Q & A With Cedar & Stu Anderson

Today we had both Cedar and Stu in the apiary, with the father and son duo tackling your beekeeping queries. Some of the subjects they covered were the longevity of Flow Frames, dealing with wax moths and our new Flow Hive 2+ entrance reducers.

 

 

Video Transcription 

 

Stu:

Hi everyone. You've got Stu and Cedar for once on Facebook Live. Here’s a picture of the side of a Flow Super.

Cedar:

This is the frame we harvested a couple of weeks ago, and you can see they've torn up all the capping and they've done a great job of repairing all the cells. And you can even see nectar glistening as they've been bringing in the nectar from the Melaleuca flowers and creating that beautiful sweet honey. The Melaleuca is an interesting flower, it tends to pulse with the rain and the indigenous people here call it the rain tree because when it rains, it then bursts into flower. Usually in the autumn and winter, we're not seeing that coming in today because it's suddenly stopped. But last night we had some rain. So who knows, it might start up again. 

You can see a filling pattern here. If you look at the end frame view, that's a typical pattern when they're filling the cells, which is a wonderful thing to see. It's not out to the edge and they're all evenly distributed. When it is patchy with a full cell, empty cell, full cell, empty cell - that's when they're eating some honey away. With this view, you can even watch it change throughout the day. So you can get a good idea of what's going in your hive just by looking inside the windows. And I can tell from this hive that even though we're seeing it filling, that the hive isn't quite full. We have harvested these two frames, this one in the side window is looking empty. You can see there's not a full amount of honey in there.

Stu:

But you can see them fairly crowded in between the frames, which is what you want to see. Bees like to be packed. It means you're going to have less trouble with pests like the small hive beetle or wax moth or anything like that if they're nice and crowded. And they like it too. Whereas there are some other hives along here where they're a bit thin on the ground, or thin in their hive, I guess. And so then you've got to keep an eye on this. Why have the numbers dropped? So that's all part of observations, like Cedar was talking about.

Cedar:

My father Stu's here today, too. If you've got questions for either of us, just like most beekeepers -

Stu:

We’ll have different opinions.

Cedar:

No we won’t!

So it's going to be a bit like that. So you can direct a question to either of us. Perhaps you've seen Stu speaking, he's been travelling around the world, when we were allowed to travel. Speaking at bee clubs, speaking at big events and you might've seen him abroad. So he's got a wealth of knowledge to offer as well. You can direct a question to either of us or just general and one of us will pick up the question and the other one would probably argue with it. 

I'm pretty sure that this hype isn't very full, in fact, I know it isn’t, but they are bringing in some honey. What I'm going to do is just have a little bit of honey, which is something you can easily do with the Flow Hive, is just tap a small amount of honey, leave the rest for the bees. 

Stu:

I want to just show you another thing you can do, that we always used to do as beekeepers. And that's just heft the hive. Now, of course you won't know when you do that for the first time, how much it should weigh or anything like that. But I encourage you to do it every time you're down there, just a little lift, feel the weight of it. And after a while, you can really get the hang of it. You'll be your own honey scales, you'll know that it needs harvesting just from the weight. And that's what I mean in the old days, when you didn't have windows, that's what we would do. Just lift it and feel the weight to know when it's about ready to go. So it's surprising how us humans can do that, can judge weight when you get used to it.

Cedar:

It's surprising, but hefting was the way it's always been done when we just had white boxes in the paddock. And there wasn't these windows to give you an idea of what's going on, then just lifting the hive would give you a decent enough idea, whether it's worth opening up the hive. And if the frames are 70% capped, then take them back for extraction with a centrifuge and so on. And you know, we do get people saying, “Why do you need all of these windows? You can just lift it.” But then after they get a hive and try it - 

Stu:

There's so much more there. There's so much more. So hefting is just the old way, it gives you another indicator. But now yes, you can see the end view, you can see the side views. If you're a beginner, we encourage you to pull them apart and get to know what these views mean by opening the hive and seeing what they mean. And after a while, it'll take a glance when you know how they're going and whether it's harvest time or not, whether you need to feed them. 

