The power of a strong hive

A few days ago I posted about our season turning nasty (Season turned bad). Following on from that I noticed one of my strongest hives appearing to be going down. Well that was a mistake, talk about grumpy! I had played with a queen excluder on my two strongest hives and they did not like them. They just backfilled the brood with honey. Each hive has a FULL super of honey and a backfilled brood box so the super is now on top and the brood box has been honeycombed so they have room. Looks like I will be harvesting next weekend.

The difference between the weak split needing feeding and these two brutes is amazing. Keep your hives strong!



Hey Rob, I’m not sure what you are saying about you were playing with the QX? When I build a colony beyond a single brood box I fit a QX and a super and the QX stays there. I have found sometimes the bees don’t seem to pass through it as soon as other times but once they get used to the idea there isn’t a problem.
I guess that they are reducing brood area which is now being used for honey stores and it being the right sort of weather for the bees to want to increase the colony size that might make them a tad grumpy.
I didn’t have any problems with my bees as a result of the smoke and bush fires up here. Saw on the news you have them not around Warragamba so you take care.


I have tried using a QX many times and each time tge same result. I don’t mind if the queen lays in the super, I crush and strain anyway so some cocoons don’t matter. Backfilling the brood box surely bothers me much more.

The fires are up at Katoomba, around Warragamba and north of the Bells Line so the mid mountains are OK till some idiot with a match gets an idea.


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Crush and strain if fine if it works for you, I get some frames of ‘Jelly Bush’ honey and crush and strain is the only way to get the honey out for me, even if it takes forever to strain.
There is good ABC news service up here and so many area I know really well are doing it tough. So many fires and so extreme before the ‘normal’ bush fire period is a real worry. Careless people, or worse, are the major cause for them.
Cheers Rob.

that and downed power lines. And bits of glass. And lightning, and exhaust pipes on grass… and bbq’s. The problem we face going forward is their will always be a spark- if there is tinder dry trees, grass, hot dry winds… I am so angry right now with the response form Morrison and Co. Burying our collective heads in the sand is criminal negligence if you ask me. People are literally dying.

and back to topic: yes strong hives overcome all. The last year I have combined more hives than ever before. Much better to have one strong hive than two weak ones. I also condense weaker hives down to nucs till they build up again if applicable.

I have just been reading a book by US beek Ormond Abei (who had the guiness world record for most honey from a single hive in a season). He would build up single brood colonies with up to 5 supers on them- that he says had as many as 250,000 bees in them! Remarkable. The way he manipulated the boxes and combs to achieve these huge populations in time for the spring flow is really interesting.


I would have to wonder how many brood boxes were involved in that hive to have 250 thousand bees Jack. Does he say? I also wonder if his hive is say 6 brood boxes high if it would produce 6 times the honey in a single season, or if it is more about ‘bragging right’ to have a record with his name on it? What are your thoughts?
I run just a single brood box under a QX then a single super and take frames as they are capped to make life easy for me. My apiary is just 3 K’s from home and my extracting is done at home. My Flow Hives are extracted in-situ.
I found out this morning that my son-in-law was admitted to Lyell McEwan Hospital and has had two heart attacks so very likely I’ll be heading to Adelaide on very short notice when things are organized, maybe meet up and swap notes while I’m there, so PM me a phone number if you want to arrange it.

Peter- single brood only. And this was verified by the Guinness Book of World records. Aebi (I spelt it wrong above) and his son were great beekeepers, loved bees and wanted the record for fun is my guess. Certainly would have helped sell books too. Though they hold the record others have exceeded it- notable in Western Australia in the 1950’s. Before we knocked a lot of the forests- fools that we are.

Reading how they managed 5 supers on a single brood is interesting and the methods is similar to what this forums own @Doug1 from canada achieves in his short season with 5 flow supers on a single brood box… !! Though he uses two queen hives. Complex stuff.

Make that two. And the other mob have just taken another step back today if you read the papers. I’m furious really.

The guy running the country thinks the bible is a science book.

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Wow, My formula must be wrong, I work that at 5952 eggs a day if they are living for 6 weeks. Someone tell me I’m wrong. That would be a great queen to breed from. I bet @JeffH has a better calculator and formula.
I’m near brain dead, I did an extraction of a Flow Hive this morning and the cell closest to the end window had a very visual honey leak from the top of the frame. My first leak in a few years. I removed the cor-flute and placed it under the hive and the bees had a party.
i thought I had the extracting down to an art form and really disappointed now. I guess the cappings at least down the end segment tore open rather than flexed. Lucky I guess that I saw the honey flow down and it didn’t happen over brood.

Maybe not that far off… Dzierzon says a queen can lay 3,000 eggs a day at the peak of the buildup.

3000 eggs a day seems to be the common number given as the maximum a queen can lay but a few short of twice as many, well it does make me wonder how/if the count was done accurately. That averages at an egg being laid constantly every 4 seconds. AMAZING isn’t it.

Every 28.8 seconds, if she lays day and night.

I goofed up, I didn’t divide often enough, that I guess is doable even if a little eye watering for the queen.
Cheers mate

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but your maths assume all the bees only live for an average of six weeks. In reality bees can live for 3 months or more I think?

also I am not sure exactly how Aebi achieved that number of bees- I haven’t read enough of the book yet. It may be that they added frames of brood- or combined hives- or used double queen hives. @Doug1 achieves very large hives with 5 supers with a single brood but he uses some interesting combination methods to merge two hives into one just in time for the spring flow.

Yes, bee can live longer than the accepted 6 weeks, in winter I have read of bees living for 5 months. But in our climates where bees can forage constantly 6 weeks seems to be the ‘normal’.