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Bees - native and honey


Bees - native and honey

Until I sold my home and garden recently, I owned two native bee hives of Tetragonula carbonaria and a top bar honey bee hive.

While I'm am so far from expert at bee keeping it's not funny I do love to learn more about bees and the benefits they provide us.

When I was a child at primary school we had our own honey-bee hive and the local bee keeper would come by regularly and we would all gather around while he showed us how to look after them and gather the honey.

We have members on BLF who are very into bees, both native and honey and I hope they will share their knowledge here. I got a little frustrated trying to find past postings so thought one spot for it all would be better.

I find a lot of articles about bees and will post them here, nice and tidy in one spot, making them easier to find.


Members: 40
Latest Activity: Jan 2

Discussion Forum

SNB hives available - Brighton (Greg)

Started by Lissa. Last reply by conrad maharaj Mar 8, 2017. 9 Replies


Started by Lissa. Last reply by Lissa Jan 19, 2017. 6 Replies


Started by Lissa. Last reply by Lissa Jan 6, 2017. 5 Replies

My native bees are sleeping rough!

Started by Gwenneth Lippiatt. Last reply by Lissa Dec 18, 2016. 2 Replies

African Tulip Tree - Bee Killer

Started by Rob Collings. Last reply by Phil Nov 12, 2016. 6 Replies

Native Bees - Austroplebeia australis

Started by Dianne Caswell. Last reply by Dianne Caswell Nov 7, 2016. 5 Replies


Started by Christa. Last reply by Elaine de Saxe Oct 22, 2016. 8 Replies

Bee Expo 2016 - Photos

Started by Stevo. Last reply by Lissa Sep 13, 2016. 6 Replies

Native Bees at The Ekka

Started by Elaine de Saxe Aug 2, 2016. 0 Replies

new SNB hive supplier in Brisbane

Started by Lissa. Last reply by Lissa Jul 20, 2016. 5 Replies

Small hive beetle - how do you deal with yours?

Started by Roger Clark. Last reply by Roger Clark Jun 4, 2016. 4 Replies

Neonicotinoids in Australia

Started by Lissa. Last reply by Rob Collings Jun 2, 2016. 1 Reply

Fake Honey

Started by Barbara Tealby. Last reply by Lissa Nov 21, 2015. 6 Replies

Comment Wall

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Comment by Dianne Caswell on November 5, 2016 at 15:05

Can anyone tell me, is it safe to have 2 different breeds of Stingless Bees in the same yard?

Comment by Rob Collings on November 5, 2016 at 14:06

I believe it's configured correctly Christa.

The photo looks like a correct OATH with Super and Tropical Cover.

Using Zabel component names, I've listed the 4 box-looking components in your photo stacking order, starting with a reference of (1) at the base.

4. Tropical Lid (Environmental Cover)

3. Honey (Super)

2. Middle (Brood Chamber Top)

1. Bottom (Brood Chamber Bottom)

Zooming in, I believe I can also see where you have put the loose plywood (between 2 & 3), this is also correct. 

There may have been some confusion due to the fact that some OATHs permutations will differ in the design when a super is added. So if you're watching or looking at a non-Zabel hive video or picture, the differences may cause confusion.

My hive boxes are not customer friendly like Zabel's (I've never sold one). On mine, 2. is a square with no top or bottom lid and 3. & 1. are the same, just upside down to each other. This design (the one I use) makes it difficult to add a super if there was no super to begin with. I also do not have an integrated tropical lid 4. (I just fit polystyrene if required over top).

I am guessing that the designer of your boxes has intended that the hive will only ever have one empty cavity at a time as it grows from half to full to super. This is very, very good for the survivability of the bees, as the colony will only have the pressure of a single cavity to fill at any one time. This helps the bees manage the environmental conditions in the hive (temperature and dew point volume).

I don't know if I've used the correct term above (dew point volume) so I'll try to explain it below.

The bees fill up a cavity as quickly as possible, which reduces the air volume, reducing the amount of water present as vapour in the hive which may condense to unwanted liquid water under particular weather conditions. 

All looks good, but always keep an eye on the bees (especially after a bit of work) They're looking happily active around the entrance in your photo.

Comment by Christa on November 5, 2016 at 12:05

Hope this photo explains the situation Rob.

Comment by Rob Collings on November 5, 2016 at 9:20

Hi Christa

Could you post a picture of the hive's current look.

I had a look at Zabel's site and can see that there are 4 box-looking components in their latest configuration documentation, with the top box-looking component being a tropical lid.

I suppose I'm trying to understand if you currently have an extended brood chamber (2 x middle boxes, Zabel terminology), or just the one middle box.

Comment by Christa on November 5, 2016 at 8:32

Thanks everyone, It seems strange that on the same day as selling us one of his hives that he told Ian to wait a couple of months and then place the super and separator on top.  Maybe it is our mistake and he meant to split the new hive as it appeared to be full when we opened it. He actually gave us two separators, so it looks like we were meant to split the hive.  I thought it unusual to buy a hive and split it soon after. 

My concern is if we have done any damage and should we leave it as is or split the hive now.   Today is supposed to be a hot one so here;s hoping they are OK.   I actually get a bit worried about the little blighters. 

Comment by Lissa on November 5, 2016 at 6:08

Christa's message was sent out direct to all the members of this group. I have just posted it here under Comments so people can respond.

Comment by Susanne on November 4, 2016 at 8:38
Hi Crista , I wondered what happened to your comment yesterday,
The honey super does go on top. Usually it makes the third box.
There is the base brood box with the landing board then the second brood box then a loose board with the four circular holes towards the corners then the honey box with the fixed bottom board that is similar to the loose board. Then the roof on top.
I have zabels boxes too.
Comment by Lissa on November 4, 2016 at 4:12
Comment by Christa on October 24, 2016 at 9:31

That link has good info, Dianne, thanks for looking.  There are a few more plants on my wish list.  My aim is to feed native bees and also solitary bees. As honeybees have a much greater flying radius in area, it must be easier for them to source their food.  

Comment by Dianne Caswell on October 24, 2016 at 6:57

I found this article whilst looking for info on Bee Food, I know it says Melbourne but the plants and flowers they mention grow almost anywhere. -


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