Cedar:

Last week we did an inspection of the Flow Frames and some brood frames as well. So if you do want to see what they look like on the inside, dial back one video in that Facebook live stream and take a look there. We've also got TheBeekeeper.org, which is an online training program we've developed with great content from experts around the world. It's also a fundraiser. So have a look at TheBeekeeper.org if you really want to get at a fast track to your beekeeping. 

I only want one jar, so let's say there's six or seven of these in a frame. Then I only want to go in about that far, because that'll harvest a jar of honey from that frame. But you can fill up quite a big jar, six or seven, sometimes more depending on what the bees do.

Stu:

You'll notice that when Cedar twisted that, it was pretty easy. This frame has been harvested before, and we generally find with second, third, fourth, ongoing harvests., it's easier to crack them than on that first one where the bees have glued things together. And this method of just inserting the key a little bit at a time helps when you've got a frame that's pretty stiff. You just can go in an inch or two, a centimetre or two at a time and keep twisting and then inserting a bit further and, and so on. It makes it a more gentle process and a steady process. And it's gentler on your wrist.

Cedar:

Questions in the comments below, if we've got any coming in, Trace?

Trace:

Great. We’re happy to see father and son, which is very nice. We might start singing that Cat Stevens song.

Cedar:

We were called brothers early on in some of those comments from that crazy crowdfunding time where there were just millions of comments and thousands of emails every day. One was a newspaper article saying these brothers have invented this thing.

 

Beekeeping Q & A

How long do the Flow Frames last? And do you need to clean them if you're going to take them off?

Cedar:

That's a couple of great questions there. So we've designed them to last a very long time. However, it's a new product, we’re now six years in. And yes, we've got frames that are now more than six years old, but we don't know. And for the most part, our frames are doing great out there. We don't have a flawless record, there are some people that have had issues. But what we want to do is make sure we look after everyone, anyone that does have an issue, get in contact and we'll look after you and make sure your frames are good to go again. So basically that's what we're trying to achieve. And we're hoping that they last many, many, many years. 

And then the next part was cleaning. Now, sometimes this trough area, it needs some cleaning. We're just getting a slow flow of honey this morning because we've only opened just a tiny bit of the frame. So we're not expecting a big stream of honey. 

Stu:

It basically takes as long to fill that one jar as it does to fill a two litre jar, because the honey flows at the same rate. When you do harvest the whole thing, it's flowing out at that same rate, but a lot more at once. So that that's going to take 20 minutes. 

The bees generally clean it themselves. Cedar was pointing out the side view just before, about how once you have harvested the bees will get in there, repair the cells and get them ready to put honey in again, put their nectar in and so on. Generally, the only cleaning you may need to do is the trough down at the bottom. So when you take the plug out of the bottom, when you're ready to insert the honey tube, you might want to just squat down and look down there and see if it looks nice and clean. And if it's not, then you can take this key and put a thin strip of cloth, maybe damp cloth and insert it the way down the honey tube and twist it around a bit, pull it out to clean it. 

Usually they’re clean, but not always, the bees will generally take care of the rest. Gradually it'll get more and more stained from use. But that's because the bees are covering everything with a fine layer of wax, and that wax gets darker and darker, and we've found it's not easy to clean all that wax off, actually. I've played around with bleach and a high pressure sprayer and so on. You do clean it up, but that final layer of wax will tend to stay there, which in a way is lovely. Every piece of that plastic is covered with wax. Even though the plastic is high-quality, food-grade, BPA free, the best stuff we can get. Somehow the bees are still covering it all with a very fine layer of wax.

 

I have harvested two frames of honey, should I leave two for the bees? Or can I harvest the other two frames? (NSW, Australia)

Stu:

It's always the thing. Maybe there's big demands on the honey at home, who knows? It is delicious, honey. We encourage you to join up with local bee clubs with local beekeepers, because local knowledge is best. We don't know where John's living. And even if we did know exactly where you lived, local people would say “you do have another nectar flow coming on in early winter, you should be safe to take it.” Or they'll say, “no, don't take any right now because you're going to have a dearth for four or five months before the spring.” What beekeepers call a dearth, that is no nectar coming in. So always ask your locals. 

