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Sydney's Over Anxious Newby?


#1

Menai in Sydney Australia. Have recently installed 2 flow hives. Early November got a Nuc comprising 3 frames, 2 with about 1/2 comb & the other 1/4. Whilst the bees are happy doing their business only a slight amount of extra comb has been added & if the population has increase it’s not by much. There is a slight infestation of small beetle. Haven’t seen the queen but as I understand it if she wasn’t there they would have gone with her or create another one.

Can anyone advise if I’m just being to impatient or what I should do. If someone in my area with experience was able to check out the hive id be very grateful.


#2

Hi Will, with only 3 frames of bees, the increase WILL be slow. I would advise using a follower board so that you can move it across as the population increases. Make sure you keep the sbb clear of debris so that beetles can’t lay eggs in it.


#3

Can anyone advise if I’m just being to impatient or what I should do.

Just a little impatient, Jeff is right, keep an eye on the beetle, open them up once a week on a warm day and squash any beetle. Watch their stores and feed with 1:1 sugar solution if there is not much nectar coming in.


#4

I started a hive this spring from a three frame split I made from another larger hive. The bees had to make a new queen, she had to fly off and get mated, and then she had to start laying eggs and the colony had to build up. It was a slow process: it took several months for the bees to get anywhere. However everything went according to plan: they made a new queen, she got mated, she started to lay. After a few months I added a second 5 frame box to the one frame box I had- even then it took the bees a while to move into the second box. Now 4 months later- the hive is booming- the population if high and they are storing a lot of honey. The queen has a good laying pattern- and she comes from good productive stock- I have every confidence that I will have a great hive going forward.

So things went well for me. But- by the sounds of your hive there may be some issues. I think it’s important you watch videos on youtube, read articles, and generally educate yourself about what is happening with your colony. It is important at this stage that you do an inspection and confirm that you have a good laying queen: are there eggs, larvae and capped brood? Are the beetles taking over? Is the colony shrinking or expanding? It’s only by knowing these things you can be sure things are on track- and you will know if there is some action required on your behalf. If there are no eggs and larvae: you have a problem and your colony will decline and die out. If there are eggs, larvae and brood- and new comb being built: then chances are the bees are on track= they just need a little time to reach a critical mass where their population will explode and they will have a workforce capable of storing excess honey.


#5

You’re more patient than me, I installed a 5 frame nuc 2 weeks ago, no new comb built although I can see a slight increase in numbers. Didn’t spot the queen when I inspected Saturday although I did have capped brood and larva so know she is in there and laying. Being impatient I pulled the 3 empty frames with wooden starters that come with the flow hive and replaced them with wax foundation frames I made up. I was feeding but it was attracting ants so have stopped as we have a good flow. I did get to see a bee emerging from a cell when I inspected Saturday so hoping the increase in numbers, along with a good flow might mean the wax foundation frames are the encouragement they need to start building.

For comparison I picked up 2 more hives a week ago (7 drawn frames) in 6 days one of these had built a full frame of comb, filled nearly 50% of the space above the frames with burr comb and had filled around 50% of the new comb with honey.

Any advice I give comes with a whole 2 weeks experience.
Do you have a good flow on? if not feed.
Do what you can to eliminate the SHB, if the bees are spending time defending what they have from beetles it is less time for them to build and I am guessing they would be reluctant to build more comb if they are struggling to defend what they already have.
Can you pick up a frame or two of brood from anywhere? It would increase number quickly, giving you more bees to work, more room for you queen to lay and should see things start moving a bit faster.
How often are you inspecting? I know being new and keen I have to resist the temptation to open the hive and am limiting myself to once a week to check their progress. I’m not sure how long it takes them to settle back into their normal routine after a inspection but every time the hive is opened has to set them back slightly and with a small new hive this may have a big impact.


#6

Common wisdom is 3 days, but I am not sure there is any science behind that. :blush: