. I ended up vacuuming them with a elcheapo Kmart dustbuster (useless as a vacuum but perfect for bees. No deaths). However same issue, bees flying back to house. In the end, there were about a dozen left on house and I was assuming the queen was in the wall (they kept sneaking out from behind the metal corner strip) however when I got them home and opened them the next day to give a frame of nectar/pollen, there she was in all her glory. Again, she began laying immediately but have moved as slowly as the other in regards to building comb. They too have been given emerging brood now.
My recent swarm has a queen and had half built out on a frame of foundation by the next morning after hiving, but haven’t been able to open them again in all this wet weather. Was going to give them some open brood but the weather has kept them in.
I love Jeffs idea of offering a frame of open brood to an unshakeable swarm, like my house wall swarm. I’d definitely try that next time.
My main hive that swarmed 3 months ago is absolutely pumping. 2 almost full brood boxes so it was good to be able to slow it slightly by giving brood to those who needed it.

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Hi Jack @Semaphore
Yes a large swarm, but being my first I have nothing to compare it too.
I placed it in an 8 frame deep .

Funny thing, today I was at my son’s house fixing his verandah and a drone landed next to me , I picked it up and asked him where his mum and sisters had gone to.

Hi Nat @Mrsmcnic congrats on your successful hiving of swarms, the hive my swarm issued from is still very strong plenty of capped brood, I will miss Queen Stevie, she was a good one.