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When will QueenBee slow or stop laying when heading into winter

Hi All, NewBee here.
I’m approximately 25km North of Perth, WA. We have had great sunny weather during May and night time temps now getting down to 9-6c. Generally June temps are around 21-9c and July 18-4c with some occasional frosty nights.
I have 2 flow 2 hives. Only the brood boxes have been worked with, for about 5 months now, since the nuc’s were installed.
On my last inspections, 1.5 weeks ago I found all frames 80-85% full with a mix of brood, honey and capped cells and all looks healthy.
The bees are quite active at the moment, still a lot of orientation flying every day, the wattles are just coming into flower and we still have a lot of native shrubs in flower.
I installed a super on both brood boxes 1 week ago with the flat board on top of the super (the board with the round hole in the middle) I don’t intend to harvest any honey before winter.
I am hoping to boost the bee population in both hives, ready for the next Spring Flow.
All this is some back ground info, now to the questions.

  1. I am feeding 1:1 sugar syrup to both hives and will continue this through winter, about 1 litre each per week or more if they need it.
    Will the Queen continue laying through winter and produce more brood ?

  2. What is the lowest night temp the bees can cope with before the hive gets too cold ?

  3. So far this year we are way behind our average rain fall, -83mm. We are on rain water tanks here and I probably have about just over a month water left, if we don’t get any rain. must be to do with climate change. Anyway I’m getting off topic here.
    The question is, if we continue to have below average rain fall over winter, could that set up conditions for a Dearth this coming Spring ?

Sorry for being so long winded and hope the questions make some sense.

Hi George, Are you up towards the Midland area?
Your about 10C colder than me of a night and about 5C colder of a day at present. But the ambient outside temperature is only one factor that determines how many eggs a queen is permitted to lay, I think more important is the hive brood area temperature which is controlled by the size of the brood cluster, how much honey is in the brood box, it is an insulator against the cold and the amount of stores available to maintain a health brood size as the major factors.
1.However the queen will lay some brood continually over Winter. I would change to 2 sugar to 1 water which the bees will tend to store where 1:1 is more used to boost wax production and boost egg laying.
2. Covered that earlier.
3. Last Spring the weather went very pair shaped for me, No Spring rain from August and the December wet season was cloudless skies every day. The bush flowered but there was no nectar in them so in the end of January I began feeding for the first time in at least 35 years. So the answer is a big YES, if the bush flowers, as the Australian bush does, it doesn’t equate to nectar, so you could find yourself in a dearth. For the first time in recorded history the Sunshine Coast was a declared a drought area. Some hives in the area had died from starvation, I got a phone call from a gut who thought most of his hives had something wrong with them because of reduced activity. The hives had starved to death due to bad management.
It certainly woke me up to not just check for capped honey but to also look for wet cells of nectar.

Hi Peter, thanks for your reply.
Midland is about 20km SE from where I am.
Night temps can change considerably even within a radius of 10km.
I will leave the supers on and continue feeding, I guess they will stop taking sugar syrup if they have had enough or getting plenty nectar.
I’m hoping for a good flow when spring comes around.
Cheers, G

Funny, Jeff is only 18k’s away from me and our climates can vary a lot depending on the wind direction. Last late Spring I began feeding my hives while he was extracting.
I’m looking forward to the present honey flow going for a while longer but hope for a good Spring too.

Hi Pete, much the same here, I have seem temp differences of up to 8-9c within 10km from here.
I’m certainly looking forward to my first honey harvest.
Keep fingers crossed for a good spring.
Cheers, G

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