Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

When a New Beekeeper Loses Interest



I don’t ask for any money over the phone if I remove a swarm, unless it’s a business that wants them removed in a hurry.

If people ask me if I need payment after I catch the swarm & I didn’t mention payment over the phone, I just tell them no, otherwise I would have mentioned it before I came.

The expensive yard, manicured cottage garden etc. describes the bloke I’m talking about.

Swarms might be a bit fewer & far between. A young bloke who picked up a colony from me is trying to catch one. He reckons he’s always too late because as soon as they show up on facebook, they’re picked up in no time & he misses out. Also there are blokes advertising free bee removals on Gumtree. I’m only getting a fraction of inquiries about swarms etc., compared to a few years ago. That suits me, I’m just sitting down, relaxing a bit right now, knowing that for the time being I’m virtually caught up.


yep- here there are adds on gumtree here where it is for free. It’s funny last year one swarm catcher rang all the others, me included, and suggested that we all start charging a minimum of $50. He said the ones that do it for free are letting the entire team down. Most people agreed- I agreed in principle but retained my right to do it for free on a case by case basis. In some cases- if people are obviously poor or if the bees will suffer if they are not collected- then i would rather do it for free.

the swarm I caught the other day required two round trips of 40 km- and maybe 4 hours of my time. I can’t really afford to do that type of this too often for free.


Like you say Jack, it’s on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes I think, after I finish, “why didn’t I ask for a fee over the phone”. There are always lessons learnt.

In the case of the bees I removed out of the cable drum for Energex, I didn’t ask for a fee over the phone. Later on the bloke gave me the chance to present them with a bill. A declined the offer because I didn’t mention a fee at the start, plus they could have easily killed the bees, which would have been easier for them. They cared enough about the bees to save them, it was only fair that I didn’t charge a fee.

That was also a valuable learning experience for me. It’s hard to put a price on something like that.


15 days later, still no call. Every so often I say to Wilma “we still haven’t heard from you know who”.

His split has been a useful convenient feeder hive. I have to let it recover for a while now. It’s been VERY convenient.


It’s like collecting interest. Only fair enough as you are the ‘bee bank’.


It’s been another 16 days but still no call. I heard from his brother however, who also owns a flow hive. He got me to inspect it because it swarmed for the third time but this time didn’t recover. I found no queen but enough bees to cater for 2 frames of brood. I sold him 2 frames of brood. Guess where those 2 frames of brood came from.


“The Lord giveth” I think is how it goes Jeff.:grinning:


Yes I agree Pete. I have a bloke meeting me to grab 2 frames of brood in the morning. I’m tempted, If I can, I will.

PS, I finished up taking one out of it & one from another colony. I found one colony with chalk brood issues, I didn’t take one out of it. I’ll give the banana trick a try. I’ll put a small cut banana above the hive mat. Then see what’s happened after a week.


Since Oct 3, still no call to see how his brood box is going or to tell me where he wants to put it when I bring it back.

I had to go back to his brother’s hive with 2 more frames of brood. His brother told me that his honey super was full but apparently he didn’t have time to harvest the honey.

In the mean time I put his colony in one of my boxes to use myself. I brought his stuff home to put in storage.

His brother is going to contact me after Christmas to get me to see if the second attempt at making a queen was successful.


Just an update on the brother who was going to contact me after Christmas to see if his bees made a new queen after I added 2 more frames of brood. Not a word until late last week (6 weeks after Christmas).

Not many bees coming & going was the reason for the call. This time I suspected a laying worker, for sure. So I took an 8 frame brood box full of bees, including a new queen. Then swapped the brood boxes over before bringing his brood box home. As suspected, a laying worker with not many bees. I quickly found a full frame of emerging bees to add.

It’s only about 5 days since I added that frame of sealed brood. An inspection today revealed that frame nearly empty of brood with a healthier looking population. Immediately I found another full frame of emerging bees plus a second frame 1/2 full of brood to add.

In a weeks time, with a lot healthier population, I’ll repeat the process I did with the thread I started “Laying Worker Success”.

PS. Not one word from the first brother. Apparently his hive is doing well with lots of bees coming & going. No doubt I’ll hear from him if that changes or if he notices bearding.


6 days after posting the previous message, the first brother phoned us. He has massive bearding. He offered me to come & collect them.

As it turned out, he didn’t lose interest, he merely forgot about the split I did for him in his new brood box, which was going to be his second hive. He completely forgot that he was going to order a 7 frame flow super to put on top.

Anyway, after negotiations, I agreed to do the split & take the free bees first thing in the morning.


“First thing in the morning” was a few hours ago. The beard was HUGE, large clusters under the roof gable.

