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  1. #1

    Default Should I Combine Or What?

    So one of my formerly strong hives that I haven't looked in for awhile (or deep enough into in a while), there was no brood whatsever. No capped brood, etc. It has been that long that they've been without a queen. However, there may have been a capped queen cell or some queen cells that recently hatched. I don't know. And that's the conundrum. This have was 4 mediums with no brood.

    It's late in the season. Sept. 14th in Utah. So what do I do. What's the point in combining them with another smaller hive (I have a couple of hives that I've been building up from nucs) if there is no brood in it? They could help gather stores, but they can do that on their own?

    They could provide more "coverage" if I combined them with the small (one deep) hives so the queen in that smaller hive would lay over a larger area?

    Or it could be that I shouldn't combine because just MAYBE there was a queen in this have about to mate, or recently mated, and she might start laying in the next couple days? But is that going to happen so late? Are there drones still? (I forgot to look.)

    To late to order a queen from anyone?

    So that's my point. What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing something NOW or waiting a few weeks. But if I wait then what's the point in even combining? I could just their stores and put it with the smaller hives?

    Your thoughts would be appreciated.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA


    Did you try and look for a queen? That is where I would start. If there are other hives in the area, then don't bother looking for drone, drones from other hives will find a virgin queen and it makes for stronger queens anyway.

    If you can find a laying queen somewhere and re-queen it may not be too late, but we are getting close. If not, I would take the stores from the hive and place them into you hives that are lacking stores. Do a newspaper combine of the bees from the queenless hive to your weakest hive. It will strengthen the hive in cases of robbing and they will gather more stores before they die out for the winter.

    But...before you do anything with the hive make sure you have no queen. It may take a bit to find her, but we are still having nice days and take your time and really search.

    Best of luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    tulsa, ok usa


    Take your winter loss now and combine with a small colony. It is too late to build up a weak colony and expect to get any honey from it next spring.
    Home of the ventilated and sting resistant Ultra Breeze bee suits and jackets

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Yuba County, California, USA


    grab a frame with eggs and hatching eggs from another hive and put in this one. If no queen in it, they'll start queen cells, if there is a queen, they won't start queen cells. Put the frame in it and check it 3 days later. That's a good way to find if you have a queen or not.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    College Station, Texas


    of course some races of bees will shut down brood rearing early (which in my mind is a positive attribute). this curtailment of brood rearing is triggered by season or lack of something coming in the front door.

    from your description I have no idea of your season or the kind of bees you might have in the little white box????

    if they are queenless or between queens there are certain signs that suggest both.

    in the meantime and with limited information avialable I would likely do exactly what ray marler has suggested.


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