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Thread: Combining Hives

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    Palestine, Tx. 75801
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    When combining two hives, and empty hive is left where the combined hive was, should the bees that go back to the old hive spot be combined also? The reason I ask this question since the literature explains that the bees are down sizing for the winter months. Here in Northeast Texas the temps are still rather warm, and flutuating.
    jrhelliott@gmail.com

  2. #2

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    I would....You can never have too many bees going into winter, as long as you have enough food in there.

    [size="1"][ November 26, 2005, 11:01 AM: Message edited by: newbee 101 ][/size]
    "To bee or not to bee"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    When I've combined hives, the 2-4 days they spend chewing their way through the paper seems to disrupt them enough so they reorient on their new location without a problem. I've always combined hives either early in the morning, late in the evening, or on a nasty day when they weren't flying much and I've never left a hive for stragglers, nor noticed a significant number of bees looking for their old home- a few maybe, but not lots. I assume they managed to find another hive to call home. If you combine after the foragers have returned, it shouldn't be a problem.

    I see no reason why you couldn't leave a hive body or nuc at the old location to pick up stragglers, but I'm not sure how you'd introduce them to the other hive easily. The last combine I did was quite late in the season and also "last minute" and I did leave a hive body at the old location, but I didn't collect any bees.

    I'm still new at this. Other advice may vary!
    Dulcius ex asperis

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >I see no reason why you couldn't leave a hive body or nuc at the old location to pick up stragglers

    The problem is that it encourages the stragglers. [img]smile.gif[/img] I'd put it there just before dark to pick up the stragglers, but not before that. That way they will try to find the new location first.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    >The problem is that it encourages the stragglers.

    Makes perfect sense [img]smile.gif[/img]

    I figured with the old hive sitting on a new hive with newspaper underneath and the top entrance closed, I had no easy way to get stragglers INTO the hive without opening it and letting more bees out. So I just waited till most were home, smoked `em, then combined `em and let what few stragglers there might be find their own way. Different situation from moving a hive.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Palestine, Tx. 75801
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    In the summer time when it was hot, 90+ I left a top entrance above the newspaper. In the late fall you don't need to leave a top entrance? I did, maybe that why I had a 1000+ - bees at the old hive location?
    jrhelliott@gmail.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    >In the late fall you don't need to leave a top entrance? I did, maybe that why I had a 1000+ - bees at the old hive location?

    I would say yes, that's why. My understanding of the newspaper combine is that the bees need to feel confined and have only one way out- through the paper. This inspires them to chew their way out and in so doing, mingle with the other bees. By the time they make it to the outside world, they've been disrupted enough so they reorient without a problem.

    So an upper entrance is not a good idea, but ventilation IS a good idea, especially if it's hot. I did a few combines mid-summer and I taped window screen over the inner cover hole, and propped up the telescoping cover. That let `em breath, but not escape. I suppose you could just prop up the inner cover with a 1/8" stick. The last time it was fall, and I didn't bother with ventilation.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    If you do something to trigger reorientation (a branch they have to fly through or 72 hours of confinement), sometimes more and sometimes less go back to the old location but it's only somewhere between a hundred and a thousand. If there is no where for them to go they will circle in a growing spiral until they find the new location.

    If you don't do anything to trigger reorientation, almost all of the field bees will fly back to the old location.

    I try to have no equipment at the old location until just before dark, so they will be encouraged to find the new location, IF they fly back to it. But a box just before dark can sometimes help if there is a cluster of bees hanging out there. Then you can move that box next to the new location with a branch in front of it. I've never had any bees at the old location the next night.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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