I have had a Flow hive since March 2013 and I live on the Gold Coast, QLD Au. My first nuk quickly grew and within only a month or two I added my super and in only a couple of months I was (they were) producing kg’s of pure honey. Until the end of last year my hive was pumping. BUT I decide to re Queen (as advised), just after that my number of bees really dropped and I decided to take off the Super. I emptied each of the frames, then I let what was left in the frames drain for a couple of day before freezing. Then I patiently waited for my numbers to increase, which slowly they did. When the bees really increased I put the Super back on. That was in early January 2019 and still not a drop of honey in the frames. I do see bees walking on the frames but not in where they put the honey. I am wondering if anyone has had a similar problem or if anyone could offer some helpful advice on this matter.
Maree, we have our hives 200 klm’s apart but my experience of last Summer was repeated Australia wide. I didn’t get the Spring/Summer rain but instead copped record breaking temperatures. The Whole of Australia fell into a dearth, drought and heatwaves.
Mid last I was busy extracting honey which suddenly stopped. Trees, shrubs and the coastal heath was flowering but contained no nectar. For the first time in the 12 years I have had bees here all the hives actually consumed their honey stores until mid-March when we had a return of worthwhile rain and nectar.
So I went from extracting last November to checking my colonies still had stores to eat. The bee numbers reduced probably from heat stress and lack of foraging.
I’m now back to extracting from my Flow Hives and Langstroth’s with conditions returning to ‘normal’.
So I suspect what you are asking about is the same we are all getting in Australia, I’m sure your bees won’t be struggling for a water supply. I fell into the trap of seeing the bush in flower and thinking all was good, but the flowers were dry.
Lets hope for better conditions to come.
About the re-queening you did I’m sure that played no part in the reduction of honey.
Many thanks for that advice Peter. I know the brood box is looking good. Honey stores in there looking fine.
I have a friend at Narang with two Flow Hives who in March emailed me saying the he hadn’t taken honey since last October and saying that the honey was ‘disappearing’ from both the supers.
So I combined a visit to him with seeing my brother at Carrarra. So I guided him thru full inspections which he was nervous about doing. As both his queens were more than 2 years old I ‘terminated’ them for the hives to produce a new queen, but basically all was good considering the dry conditions. For the first time in his life I got him to lick a few species of flowers, no nectar or moisture at all.
I do ‘prattle on’ a bit but I prefer to over explain things rather than be vague…
Well that is nice to know that I’m not the only one having these problems. I just thought it was these new bees as they are very different in appearance to my first bees. Thanks for chatting.
Hiya mj, not all queens are the same. It may be that your colonies new queen may not be as good as your old one! Most bee supply stores, if not all, recommend requeening annually however most hobby beeks dont here in Oz. It’s just not necessary. Colonies will expand and contract they usually know what they’re doing.
A very valid point you have made, there can be a difference between queens form the same queen be supplier.
I prefer, if the colonies are what I want, then I squish the queen after two years and have the colony make a new queen. I accept the set back in numbers of bees in the hive till the new queen is laying as part of my bee keeping. Beyond 2 years with the same queen there is an increased of swarming happening. Or so I was told by commercial bee keepers.
This past year with the drought and long record breaking heat waves not being taken into account I could have suspected all my queens of running out of steam, unjustly.
Thank you for your comments, much appreciated. I have been thinking this. I wish I had not re-queened. But everyone around here seemed to say it was the right move. The season may also be responsible for the decline. The combination of the two for sure. Cheers.
I also regretted re-queening hives in the past. That was a lesson learned. I re-queened perfectly good strong colonies only to find some of them to go backwards. I did it because people said I should. I think that if a colony needs re-queening, they’ll do that themselves, via a supersedure queen.
Yes Jeff. I re-queened a perfectly good hive. They built up numbers so fast and were always strong. They did swarm over the past couple of years, so I thought I better re-Queen. But next time I will listen to my hive and not to those around me.
Comforting to hear that from someone so experienced Jeff. To me that seemed commonsense but all the same was going to requeen this spring. Wont be doing that now