And then it's going to be your knowledge too, because while the locals understand what's been happening year after year, where the blossoms and the flowers in their area, everything’s shifting now with climate change. Which has often been a disaster for beekeepers. Flowering that you could have relied on to be early spring year after year after year, suddenly isn't anymore.

All sorts of crazy things are happening. So particularly if you're amateur and you’re harvesting, it’s absolutely essential you err on the safe side and leave a bit more honey. But consult your locals is the main answer to that.

 

One of my hives is weaker than the other, it doesn’t have much brood. Should I replace the queen or wait till spring? The queen is from a split I did in late summer.

Cedar:

Sometimes you can get a situation where you've got a colony, it's a bit weak for whatever reason. And finally it gets on its feet and it does great. So you've got a bit of a choice of whether to intervene or not. Generally if you're unsure, but you can see you've got a laying queen, I would leave it. But if you really want to get in and intervene, then that’s a valid thing to do as well. In which case, you might decide that the queen's not doing a good enough job laying as you said. You might want to take that queen away and introduce a new queen that hopefully gets in there and lays a lot more eggs. And then there's an explosion of new baby bees, ready to go about all of the chores and foraging.

Stu:

You could also consult your queen supplier about that. One advantage of requeening now is that you won't be in a queue. Sometimes it's hard to get queens in the early spring. But you should consult your queen breeder to say, “how would that be if I did it now? How will she be accepted at this time of year? And how will she go over the winter?” But if the brood pattern is really low, maybe I'd be very tempted to requeen. It's amazing the difference it can make. Your genetics, the food that's available and being on top of diseases, they're your three main things you've got to be concerned about with bees.

 

I removed the Flow super for winter, but ants got into 2 of the Flow Frames. There were ants in the honey when I harvested. How can I clean out the Flow Frames?

Stu:

If there's ants up in there, then it's puzzling as to how they got in, maybe the end cap was loose. I have run a hose up these tubes sometimes too. The cloth on the keys is what I'll do if it's needed, but I have run the hose up because the bees will have sealed the trough. You shouldn't get any leaking of water and a tiny bit of water in the hive won't matter if it's a warm day. 

Cedar:

Ants shouldn't be able to get in at all, unless this cap was removed for a little while, in which case they'll go, wow, that's a really sweet, warm home. That is perfect. And they will move into that area. So that could be the case. In which case, getting them out is a bit annoying. But if you are going to run water into the hive, then put the tube in when you do it. This is a leak back point here. You don't want a lot of water pouring into the hive. So that little tongue goes into the bottom, just like when you're harvesting and that'll stop that. But just swish it in, let it run out, don't connect your hose to the hive. You just want to swish it in, let it swish out and you can do that with warm water or even cold water. And that might flush those ants out that somehow got in there. 

If they got in there, when the cap was in and there might be a problem with your frame. Perhaps there's a piece of the frame missing from the manufacturing process and the ants were able to get in there. However, that's unlikely because the bees will seal all of that up. Bees will keep ants away from the inside surfaces. They're very good at that. 

 

I’ve got honey at the bottom of the Flow Hive, is there a drain hole to clean out the honey?

Cedar:

So the leak-back point is right there. But if you have a look here, you can see a tiny bit of buildup. And what we'll do is we'll pull that out. That's probably not the best example cause we harvested that. But you can see there's a little gap there between the yellow piece and what was a clear piece before the bees got to it.

Stu:

It looks like we've got it all misaligned, that the floor of the trough is not in proper alignment with the hole at the end, but actually that's all on purpose. And that's what creates that gap, the leak-back gap. And you can see the bees' tongues licking up through that gap. It's lovely, as the honey steadily flows, the trough sort of self cleans. So if you've got the hive on the correct tilt, the honey will keep flowing back to this end. And the bees will lick it up as it comes back.

