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Winter Prep in Melbourne Australia

Hi Team

Long time reader, first time poster. i got my girls back in early december and added a second 10 frame brood box in early feb, of which they have filled out 6 full frames as of about 2 weeks ago. If it wasn’t for a few failed attempts at straightening some comb the girls probably would have drawn out both boxes.

To help the little ladies along to draw out the final four foundationless frames i’ve been feeding 1:1 sugar syrup since then and had a look in the hive today and things haven’t progressed. Granted we had pretty average weather for a week and watching them today they are bringing in plenty of pollen and nectar but i’m a bit concerned about not having the top brood box drawn and honey capped in time for winter. They do have plenty of stores, about 10 frames of honey - just wondering though what the best approach would be - continue feeding with the hope they will draw out remaining frames or should i prepare for consolidating them back into one brood box.

Appreciate your help

thanks

Jon

It doesn’t have to be capped for it to be good for the bees to use. As the weather gets cooler, sometimes they don’t bother to cap the honey, but it will still be dried enough to keep well. If they are using a lot of the top box, I would leave it on for now. You can always take it off later if they empty it. :wink:

Thanks Dawn!

We’ve probably got another month or so of warmish weather before final inspection pre winter so we’ll see how they’re tracking then.

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do you have a honey super on the hive? Or is it just the two brood boxes? All sounds pretty good to me either way. bees should be fine for winter. I try and ensure that every hive has the equivalent of four deep frames of honey for winter- that’s more than enough here in Adelaide. They tend to come out of winter with most of honey intact- as they tend to forage throughout the entire year.

It’s funny, there’s a bloke up my way advertising nucs to get ready for the “winter honey flow”.

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Hey Semasphore, no super, i probably got carried away watching too many northern hemisphere youtube vids and thought 2 deeps was the way to go. In hindsight would have just left it as a single 10 frame brood box me thinks. They’ll have a nice sunny spot in the backyard over winter and we have some pretty good eucalypt and wattle flowering around us so probably just stressing over nothing!

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You’ll be all set with some drawn comb for a split in the spring!

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If you have a mild winter it also pays to have some space in the super for any over winter flows. I try to leave a frame or two available for anything that flows. I also like to leave approximately 1 honey frame for each brood frame going into winter. The bees will likely not use it all on a warm or average winter and I can harvest it in spring.

Adam

all my hives are single broods- I find it so much easier to manage. I have seen here in Adelaide my bees produce as much or more honey each year than people running double broods. You could easily split your hive into two next spring if you like. They will be very happy as a double over winter I am sure. I wouldn’t worry too much about the un-drawn frames- they will get there. You could keep feeding sugar but if they have a heap of honey there is probably no need. It may encourage them to finish those frames off though. Sugar syrup at 1 to 1 can stimulate the queen to keep laying a bit longer and the bees to draw wax.

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yep great suggestions - i think i will look to split them into two hives come spring. I’ll get a count on how many honey frames i’ve got in my early May inspection then see how that fares over the winter but based on what i’m reading they should be fine. Thanks for the insight!

Thanks Andrew, fair call. If they kick off a bit earlier then they’ll have some space to work into. They’ll have a couple of frames for that i reckon so we’ll see how that goes.