Beekeeping Demonstration

Bill Ringin

Bill Ringin

Joe Riordan

Joe Riordan DPI Advisor

Questions and Answers

Q.           How do I know if I need to feed my bees?

A             Bill Ringin responded . It’s always better to leave plenty of honey on the hives to last through winter, but if it’s a bad year then you may need to feed. Lift up the back of the hives and get an idea of the weight.  If they feel light, then you will need to feed.  If they feel heavy then there should be enough to get them through.  Critical time is early spring.  If you are unsure then you may be better to feed rather than take the chance of your bees starving. 

Q.           What is the easiest way to feed?   

A              David Graham responded. Leave enough honey and you won’t have to feed!  Making Sugar Syrup
Use white granulated sugar in 1 litre of hot water to 2 kg sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar until clear, let cool to blood warm and put into feeders inside your hives.

Q.           Could you tell me how to make sugar syrup? 

A.            Bill Ringin responded. 1 litre of hot water (not boiling) stir in 2 kg of white granulated sugar until dissolved (clear).  Allow to cool then feed to bees.  Make as needed.

Q.           Do I have to re-queen?  Don’t bees do that by themselves?

A             Bill Ringin responded . There are a number of reasons why you would re-queen.  A productive queen keeps the hive strong and resistant to disease, gives you more honey, less swarming and good temperament of bees. See Coming Events for the Field Day as they will demonstrate methods to re queen.

Q.           From Neville Hirth: Do we have instructions for lighting a smoker?

A            Linda responded. Yes, download a copy here Using a smoker

Q.           What is slum gum? 

A.            Bill Ringin responded.  It is a mixture of propolys, bits of resin, bits of wax. It can be when cleaning off frames. It can be when melting down dark wax from the brood box that has bits and pieces of dead bees, cacoons from bee larvae that collapses down into a browny looking muck which is discarded by beekeepers.  Slum gum is debris including dead bees, wax, propolys, maybe a bit of honey. Don’t leave it lying around as it’s like a scent mark to other insects such as Small Hive Beetle, Wax Moth, Wasps etc., attracting them to your hives.

Q.           What Flora will help sustain my bees during winter months and early spring?

A. Stan Glowacki responded. Hakeas are members of the Protea family (Proteaceae) and close relatives include Banksia and Grevillea


Hakea Bucculenta


Hakea Coriacea


Banksia Spinulosa

Grevillea Moonlight


Grevillea ‘Moonlight’

Hakea Corymbosa

Hakea Corymbosa       

Q.           What is the best time of the year to remove 2 outside frames of brood from the brood chamber into the upper super and replace with 2 new frames?


From Neil Baraclough. I don’t use an extractor, so I don’t use this method. I would expect to do it when the bees were running out of room because of too much honey, pollen or brood.  The best results would be expected when day length is increasing and not decreasing. It is dependant on hive strength as well as time of year.

From David Graham. Usually I do this in the Spring on a honey flow and a warm day.  I take out the 2  outside frames from the brood box, put them into the super above and move the remaining  frames 3 on each side.  Insert either 2 newly built up frames or frames with new foundation, into the centre.  If  this is not done, brood cells get smaller and smaller.  I mark them with the date.

Q.           How do you keep wax moth under control?

  1. David  Graham gave me two methods. 

Method 1: If you are a small beekeeper with a couple of hives, and you close them down for the winter, the now spare frames can be put into the freezer for about a week (freezer needs to be -16 deg), this kills any moth larvae left in the frames and stops them from developing. (I put a box of frames in the freezer, and when done put the next box of frames in the freezer until they had all been frozen for about a week.  I then kept them inside in the spare room by the light window until I needed them again and it worked for me).
Method 2:  Wax Moth does not like light.  Put a very low energy saving cold light at the bottom of a stack of boxes containing frames so that it shines up through all the boxes of frames placed on top.  Put a lid on the top box.  This method prevents the moths as they don’t like light.

Flow Hives. are currently being tested by our Apiarist Inspectors and those results will be available later in the year. In the meantime, if you have purchased one it is important to belong to your local beekeeping club as they will advise you on the beekeeping practises you need to follow. These hives require all normal proceedures, such as looking after the queen, brood, working bees, disease, feeding etc. The only thing you don't need to do with flow hives, is extract the honey. The flow hive method should do that for you. You need to do everything else as listed in this site for looking after bees.

click the link to email your question and they will be posted with an answer from an experienced beekeeper.