As it turned out, the owner harvested the flow frames just a few days ago. The beard was nothing to do with over crowding. It was everything to do with the early stages of a slime out. I think the bees were getting ready to abscond.

Nothing was evident until after I removed the QX. It had 2 gaping holes, one each side where it cracked & opened up. I pointed this out to the owner. I had removed the flow super without removing any frames, as they were empty.

After removing the QX, wet slime was apparent. Removing the brood frames revealed a definite slime situation. No SHB larvae yet.

As it turned out, coincidentally I had an 8 frame brood box full of new frames plus a spare 8 frame box.

2 full frames of honey were clean. Also 2 brood frames were relatively clean, however with not much worker brood. We harvested the clean honey & placed the 2 clean brood frames in my box, flanked with new comb. As an afterthought, I went home & grabbed a full frame of brood in all staged, put that in the middle of the top empty box, flanked by the remaining two new frames.

We took a few photos:


You can clearly see little clusters of pure white SHB eggs in the bottom photo as well as the 4th photo down.

You can see brood in one of the flow frame photos. The 3rd photo down.

In the second photo, you can see evidence of previous SHB larvae activity where the bees ignored that area & filled & capped the rest.

Hopefully all the bees will go inside, with a happy ending. cheers


Wow, there’s a lot of education in this. Thanks @JeffH.
In the second photo, I think we again have a scenario where the frames weren’t closed properly up to the end.
It can easily happen. One of our community gardens flowhive beekeepers didn’t stick in the key right to the end in a couple of frames. Might even have created a SHB attack, not sure.
I use 2 flow keys to open/close the frames and noticed that sometimes one key doesn’t go in the whole way, but then it gets through because I moved the other key.
There’s a bit of inaccuracy there. One just needs to double ensure that the key goes right to the end.

Your photos really point out what SHB infestation looks like.


You’re welcome Weber. This fellow has the flow frames to clean up now. I told him not to use the dishwasher, after what I read here the other day.


Did he harvest beetle slime with the honey? :nauseated_face:


Hi Ed, no I don’t think that would be possible. The slime happened after the honey harvest. At first I thought that it was 100% caused by honey flooding over the brood & bees, causing the bees to get preoccupied with cleaning honey off themselves to stop the beetles from running amuck.

It wasn’t until after we sorted out the brood box that we pulled the flow frames out & saw the damaged brood in them, as well as the slime that I realized it wasn’t flooding alone that caused the slime out.

I’d say the queen got up through the gaps that opened up in the QX & laid eggs in the flow frames.

The only addition to the honey would possibly be liquid from the squashed brood.

I brought the 4 slimed brood frames home to clean out. I got Wilma to photograph them, then I took her back (only 2 minutes away) to photograph the brood frames that were sitting on a table under a tree. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t photograph the gaps in the QX, which I told the owner to put in the bin.

It wasn’t until we started photographing that we saw the clusters of beetle eggs. It would have been a whole lot messier, had they hatched & started feeding.


I hope you took her for a nice meal after all of that messy destruction! Wilma is a true heroine. :blush:


Hey Jeff, I could kick you too for not taking a pic of the QX :rofl: Is it a plastic QX that had become brittle and a piece had brolen out? :thinking:
I moved all my hives 60 meters on last Monday night successfully, both the old site and the new one were in line of sight of each other. I put a box of frames at the old site and about 1000 bees spent Tuesday night in it and I have merged them with a weaker hive using the newspaper method. Wednesday evening there were no bees at the old site. So I would have to say the bees in ten hives re-orientated well to the new location.
Cheers mate


Hi Dawn, she IS a true heroine.

I just wish she was with me while I did the job with the bloke. She would have found it hard to keep a straight face during the 15-20 times the bloke pointed to a drone, asking me if that’s the queen. We didn’t actually spot the queen.

While I was trying to rescue his colony, all he was focused on was his next honey harvest. However after we inspected the flow frames, he may have come to the realization that will be a little while coming.

Hi @Peter48. It cracked, one on each side & for some reason the gaps opened wider making the queen excluder gaps bigger at the same time. I’ve been trying to work out how long the bloke had the hive. It must be just over 2 years. I’m still using wire QXs I bought 30 years ago.


yep- plastic queen excluders are way more trouble than any saving you make over buying a metal one. Not only do they start to crack and degrade at the edges after just a year- they also warp- so when you go to put one back down- the edges can buckle- allowing bees to crawl under them- only to be squashed when you replace the top box. When you use your hive tool to break the propolis seal- that can cause the QX to start cracking. I bought metal QX’s to replace all my plastic ones six months after starting my first hive…