Native Bees & Splitting Native Bee Hives

stevo

Backyard Farmer
Premium Member
Jun 13, 2013
1,775
665
361
Clontarf, Qld
nativebeehives.com
Climate
Sub-Tropical
It was pretty easy, I try to be fast to not upset the bees too much. I just remove the top, spike the honey cells and drain out the honey.

I had some muffins for lunch, couldn't detect the honey taste at all, so poured honey over the top of the muffin and let it soak in, ... awesome :twothumbsup:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mark

Pek Guan Seng

Member
Premium Member
Nov 24, 2015
1
1
13
Climate
Tropical
What a perfect way to pollinate your garden - it looks like a top spot for the hive too.

When do you raid the honey? It's quite a different process to European bee honey collection isn't it?
Hello, Mark. I'm a beginner of trigona carbonaria keeper.
How many queen bees are inside a hive?
Normally, there are how many queen cells inside a hive?
What are the important matters should I care if I split a hive?

Thank you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: stevo

Mark

Founder
Staff member
May 27, 2012
5,055
1,401
411
Bellmere, QLD
www.selfsufficientme.com
Climate
Sub-Tropical
Hi Pek,

I'm just a novice on keeping native bees but I'll do my best to answer...

There's only one queen bee per hive at any one time.

Normally, there are how many queen cells inside a hive?
Not sure, but I have seen 3 or 4 larger queen cells when watching my uncle split hives. I assume they do keep several queen cells on the go just in case.

What are the important matters should I care if I split a hive?
Try to only split healthy full hives not ones that are only half filling the box - my uncle says the brood should be at least bigger than an orange otherwise both splits might die due to being too weak.

Try and split the hive evenly.

Don't let honey stand/drip in the box or it can drown the bees (even a small amount can) so it's best to ensure the broken sacks of honey during splitting can drain out over the next day for best results.

Try not to expose the brood to direct sunlight as this may kill it. My uncle uses an umbrella set over the hive when he is splitting.

That's about all I can think of for now... Others here (like Stevo) might have some more tips for you :)

BTW, welcome to SSC!
 
  • Like
Reactions: stevo

stevo

Backyard Farmer
Premium Member
Jun 13, 2013
1,775
665
361
Clontarf, Qld
nativebeehives.com
Climate
Sub-Tropical
Hi Pek,

I think you covered it pretty well Mark.

I believe there's a few queens in a hive but only one "Mated Queen".

As Mark said, only split the hive if it's a strong hive, big brood and plenty of activity. Split only in warmer months.

There's heaps of different opinions about what and what not to do when splitting hives but I think there's a lot of unproven theories. Like, some people say you must move the new hive 1km away, but I've never done that and the ones I've seen haven't done it and they've worked out ok.

One issue is pests getting in to a weak hive and killing it, so try to have a good seal around your hive so any intruders have to go through the main entrance, and the bees will be able to deal with them.

Another issue is if your new hive doesn't "re-queen". They need to find and mate with a new queen, sometimes that doesn't happen. The hive will continue for months looking like normal but will gradually reduce activity and eventually die off as they're not producing any new bees. Native bees wont abandon a hive, they will just die off. They can split themselves and create a new hive, but the old hive will keep going in it existing place.

and a useless bit of information, Native Bees don't see red flowers very well. Humans can see the red part of the colour spectrum better but we can't see the UV, where as bees can see UV better but not red very well. Apparently bees can see the UV part of the flower petals which have lines that direct them to the pollen in the center of the flower.

So maybe there's no point growing red flowers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mark

Joseph T

Member
Premium Member
Nov 25, 2015
1
3
15
Climate
Tropical
Hi Steve,

It's really interesting and excited to see what you have.

I need some good advice from you.

I've just moved a hive from a narrow tree trunk into a box. And after moving, I find that there are very few worker bees around. Any idea how long does it take for them to rebuild the new hive?

I'm new to this

Thank you,
Joseph
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: stevo and Mark

stevo

Backyard Farmer
Premium Member
Jun 13, 2013
1,775
665
361
Clontarf, Qld
nativebeehives.com
Climate
Sub-Tropical
Hi Joseph ... wooooops... I didn't even see this one!

It's sort of hard to tell from the photo, What's the dimensions of the box? What size what the tree trunk? Did you get all the material? Is there any activity in the hive?

What area are you in? North Qld Australia?

Can you get any close up photos of the bees to better identify them? It's possibly Hockingsi
 
Last edited:

stevo

Backyard Farmer
Premium Member
Jun 13, 2013
1,775
665
361
Clontarf, Qld
nativebeehives.com
Climate
Sub-Tropical
I'm not sure exactly which one it was, possibly Phorid Fly. One of my hives that I keep on another property died, I assume it was because it didn't re-queen then grew weaker and eventually was invaded because it couldn't defend itself. A strong hive can usually defend itself. I have seen bees in another hive throw a grub out and the hive is still strong nearly a year later.
 