Cedar:

And if you have a look at this cap, you'll see these little ridges on it. Now, those little ridges are so there's a gap left when you put it back in, for the last remaining bits of honey to drain back into the hive for the bees to reuse. You'll see the bees licking up the gap with their tongues. That's designed to be about a bee tongue width, so they can get their tongue up inside this cap and to where the honey is. And if you look really close, you'll actually see that. 

 

So we were a bit out on our key measurement, we’ve filled that jar. We only wanted one jar of honey, so we inserted the key just a small amount. So one sixth of the way in should be about one of these jars, cause there's six or seven of these per frame. But in this case there's still a bit leftover, which we will enjoy as well. 

 

I had a tiny amount of honey below one frame and it tasted fermented. Can honey ferment while still in the hive? And if so, will it affect the bees and what to do with the fermented honey?

Cedar:

So there's two things there. One is, if honey is building up in this area, which you can see a little bit in there. Sometimes quite a lot builds up. The bees don't always do a good job of sealing the Flow Frame parts, and you get a bit of honey building up in that area. And if you're in a climate that's a bit humid, then the moisture content could get a bit too high and once it gets above 20%, it's likely to ferment. And you could get fermented honey in that area. Now, if you taste the honey in that when you go to harvest and it's fermented, the best thing to do would be to give that a clean out, as we said earlier, by putting some cloth on here. Or if there's a lot of it, you can insert a tube and let it drain out for a little while and just discard that fermented honey. Don't let other bees get to it though, because you don't want to spread pathogens from one hive to the next. 

If you have a clean trough and you've harvested and the honey is fermented in the frames, that can happen sometimes, especially in a humid climate where the bees attempt to get the moisture content down around 18%, but they don't do a great job of it. They get a bit lazy and they just decide to put the cap on early.

Stu:

And that, by the way, can happen for both Flow Frames and conventional frames. Occasionally bees cap their honey when it really isn't what we call ripe. And therefore it ferments in the frames. It can happen in Flow Frames or it can happen in conventional frames. It's a general beekeeping thing, but it is quite rare.

Cedar:

Typically what conventional beekeepers do at that point is they go through a pasteurisation process, which they can easily recover fermented honey from. But in our case, we want to be eating raw honey with all the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes in there. So the best thing I would say to do, if you do have a nice big amount of fermented honey is make some honey mead. Look up some recipes, have some fun with it. And it can make a nice beverage like that. 

Now, Stu hadn’t quite finished answering that question about the leak-back point. If the bees do wax up that point, bees will be bees, and even though we've designed a nice little gap there, they'll fill it with wax. And that will mean that leak-back point won't work anymore. Honey will build up in that area and possibly ferment or go candied, depending on your climate.

So a good thing to do is to clean that out. Now you can use the end of your Flow key, which you can see here, and you can just poke it in that area to clean that out. You can use a twig, or if you've got your tube handy, it's got a little piece that's made for dislodging that piece of wax. So every time you harvest it happens for you. So you don't have to think about it. But the bees will be bees and sometimes block up that area. So sometimes just turning the cap around like this will break up a wax seal that they've made and allow honey to drain back into the hive.

 

Do either of you have any experience with a long Langstroth hive? I  have built one and I’m going to install a 5 frame nuc in a couple of days. I will add four flow frames to it.

Cedar:

Fantastic. I expected people to do a lot of experimentation with Flow Frames in the beginning. We thought we would invent this thing and people would use it in all sorts of different types of hives. As it turned out, people just wanted it all complete in a hive. And that's what most people like, but I love to hear about people who are experimenting with them, putting them in observation hives, in top bar hives, in long hives. And we’ve actually got some long hive experiments at home and I'm not sure why, but I haven't had that much success with it. 

Stu:

You need long bees!

Cedar:

It's probably just not trying hard enough, not having enough of them really to compare. But the hive we have got going horizontal just isn't doing so well. It's not really storing honey. So this configuration we know works very well, but do let us know your experience with your long hives as well. 

