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What is happening with honey collection on n Adelaide


Fellow Beeks, I am new to bee keeping and do not seem to be seeing a great deal of honey storage space n my flow super. Could bee because I am impatient, could bee that the season ( weather) is a bit higgle de piggly, It would never bee because I am a bad beek! Has anybody any advice on Adelaide and whether nectar is flowing?


Hi Jeff

Would appreciate some details about your hive

Was the brood box about 85% full of capped brood before you added the FH?


I would think about 60 - 70% . The bees have moved up into flow once I put some syrup and wax up there ( 2 weeks ago) , they seem to be doing housekeeping and getting cells ready for filling but as yet I can not see any filled


Hey Jeff, I think your bees went upstairs to collect the food you left for them and then they took it back to the downstairs pantry. Bees are simple creatures like you and I, if there is space in the downstairs pantry why go to the trouble to put all your shopping upstairs. The brood box is not ready.


If you have a new hive they could be using their stores as they collect them. Or, as in my case, they could use most of their stores in spring for their buildup so I tend to get my biggest harvests here in autumn.



My hive is in Willunga near Adelaide. I put the flow super on Oct 8 since the brood box seemed full, at least all the comb was drawn in every frame and there were lots of bees. Hive is surrounded by hills of salvation jane so plenty of flora.

Maybe its been our lousy weather? Or maybe this is normal? I’m a new beek too so I have nothing to compare it to.


Your brood box needs to be 80% full of BROOD…not just drawn with bees clambering about the frames. Then look at putting any sort of honey super on.
The only exception to this is if you are expecting a massive flow…then you can go a little earlier


I’ve heard about the 80% rule before. Just how does one count up 80% coverage? Do you count cells? Do you weigh the frames? Do you look for 2 inches of gap per frame? Kind of a guess seems to me…


It’s a guesstimate
It can’t really be anything else
You will find that the bees put the brood in circle…ish in the middle of the frame, then there is an arc of pollen filled cells then an arc…(or sometimes just the corners) of nectar or capped honey.
When all but maybe one frame is like that, you have your 80% (presuming you have an eight frame hive)


I just wanted to add that honey flow in my experience is far more regionally specific than a whole city. I have managed hives across suburbs, and the difference in flow can be dramatic with hives that are just 10 minutes drive apart (especially if flowering gums are involved!).


Maybe it’s the nectar flow or the weather affecting it. I think more time is needed. :slight_smile:


Hey Willunga,
Do you have any honey? I am a bit like you a newby, how do you measure 80%? Anyway I figure if I do not get uptight and just go slowly slowly 70% will become 80% as weather is never any where near freezing around this time of year, and surely at least once in the last billion years bees have moved into a house that was too big for them and managed to survive
PS ( I ended up chasing honey by default, I wanted the bees for pollination until all my mates said" great I will have some honey")


Thankyou, makes sense to me, patience


I put my flow super on 3 weeks ago and the bees took to it straight away, thousands of them pretty much from day one.

Yesterday I did an inspection and looking at the rear of the super where you put the flow tubes, no sign of honey storage. I then lifted the middle flow frame and could see plenty of honey storage and a fair bit was already capped. The middle frames were all similar. So it just goes to show when you are not seeing honey through the inspection window, the bees are still working hard and there may be honey present without your knowledge.

Next time I will do the inspection wearing my spectacles (unlike yesterday) and I may see honey through the window. I’m guessing that it will take around 6 weeks work first time round b4 I can harvest, and that will make a great xmas present.


I think maybe we were only at 70.5%…:slight_smile:

Seriously, I just love watching them. The hive was surrounded by bee heaven…about 50 acres of echium xx (salvation jane)…but…2 months later and they seem to still be working on making those flow frames ‘perfect’’.

I might just have OCD bees…


Ideally you want to see this in an 8 frame brood box:

2-3 frames like this; full of capped brood:

A couple of frames like this; uncapped brood:

And a couple on either end like these; pollen, nectar and honey:

I'm a new beekeeper and my first Flow Hive. Which should I purchase a package or nuc?

This is excellent.
Can the admin make it a “sticky” i.e. bookmark it for instant referral as the question of when to put on a super is oft repeated


Many thanks, a picture tells a thousand words( especially to me!!) .
Makes it crystal clear, I would say I mucked up and put the flow super on too early. As the bees are slowly moving into super and we are in early summer, temperature is min 15 deg C at night and mid to high 20’s during day do I just leave them bee?


If you don’t have adequate numbers in the brood chamber yet you may consider removing the super, clearing it of hive beetles (if you have those there) and storing it until 7 of the 8 frames are drawn. I wouldn’t be afraid to move an empty outer frame inward a position or two but don’t break up the brood frames when doing it.


Hello there,
I am also in adelaide- so can offer my experiences. My mother has a beehive at semaphore with one 8 frame brood box that came through winter strongly. We put the flow super on very early in spring, and also made a small split from that hive. Making the split slowed it down just a little but it recovered fast and around 2 weeks ago we managed to harvest 14 KG’s of honey off of five flow frames.

Myself I have 4 beehives- all established this year- and situated at Prospect. Two are swarms, one a five frame overwintered nuc and one the split from my mums hive.

One of the swarms was very large and caught early in spring. This swarm was so big it couldn’t fit into an 8 frame brood box so the flow super was added immediately. the bees have been up in the super for over 8 weeks now- and do date they have not stored any honey at all. They have started filling in many of the cells with wax.

The 5 frame nuc was placed into an 8 frame brood box around 2 months ago and quickly filled it out completely. I added a flow hybrid super around 6 weeks ago. The bees built out the four standard combs in the hybrid super quickly and have stored some honey in them- to date they have put nothing in the flow frames- though again in the last two weeks they have started building out the flow cells with wax.

The other two hives are still building up over ten brood frames.

So: the story is - spring has been slow on the honey side- except for my Mum’s hive.

Also speaking to other established adelaide beekeepers at the bee society- the overall picture is that this spring did not see a good honey flow as may have been expected in previous years. The bee society’s hives were checked about a month ago and no excess honey stores were discovered. However there remains a good hope for a better than average late spring and summer period due to the very high rainfall in early spring- setting off a large flowering of Eucalyptus trees over the next few months. It is expected this heavier than normal flowering may actually be seen for the next few years following those very heavy rains. In my area all the jacaranda is currently in flower- and many other trees- and many gums are starting to flower as well.

Whilst I haven’t any honey to spare all my colonies continue to build up steadily- and I remain hopeful that the next few months will be productive. Today is hot- and the bees are VERY active with streams of pollen coming in. Currently my bees are all building comb quite rapidly.

EDIT: I made an afternoon hive check- and for the first time- I see droplets of honey in the Flow Frames. Just a few- but they are finally there. :wink: