Unsure of progress

Northern NSW Australia. Mid summer.
After a new queen was created my bees FINALLY started creating capped brood that is solid. Seems to be lots of honey, capped and uncapped - a little bee bread and a fair bit of larvae, so queeny seems to be humming along OK.
BUT . . Out of the 8 frames, only the ones that were installed as the initial nuc are being worked. (That’s frames 3,4,5,6 and 7). Frame 1 & 2 have no foundation (as per flow hive suggestion) and they have NO activity at all on them after 4 months. The 3rd frame on that side (A) has also done nothing, although this is combed out. (came with nuc).
Frame 8 DID get some comb building in the first 2 weeks, but has stalled! After the new queen 3 weeks ago, there WAS some build onto these bits of comb, but has again stalled.
Wondering if I should put some foundation in the empty frames to get them going?
Today 9out of frustration) I swapped frames 2 & 3 around in the hope it might encourage them to start building.
It is my understanding that I shouldn’t put the super on until the bottom box is full!
Maybe not! Perhaps I should put the super on now to see if they would like to get cracking up there?
Appreciate some advice - Cheers. - see comparison pic for last 5 weeks.
Woops can’t seem to add pic. :-

1 Like

I might try feeding them. I know that it is counterintuitive in summer, when lots of things may be flowering. However, we have to remember that if the summer is quite dry, the plants will save their water and not produce much nectar, even if they still make flowers to get pollinated. In a way, they are “cheating” the bees into pollinating them with no wages! Such is life.

Worst case from feeding is that they don’t take it. If you give them sugar syrup and they do take it, they can then use that energy to make and shape wax


1 Like

Thank you.
Although I DID try that over December and a bit of January. They were happy to take the feed, but there was no change in the ‘build’ !

They created a new queen after that. The brood pattern got much better, lots of larvae - heaps of honey, capped and uncapped but Lo! still no build!

I would suggest trying it again now, but I would definitely not put the super on. With the brood box less than 80% full, they don’t have the bees to heat, defend and use it. It will just stress them, and potentially lay them open to pests :astonished:

The other thing that you could try is putting some wax foundation in the outer frames. That can help to encourage them to get started further out from the brood. :wink:

Yes, I think that may be my next step. Put some foundation in to get them going.
Cheers, thanks for the response.

1 Like

Hi Lindy, it’s great that you have a new queen that is laying well. All that is required now is patience.

Sometimes we want the bees to do more than the available workers can cope with. If we want a colony to do more than what the number of workers can achieve to suit our time frame, the best thing we can do is increase the worker numbers by donating a lot of nurse bees, or adding a solid frame of sealed & emerging brood from another hive.

I used to do exactly what you did to try to encourage the bees to expand. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was too impatient, so therefore I stopped doing it. I would reverse what you did, & keep the brood together.

1 Like

Thank you. Appreciate the feedback.

1 Like

You’re welcome Lindy. I forgot to mention foundation. Definitely fit foundation to those empty frames. It would be good to get someone to help you with that, on account that poorly fitted foundation can be just as bad as no foundation. However my main message is bee numbers, especially after a decent brood break.

Thanks Jeff. Looks like i mmight get some foundation and see how i go.

1 Like

It sounds a bit like they a trying to sustain their current size, they wont want to build more wax if it means consuming resources that they would use for feeding brood. You can make some good observation of this during an inspection, you need a keen eye maybe even a magnifying glass, but you can check just how much food the larvae are swimming in, if they are floating in a lot of white liquid then the bees are being quite generous with feeding as nectar is coming in, if the larvae has only a shimmer of liquid in the cells then they might be struggling to find nectar to replenish their reserves. Consider also that adding foundation, results in the colony needing to navigate this surface area to monitor for pests in the space, if they are struggling it might be an extra task they don’t need at this stage, but 4 months is such a long time so it might be good to get them crawling over new wax to mix it up for them.

It would be great if you can upload a picture,

the upload button is this one.

Screenshot 2024-02-15 at 4.17.16 pm