There are some advantages and some disadvantages. One advantage of the vertical hive is the warmth from the brood box. They keep the hive about 35 degrees and that warmth then travels up and keeps your honey warm as well, which means you get less candying issues. If you're going long, unless you’ve got it well-insulated, you might get cooler Flow Frames on the edges. You might find that honey harvesting is slower. But then again, you've got better access to your brood. So there's pros and cons with everything in beekeeping.

 

How should you deal with a wax moth infestation in Flow Frames?

Cedar:

The only reason you'd get the wax moth in your Flow Frames is if the Flow Frames have been left out of the hive or your colony is so weak, the bees can't look after the internal surfaces. So assuming you've left the Flow Frames out and they're covered in wax, wax moths will naturally go to wax. Because that's what they like, and they're not a problem inside the hive. They’re only a problem when your equipment is stored generally, but correct me if she's got a different issue. So all you need to do is brush off the moths and their cobwebs and the bees will do a good job at restoring the frame once it's back in the hive. If it's really had vermin on it and it's not looking really good, then give it a wash with hot water, let it dry and then put it back in the hive. But otherwise the bees do a great job of restoring the surfaces inside.

Stu:

If it is the case that the wax moths have got hold in your hive, that's fairly serious. That could mean that your hive is really on the decline. Maybe it's gone queenless and you're losing bee numbers. Or maybe there's a sickness of some sort. So best to get right in there, have a really good inspection. And every frame that's not being used, both brood and Flow Frames, maybe replace it. Or else even compress the whole thing down to one box. If there's nothing really in the flow super, I would take it off and compress it down to one box and see what you can do about building the health of that colony up.

 

Should I remove the Flow frames when coming into a frost? (Las Vegas, USA)

Stu:

If there is just an ordinary frost, but you're in spring and it's warming up, you don't need to worry, the bees keep their hive warm. And there's no problem with forests and so on. But if you're talking about overwintering, when it's getting colder and colder, then you definitely should consult your locals. But generally it often involves harvesting completely the Flow super, or your normal super and compressing the hive down to one or two boxes with one box still full of honey for them. So, there's a little bit in setting your hives up for winter. We won't go into that and certainly I'm not an expert on that because we live in a climate where you know, this doesn't get that cold.

 

How much honey can I get from a Flow hive each year?

Cedar:

The answer, like many things in beekeeping is it depends. But I will give you a broad answer. So in this area you can typically harvest all of these frames a couple of times a year and sometimes more, but sometimes a lot less. So it really does depend on the two major factors, which is the numbers of bees or the strength of your colony, and also the abundance of nectar, whether there's a lot of nectar around for your bees and pollen also. Because they need the pollen and the nectar in a healthy hive to raise their young and build up in numbers. So if they don't have that forage, then they won't be able to really store any honey at all. You can get situations where you have a drought or the rains didn't come, the flowers didn't flower and your bees are actually consuming their stores.

So bees store honey for times when there's no flowers. So that's their stores. So it's important to keep that in mind. If you're unsure, just harvest a bit and leave the rest for the bees like we're doing today. We're just harvesting a couple of jars and leaving the rest. However, if you see an abundance coming in, you're watching these windows, you're seeing it really filling, you can have these other experiences where you harvest all the frames and two weeks later, they're full again. And that's exciting when that happens. 

So getting back to your question, if we harvest all of these frames twice in the season, on average, you get a hundred of these jars. Which is enough, usually for a family, and often people find that they've got a lot of honey to share around, which is a wonderful thing. Everyone loves honey, it keeps your neighbours sweet. 

Stu:

Just to go into that a little bit more, I've got three hives near my house at home. One of them is amazing at bringing in the honey. It builds up the stores very, very quickly. And the one exactly beside it has a similar amount of bees in the hive, but it doesn't bring in nearly as much. So you might say, “Oh, I much prefer the one that brings in all of that honey”. But there's other factors to consider as well, which one's the most gentle, maybe it's more important for you to have gentle bees and have that as the priority rather than the most productive. And there's also the hive, how hygienic they are. That's a beekeeper's term for how good are they at managing pests and making sure they're disease free, because that varies amongst colonies as well. So generally while it's tempting to select and go for a high honey production, there's other factors you should be considering as well when you are looking at your colonies.

