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Winter Hive Inspection


Hi Fellow Beekeepers, just wondering if I need to disturb my bees one more time before winter on the South Coast of NSW? Last inspection was 15/3 four weeks ago. Bees still bringing in lots of pollen even red pollen, not sure where that comes from? Was thinking of insulting their pitched roof with polystyrene on their flow hive 2. I’ve bought an external feeder for their hive entrance, just in case as I haven’t had them through a winter yet.pp Yours in Beekeeping


Hi Shayne I would leave them alone, as long as they have plenty of honey stored and you have a good beetle trap setup they will be fine :slight_smile:

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Thanks Glen, Flow Hive 2 has a great beetle trap in the stand filled with oil and the girls have 3 fully capped flow frames plus what they’re still bringing in. There is also evidence that they’ve started refilling the 3 emptied frames from 1st April and they’re in the sun for at least 3 hours each day and foraging all day. I just don’t want anything to happen to them. We think we’ll put some polystyrene in their roof for insulation in the winter. Thanks for the advice.



I have looked at the design of the Flow hive and am impressed with the detail these guys have done, fantastic job not only building and marketing the hive concept but their follow up and customer support is 2nd to none.
Keep some oil in yr trap it doesn’t have to be much just a few mm will do and don’t open yr hive over winter Bees have been around for 1000s of yrs they know what to do.
Yr on the south coast so winter will be ok cold nights and sunny days, if there is any spotted gum around it will be in flower now or soon.
I use the plastic stuff they make signs out of for insulation like real estate signs its convoluted plastic stuff. I put it above the queen excluder with a gap around the outside so bees can access their stores but restricts air flow/heat loss from the brood nest helps to keep them warm.
Every few weeks take the roof off if there is no moisture in there put it back on if there is leave it off for a few hrs and dry it in the sun or use a hair drier or heat gun.
Enjoy yr bees :slight_smile: any questions please ask

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Once again Glen thanks for your advice. I’m loving my bees and feel reasonably confident in looking after them. I have found it difficult to find someone to advise me like a mentor that I can discuss ideas and plans of action etc with as everyone in our ABA Club is so busy with their own stuff so I appreciate you taking the time to reply.



All good Shayne Im happy to answer questions, Im only a few 100 ks north of you and know yr area. I have 2 local beekeepers that are newbees and they constantly ask questions I help them extract and give advice. Remember bees have been around for 1000s of yrs they know what to do. What you need to do is learn how to manage them their pests and hives, so you get honey and they survive :slight_smile:


You can’t over insulate your hive and the bees will reward the effort you put into it. Even a piece of lino laying on the top of the super frames with a gap of 20mm than the internal dimensions of the box will work wonders as insulation. Just check that there is no way water can leak in, if there is a thin bead of silicone sealant will fix that issue.
Regards Shayne

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Hi Peter, we’re definitely going to do the lino, I have been advised in top of the brood Frames between the brood box and the super but you’ve mentioned on top of the super Frames. Which would be best?





I don’t think you would put a hive mat between the brood and the super? I think you just place it on top of the top box- whatever that is. If I have a brood with no super than it’s there- when I add the super I move it up to there.

We also plan to remove our flow supers over winter- as in the past we have found that the super can get damp during winter and the frames get a bit blackened/marked with mold. If you were going to leave a super on over winter- i would suggest trying to make an insulated hive ‘quilt box’. This is basically a thin box that goes on top of the super and it is filled with wood chips or soem other form of insulation- but it has vent holes. The idea is you keep in the warmth but allow for some ventilation so condensationa dn moisture can escape. I plan to make soem of these in a few weeks before I close down my hives for winter.

here is what I am talking about;

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Yes! i have just been reading Ware’s book about ‘the peoples hive’ and think his quilt idea is great.
Very easy to make from scraps, and something to use all the sawdust my table saw produces when I am making other parts for my hive. Like all good ideas, cheap, simple and elegant.


Always on the “top floor” of the hive, just under the roof. Anything else impedes bee traffic and communication. :blush:


Thanks Dawn and friends, appreciate everyone’s input. You experienced Bee Zens are very knowledgeable and I’m glad I joined this Forum as I get most of my advice here. Cheers Shayne


It must be put on the top of the super frames, think about it this way, if it is between the brood box and the super it would then be sitting on the queen excluder and so it would restrict the bees from going into the flow frames. It would also bees would be going back and forth from the heat of the brood box into the cold of the super. Simply put the lino, or called a hive matt, fits on top of the highest super. Hope that explains it better to you Shayne, cheers.


Hey Ian, Just a caveat to add in with using saw dust or wood shavings is that it must be free of any of the treatments used to control white ants as it is toxin and will kill bees.
Are you getting frosts in Warwick yet? I figure it must be close out there.
Cheers Ian

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Ooooh, I love that. A Bee Zen? Sign me up. I am also happy to be called a friend or to be regarded as having friends here. Thank you so much for making my day. :heart_eyes:


Yes, I always use untreated timber from my local mill as opposed to Bunnings banana boards lol

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And yes Peter, it is very close to frosts. Our neighbour has a tree dahlia and it always drops its flowers just before the first frost, and I noticed a few petals dropping today.
We are expecting daytime temps in the mid twenties for the next week or so, so I am aiming to build the quilt & do my last inspection over this period when I will fit it. [wind permitting]

It will be interesting to see how they winter with this and i will post the results in spring when I plan to split the hive.

Cheers, Ian

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Semaphore, yr in the northern hemisphere these quilts maybe great in yr part of the world but here they are not required unless the bees are in Victoria or Tasmania.


Don’t waste yr time with the quilt its not needed in yr climate


Um- pretty sure last time I drained the sink the water went down counter clockwise… what I am saying is- I am very much in the Souther Hemisphere- in Adelaide Australia.

They may not be necessary here (or anywhere in fact) but I think they will be of benefit to bees here just as they are elsewhere. Moisture build up in hives is an issue over winter in Adelaide- and heat loss is too. It doesn’t get freezing very often but it is cold. I think these boxes will help resolve/ameliorate both issues. I will be trialling them on my hives this winter.