Hi to everyone who has given me amazing advice in my first 6 months.
We finally have a harvest!
The hive weight went up really fast in spring and then flat lined for 3 months.
Apparently Sydney is having the worst season in almost 20 years, but after 6 months the super is almost full and we thought we’d rob one frame that was fully capped.
Was really easy for our first time. Got a few drops of honey under the hive, but not too much. Cracked the frame in 3 parts rather than all at once.
Honey tastes great, and hopefully the Paperbarks that are in full boom at the moment will mean more soon.
Thanks again for all your great advice.
Hi to everyone who has given me amazing advice in my first 6 months.
It’s a beautiful sight. Congratulations.
Great to read you update and the pics Ron. Bet you’ve got a smile on you face ear to ear. It has been hard on bees all over Australia with the drought and hot Summer. Mid Nov till mid March all of my hives where struggling big time for nectar, lot of flowers but no nectar in them.
But that’s bee keeping, allway something go on to keep us guessing.
Wow, that’s a late reply Pete.
We’ve since pulled out about 16 litres.
It never gets old. Exciting every time!
Last week the weight shot up about 8kg in 4 days so we’re going to take advantage of a 23 degree day in Sunday to have a look in the super.
Since it’s so warm should we look in the brood box too, or leave them alone?
Doing a swarm course in a few weeks. Really want to avoid a swarm and keep our very successful and placid queen. It’s my 1st swarm season so a little nervous.
I would advise not going down into the brood box till you have done the course on swarming and then have all the gear needed to do a split. The course on swarming should give you all the info you will need to do a split. There are various method on doing a split but the end result is that you have about 2 equal hives and you can introduce a bought queen or let the queenless hive select an egg to make it’s own.
If your bees have a good calmness about them then I would have them make their own queen as she should have some of the genetics of the mother queen. As a virgin queen doesn’t mate with a drone from her hive there is always the possible that she could produce ‘nasties’ but that can happen in any situation. A nastie queen can always bee terminated in that case and another queen made from the brood.
A Spring split recovers quickly to make a strong hive and is a very saleable item on GumTree, most of my splits are presold.
@Rodderick might be able to give a time frame as regards when to look at swarm management/splits on the Sydney beaches. A bit far back for my memory.
I somewhat disagree with @Peter48. If it is nice and warm, I would look in the brood box too. Better to learn and have information, even if you haven’t done the course. You can always take photos and ask us, or show them to somebody at the course later.
@RonM Sydney is still too cold for inspections Dawn, so for that reason I advised not to do an inspection till there is warmer weather. 19 max in Sydney today and down to 9.
Erm… Not that cold apparently Pete.
Just going on BoM stats Skegg’s and if they are right I think it would be wise to put off a brood inspection, but maybe I’m too cautious.
We’ve got 22 degrees here on Sunday and the location of the hive is a bit of a sun trap so could be a couple more than that.
I did say:
Nice and warm means 21C+ to me.
Apparently @RonM agrees, because before I made that comment, he wrote:
22C is ok if there is little breeze about, looking for an update after you have done it Ron, Take your time and it will go well. Cheers
So at what temp would you not do a brood inspection Dawn? Sydney temp have been under 20 for a few days but as Ron says, it has been on the improve.
I have answered this before, several times. You won’t like the answer though. It depends…
It depends on what? Glad you asked! Many things, such as:
- How important is the inspection? If swarms are likely in preparation (they start here in mid to late January), that is important. If the hive might be low on food, that is important. Most other stuff can wait.
- How experienced and speedy is the beekeeper? If they are very experienced, I think they can get away with inspections in colder weather than somebody who takes an hour to go through the box.
- Regardless of temperature, how good is the weather? If sunny and no to very little wind, bees are usually fine in lower temperatures.
- How do you do the inspection? If you rest frames on the ground outside the hive, cold weather is bad. If you transfer them to a waiting empty box, and cover them with a tea towel as you go (like I do), they lose much less heat and can be inspected carefully in cooler weather.
So how cold is too cold? Well, I have inspected bees in temperatures down to 15C. That doesn’t mean I recommend everyone to do that. However, if I do that, I always have a very important question in mind, I do it quickly, putting inspected frames into a covered box and I always wait for a really nice (sunny and no wind) day.
As you know, chalkbrood most commonly results from chilled brood. That is a danger of doing cold weather inspections. However, I personally have not seen any chalkbrood in my hives for many years, even using this colder weather inspection method.
Just my opinion and experience.
So as you have read Ron is in his first year of bee keeping and not experienced in inspecting a brood box and so I advised he hold of till he does the course in 2 weeks time and he will be move confident and aware of what to do and look for. In the middle of Winter in Sydney swarming is definitely not an issue. Swarming was only an issue from September onwards, so for those reasons I will stand by my advice. At this time of year in Sydney I don’t see any gain and an inspection could turn sour considering Ron’s experience so far in bee keeping. As you would know the “August Westerlies” are there now and so very cold winds off the mountains so chill factor should be considered.
But each to their own ways.
I still say it would be fine if the day is 23C, and probably fine if it is sunny, calm and 21C+, even for a newbie. Life has risks. I believe swarm preparations are possible even at this time in Sydney, but what do I know? Sydney’s climate is actually not the different from San Diego - I have colleagues who moved there for that reason. No further comments.
When I was living in the western suburbs of Sydney July was a great time for the bee keeper to prepare for swarming season in making new boxes, etc. Swarming there happens after the “August Westerlies” have blown out, I had 150 hives and not once had swarming issues before then. I’m a firm believer in minimizing risks in bee keeping, especially when taking risks is not necessary. But as I said, each to their own ways of bee keeping.
That’s quite a discussion for a 4 month old post.
Going to see how warm it actually is tomorrow, then make the call.
Since it’s at a record weight by about 4kg, I think the super definately needs a look to make sure it’s not honey bound.
I’ll report back tomorrow.
Look forward to hearing back Ron, but remember a frame of honey is about the same weight so don’t expect big things mate. But, hey, any result after this last Summer is a good result. Cheers.
Hi Ron, I often see folks concerned about the brood box being “honey bound”. As long as there is somewhere above the QX for the bees to store honey, never be concerned about the brood box being honey bound. If the bees want the queen to lay more eggs, they’ll quickly remove honey to make room for her to do so, then they will feed her accordingly. It’s actually the bees that control how many eggs the queen lays. Not the queen being able to lay as many eggs as she likes.
If your hive is not bursting at the seems with bees, there is no point in doing swarm prevention splits at this early stage. A good guide would be if you had the hole in the inner cover open. Ideally if you had a bee mat covering the honey super with a gap all around, when you see clusters of bees up in the roof doing nothing, then it’s time to act.
Lifting the roof once a week, would be all that’s needed at this early stage.