 

Do secondary swarms have mated queens?

Stu:

I don't know, I think they can have either. A swarm can go with either a virgin or a mated queen.

Cedar:

So if anyone knows the answer to that question, stick it in the comments below. It's a great thing, having a really engaged audience. If you know the answer to somebody else's question, chip in. It's all about helping each other learn and we're learning all the time.

 

How long does a queen last in a hive?

Stu:

The queen will last years and years and years. And finally, when her egg-laying starts slowing up, the rest of the colony will basically kill her or throw her out. And before they've even done that they will have raised some new queens. So the bees themselves as a colony are deciding how long their queen should last. And it depends on her performance. So she's not so much about absolute monarch as you might think. So generally for beekeepers, professionals will generally requeen every year because a new queen is very, very productive. She'll lay a lot of eggs and will have good genetics. Then amateur beekeepers tend to requeen every two years, or three or four, but by then, your colony will be really slowing down.

Cedar:

And she can even last up to six years. And towards the end of her life, she might either run out of sperm and start laying drones. Hopefully the colony would have raised a new queen by then, but you can get into a situation where she does. She only mates in the first two weeks of her life and then from then on she's relying on the sperm she collected from 30, 60, a hundred drones. And that can run out. And when she can't fertilise an egg, it turns into a male bee and you can end up with a whole hive full of drones, the males that don't do the dishes, they don't do any chores. And the whole thing turns into a useless share house and collapses.

 

There was mould in my pest management tray after a couple of weeks. I cleaned it out and replaced the vegetable oil. How should I keep it clean?

Cedar:

It will get a bit manky down there. It's just the debris that's falling through from the hive, moisture might come in from the front as well. It's pretty normal for it to get a bit grimy down there. Just get your hive tool, the chisel end, the one that comes with our bee suits and just scrape out the debris, replenish the oil, if you're using that to catch beetles. Or if you don't have the small hive beetle, then you won't need any oil in the tray. Some people might even choose not to run the tray in there at all, or perhaps they can run the tray upside down if they don't want to use it for actually storing oil to catch beetles.

Stu:

So a dry tray has the advantage of you're starting to see what debris is coming down through the hive, and if there are pests and things involved in it. And if there's too much, somehow you get to know that. The oil has that advantage of drowning small hive beetles. For us, beetles are a real problem. I've seen some that the bees have just shoved out of the hive down through the screened bottom and into the oil. So the oil has that advantage of, of killing off pests for you. A little bit harder to tell what's going on in terms of what they're throwing out because of the oil.

 

Will the new entrance reducer on the Flow Hive 2+ keep mice out?

Cedar:

Correct me if I'm wrong, the most common mice in the USA, it will keep out. It's designed to keep the mice out, but let me know how you go. There's two types of mice, the most common one even the Flow Hive entrance they don't generally come in because it's narrower than a typical Langstroth hive. But the entrance reducer is smaller again. It’s designed to make it easier for your colony to keep things like mice and wasps and things away and potentially robber bees.

 

When is it too cold to inspect your hive?

Stu:

You can just about judge that from if it feels cold to you. I mean the best days to inspect are calm, warm days. As soon as it's getting windy, the bees are likely to be more disturbed. Then if it's a cold wind as well, if you would feel chilly in just say a shirt, perhaps it's a bit chilly for your bees. Having said that, sometimes it's more important to inspect and you've just got to do it. If you suspect American foulbrood, for example, you've got to have a look and you just try and choose the warmest time of the day. 

Cedar:

If it is cold, just be mindful of the uncapped brood. So the grubs down the cells are sensitive to the cold, but capped brood, not so much. So if you've got a lot of uncapped brood on the frames, just don't leave it out in the cold for too long, or for a small amount of time as possible if it is quite cold when you're inspecting.

 

How do the bees cope with strong winds?

