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Winter in SE QLD

Hey friends,

This is our first full year and winter is a tad confusing in SE QLD as it’s June and it’s still not exactly winter chill yet and the bees have gone cuckoo for the fresh wattle blooms and ironbarks (we live close to state forestry) when should I look to lockdown? They have plenty of honey stores and the queens all appear to be laying somewhat… any help would be fab!

Please help :pray:

:honeybee: KilahCo

I’m in Sydney so very different climate but we’re still hitting 19-20c some days and the coldest its been is 6c but only at dawn. My bees are behaving the same as yours and it’s almost like they think its spring.

I packed one of my hives down to 1 box and the other hadn’t actually reached two boxes due to SHB issues last summer. I do however use 10 frame deeps.

I assume you have the 6 frame flow hive / 8 frame brood box? At this stage I wouldn’t be doing anything like removing honey or the honey super but monitoring how much they have stored for winter survival, by the sounds of it they are still bringing in nectar so you may be able to harvest some just before spring and swarming season hits in August-September. Removing honey prior to swarming season can lower the instinct to swarm in the first place.

I would strongly consider having a second brood box ready to go for spring buildup as a single 8 frame brood box is likely to induce swarming, conventional wisdom advises a minimum of a single 10 frame brood box in Sydney (mostly two) and the same applies the further north you go in Australia.

I’m only just about to try 8-frame deep boxes and I bought four, at least two will be brood, a third may be brood and food, and the fourth will be for me lol.

I don’t know if you get that cold in your area in the Lockyer Valley to need to pack down for our mild weather.
I made a mistake when I moved up to the Sunshine Coast and set up bee keeping again when in the first Winter I packed down as I always had, and in no time all the hives swarmed.
Lesson learnt I don’t pack down here now, while the number of frames of brood reduce to about four the bees forage well thru Winter for pollen and nectar. Actually I have found in May, June and July the bees hardly react to the cooler weather. I run 8 frame single brood and a single super. I have reduced the hive entrance to about 100 mm and have hive mats on all my hives.
There is advantages using an 8 frame hive having a double brood but there are disadvantages as well. With a single brood more inspections are needed and hive management to prevent swarming.
Cheers

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