I thought I might have offended someone when no one posted.
It's ok, Harold/Mark, we try not to discriminate against the blues here. I'm sure your beekeepers are just as good, even if you do have rugby issues.
Does a total fire ban include smokers?
You'd be lucky to spot a queen returning from a mating flight but it is possible. A drone is more common, a big boof-headed male that lazes around and likes to be fed :)
It is expensive running fridges for bee gear, but really is the best option. Moths can ruin good frames in a very short period. Yes, it is always good to circulate frames. You might like to move two frames in the brood box towards the edge each year, then when they have no brood or only capped brood move them into the honey super and clean them of old comb or replace them when you've extracted. This will recycle all your frames in 5 years. But don't worry about that yet.
The dry certainly can affect flowering, although some things only seem to flower when it's dry. It can help to reduce issues like beetles and mould, though. Just make sure they have a close water supply. Ours tend to drink from the rough concrete sides of a goldfish pond and ignore the waterlilies we planted for them.
Hello John, I put our limit at 10 hives which we reached last weekend, but then the offsider went and bought gear for 3 more hives. Geoff comes from Gippsland, our Yinnar Fellar. He has lemon scented pink flowering gum but he won't let us steal any.
Congrats on the swarm. I've never had a hive swarm. Let us know how your split hives fare.