Cedar:

We get a lot of wind. The wind up this slope here gets very strong when you get those East coast lows here. Typically we found when the wind would get to 80 kilometres an hour up this slope, it would blow the roof off on our Classic hives. And that's why on this Flow Hive 2, we put these wing screws here, and that's working well, these roofs don't get blown off. Even when you get those semi cyclonic winds coming up up the face here. Now, bees are very resourceful. They can be out in the wind like this. They would probably prefer it if they weren't, but they certainly can. And in other countries, like up in North America, you're going to get very strong, very cold winds. They are a European honeybee. They are built to survive the extreme. So you'll probably find it's not much of an issue. If you do have the option to place your hive where it's a bit more protected, they'll probably prefer that, but they will do fine in the wind as well.

 

What's the flavour of the honey today?

Cedar:

I tasted the flavour and I got hit with the paperbark, the Melaleuca that has been flowering recently, and I haven't tasted that flavour for awhile. So it was great to taste it again. I have to admit it's not my favourite flavour. I like all honeys. And I do like the paperbark, but I don't like too much of it because it's almost a sickly-sweet flavour. It's kind of like a burnt toffee, sickly sweet flavour. And it's really similar to the smell you get when you walk past a paperbark tree in blossom. So lots of people love it. For me, it's not my favourite.

 

There doesn't seem to be much of an issue with swarms in my area. Can you comment on this? (California, USA)

Stu:

Swarming is another thing to do with genetics, as well as the way you manage your bees. And some beekeepers who live in a more rural area, don't worry about it too much. But if you live in an urban area, swarms are a hassle. And of course from a beekeeper's point of view, if half of your hive leaves, you've lost half your stock and then have to replenish it. So the genetics, that's where you talk to your queen suppliers and find out if they've been selecting for minimum swarming. And if your bees do come from a swarm, then there's that more likelihood that they'll be more likely to swarm themselves because they sort of came from a swarming stock. So there's a genetic side. 

And then there's the inspecting. Swarming is going to happen as the bees build up their numbers in spring. And as the nectar flow comes on, they're going to be saying, it's a good time for us to split, you know, well, half of us to split. And so you've got to be inspecting pretty regularly in early spring. I might inspect, but really I’m getting ready to split the hives so that I'm doing swarm prevention in advance by splitting colonies in half or even in quarters.

Cedar:

That's my favourite method. Come the spring time when you open the windows and you see the bees really building up, you know that there's a chance that they're going to swarm. So you can't be hanging around all day, just waiting for your hive to swarm and then chase it around. I mean, it can be fun for a little bit, but you're better off just taking a split and getting ahead of the curve. If you don't want another hive, somebody else surely will. 

So we've got plenty of videos on taking splits where we've shown you how to do it. We have also got in-depth training material at TheBeekeeper.org, which is a programme we've put together experts around the world are contributing to that. It's a fundraiser as well for habitat, regeneration and protection. And people are really enjoying the high quality training field that's coming through there. It's really helping them fast-track their knowledge. And in the end, if we can pass on our knowledge, that's what we need to do. So we're all able to look after our bees and become great beekeepers. 

 

Thank you very much for tuning in. We do have to cut it a little bit short today. Here's my sister who's just walked in from the background. She has got a bee on her finger. She also just had her ear against the hive. Then Trace who has been asking the questions, had her ear against the hive. It was a nice sight a moment ago. I suspect you were listening to a queen?

Mira:

It wasn't a quacking, it was like a rumble sound. I've never heard it before, but like with bees there’s something new every time. But I just found that little bee and she was looking a bit bedraggled. She was stuck on the back of the hive. So I picked her up, got some honey and stuck it there and she slurped away happily and then flew off.

Cedar:

Honey from that hive, right?

Mira:

Yeah. Yeah. 

 

Cedar: 

So there are these interesting noises that the queens make. Okay, we're going to tape the mic to the hive to see if we can hear this interesting sound. Give us the thumbs up if you can hear an interesting noise from the bees.

Thank you very much for tuning in. Also let us know what you'd like us to cover next week. And hopefully we'll be back, same time next week with something interesting to show you.

 

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