How to Look After an Australian Native Beehive



Consider temperature.,
Don’t worry about water.,
Consider the possibilities for elevation.,
Give yourself a good view.,
Consider the waste.,
Consider the distance of your move.,
Don’t worry about very small moves.,
Do longer moves at night.,
Gather your materials.,
Separate the top and bottom sections of the box with a hive splitting tool.,
Use the hive tool to clean the surfaces of both halves of the boxes.,
Couple the full top with the empty bottom of your spare hive.,
Secure the hive parts together with your tape of plastic strapping.,
Act quickly on hot days.,
Drape a wet towel over the hive, ensuring that the entrance stays clear.,
Move the hive into an air-conditioned room.

The social bees endemic to the coast of NSW cannot fly below 18 degrees (Celsius), and will die if left for over 10 minutes above 40 degrees. They should have morning sun, until about 10 o’clock in summer to encourage activity. Some more sun in winter is preferable.;
, Unlike European Honey bees, Stingless bees do not need water (they get all they need from nectar), and so it is not important to position the hive near a water source. In fact, if you position the hive directly above a pool/pond, the bees may think it is the sky, and fly right into it!, You can place your hive directly on the ground, but putting it up on a stool, table or other elevated position will help the bees to take flight, especially in winter., Remember that you will enjoy observing the bees coming and going, so position the entrance so that you can see it easily.

, Be aware that in winter when it is too cold to travel too far outside, the worker bees may dispose of the ‘garbage pellets’, a by-product of rearing brood, directly outside of the entrance. This may not be particularly pleasant when the hive is located on a veranda.

, If something happens meaning that you need to move your hive, you should know how to do it. A general rule of thumb is that you should only move your hive either less than 1 meter, or more than 1 kilometer. This is because the forager bees may start returning to the old location of the hive., You can easily move a hive a short distance of no more than 1 meter. Do this day or night, it does not matter. Some bees may initially return to the old position but, they will soon figure out where the entrance is, and go to it. Just move the hive – it’s that simple., It is also relatively simple to move a hive long distances of 1 kilometer or more. Pack the hive at night (this is important) when the bees are all inside. Close all entrances, ventilation holes and drainage hole to stop the bees from leaving the hive. After moving a hive to a new position, remove the plugs. Bees should immediately start emerging, if it is above 18 degrees Celsius., You will need:

A hive that is full (usually 12-18 months since last split)
A hive splitting tool/heavy duty paint scraper
A new hive, of the same dimensions as the one you are splitting
Plastic strapping or duct tape to hold the recently split hive sections together.
A veil to protect your face from the bites (optional)

, Some effort may be required, as the bees stick the 2 halves together with propolis. Be careful not to cut into the brood (mass of eggs in the center), to avoid damaging the young., Use a rag to clean any spilled ‘sugar bag’ honey from the joining edges of the hive, to reduce the entry of natural enemies., Then couple the full bottom with the empty top. Press both halves of one hive together, then do the same for the other., Tape is readily available and works well but can leave unsightly glue marks.

The new hive that has the top-half of the original hive should stay in the original position. You can move the other hive to another position.

, In emergency situations, when extreme heat is predicted (over 40 degrees), take action quickly., Immerse both or one ends of the towel into a bucket filled with water. The evaporative effect of the water may help to cool the hive., You could do this the night before, if extreme heat is predicted.

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