OskarDoLittle

Valued Member
Premium Member
GOLD
Jan 10, 2016
359
163
186
Brisbane
Climate
Sub-Tropical
Hi stevo...
I've been snooping around your native bee hive site - I'm thinking about adding a native bee hive plus or minus the odd solitary bee hotel. The next door neighbour's gardener (why would you get a gardener...isn't the point doing it yourself?...But I digress) mentioned that you don't actually have to do anything much with native bees, they can simply be left to their own devices. I'm not so much interested in harvesting honey, splitting hives etc just adding some pollinators, and because I think they're pretty cool. Could I literally just add a hive to the garden and leave them to it? I'd have thought if there was overcrowding eventually they'd split the hive themselves and some would leave? Obviously they're perfectly capable of managing this in wild hives!
I do have a small number of native bees in the garden already...would it be problematic to add in a bought swarm of bees, or do you just hope that your new hive will be populated from the surrounding bees (this would seem unlikely to me unless there was a nearby hive that was overpopulated)
Can I also have a solitary bee hotel in proximity, or are some bees competitive?
Sorry about the Spanish Inquisition on natives! Hope you can help
 

stevo

Backyard Farmer
Premium Member
Jun 13, 2013
1,775
665
361
Clontarf, Qld
nativebeehives.com
Climate
Sub-Tropical
I just saw your post Oskar

Yeap, you can place a stingless bee hive and forget it and they just look after themselves, never actually need to be split or honey removed. It can be good insurance to split a hive after a couple of years so you have a second hive, or third hive.

Yeap you can add a full hive to your yard even if there's other native bees there, shouldn't be a problem at all.

Yeap, if you have a hive going and they are doing really well they may eventually split themselves and create a new hive. The mated queen will never leave the hive so the old hive will always be there unless it dies off due to pests etc.

Yeap, you can put a solitary hotel in the same area as the stingless hive. I have stingless hives right beside each other and solitary hotels scattered around the yard.

Nope, if you put an empty box in your yard it's very unlikely that stingless bees will populate it. Though there are cases were people have had a few hives swarming or fighting and they place an empty box amongst the action with some hive materials in it and capture the swarm, called something like a trap or bait hive.

I don't have any full populated hives available at the moment. I think the general price is around $400 to $550 for a hive including bees. If you buy one make sure you get some kind of guarantee, maybe 12 months. There's a risk that you can buy a hive that hasn't got a queen and will appear fine for months but gradually die.

For hotels, you can get creative and build all kinds of structures with bamboo and drilled logs or timber blocks

Hopefully my blabbering on has helped, and thanks for looking around my site! :cheers:

PS. Here's a list of people that sell hives http://www.aussiebee.com.au/buy-stingless-bees.html
 

OskarDoLittle

Valued Member
Premium Member
GOLD
Jan 10, 2016
359
163
186
Brisbane
Climate
Sub-Tropical
I just saw your post Oskar

Yeap, you can place a stingless bee hive and forget it and they just look after themselves, never actually need to be split or honey removed. It can be good insurance to split a hive after a couple of years so you have a second hive, or third hive.

Yeap you can add a full hive to your yard even if there's other native bees there, shouldn't be a problem at all.

Yeap, if you have a hive going and they are doing really well they may eventually split themselves and create a new hive. The mated queen will never leave the hive so the old hive will always be there unless it dies off due to pests etc.

Yeap, you can put a solitary hotel in the same area as the stingless hive. I have stingless hives right beside each other and solitary hotels scattered around the yard.

Nope, if you put an empty box in your yard it's very unlikely that stingless bees will populate it. Though there are cases were people have had a few hives swarming or fighting and they place an empty box amongst the action with some hive materials in it and capture the swarm, called something like a trap or bait hive.

I don't have any full populated hives available at the moment. I think the general price is around $400 to $550 for a hive including bees. If you buy one make sure you get some kind of guarantee, maybe 12 months. There's a risk that you can buy a hive that hasn't got a queen and will appear fine for months but gradually die.

For hotels, you can get creative and build all kinds of structures with bamboo and drilled logs or timber blocks

Hopefully my blabbering on has helped, and thanks for looking around my site! :cheers:

PS. Here's a list of people that sell hives http://www.aussiebee.com.au/buy-stingless-bees.html
Thanks stevo, that's enormously helpful blabbering!
Will try to get onto that shortly (along with the million other things I'm trying to do !)
 
  • Like
Reactions: stevo

OskarDoLittle

Valued Member
Premium Member
GOLD
Jan 10, 2016
359
163
186
Brisbane
Climate
Sub-Tropical
Hmmmm...the "eduction" method hey? Ummmm I was thinking I'd buy in a flock and hope for the best!
Which would you recommend, and I don't suppose you happen to have any spare "flocks" around at the moment??
(BTW what's the eduction method, and how do I "split on"....sounds like this would require me to already have a hive?)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: stevo

stevo

Backyard Farmer
Premium Member
Jun 13, 2013
1,775
665
361
Clontarf, Qld
nativebeehives.com
Climate
Sub-Tropical
ahh sorry I thought you wanted to split a hive. Yeah if you have an existing hive you can connect up another empty box to it and force the bees to enter and exit via the new empty box. Over time they'll fill out the new box with resources and may start creating a new hive and add a new queen, then you separate the boxes and you have two hives. This is not always successful though.

Here's a website with a list of people that sell full hives: http://aussiebee.com.au/buy-stingless-bees.html

They'll be around $350 - $550. Sounds expensive but over the years you can split them to get more, possibly sell one and get your money back, but it will be a slow process.
 
Last edited: