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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Oronoco, MN USA
    Posts
    14

    Question Switcheroo

    I have two hives about three feet apart. One is either on the verge of or has reached overpopulation (have added one honey super already, and will be putting on second today). The other is totally opposite--it seems to be a really slow hive, in fact they have hardly started on the frames in the second deep box. The queen is still around in the latter hive, as I am still finding larvae and eggs. I also put a super on this hive, but I don't think they have even noticed it yet.

    A beekeeper friend suggested that I switch the two hives around (meaning the entire hives), so that when the bees of the over-populated hive come back "home", they will end up at the under-populated hive. In theory this makes sense as bees are creatures of habit, but I was wondering if anyone else could comment on this strategy.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Pigeon Falls, WI
    Posts
    2,529

    Default Re: Switcheroo

    That is an easy way to "equalize" the strength of your hive. You have to be careful in cool weather when this is done because moving a really strong hive with lots of brood and putting it in place of a weak hive you risk the chance of getting chilled brood. You will then have 2 weak hives. This time of year you should be alright. Take some brood from the strong hive and place it in the wk when you do this or just swap them around. Take mental or written notes of what you do and see what the outcome is of the procedure. All steps of the learning ladder of beekeeping.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    South San Ysidro, NM
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: Switcheroo

    I will second Beeslave's comment. Swap hive locations or give them a frame of brood to boost the weaker one if you want to. However, keep an eye on them for an underlying cause of their weakness. If the queen is not laying a decent amount of brood, you may want to consider replacing her.

    As an aside, a few years ago I worked the Highway 52 bridge replacement project in your town. I was monitoring water quality in Shady Lake during the construction. It was a nice little project - they wanted me there quite a bit even though there wasn't much work involved.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Oronoco, MN USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Switcheroo

    Thanks to both of you for your replies. Switching out frames sounds a whole lot easier than switching the entire hives, so think I will start with that.

    The queen seems to be doing her job--lots of capped brood in the lower box, but I will continue to check on her.

    Ardilla: they should have kept you around for a few more years--that lake has taken a real turn for the worse. They are contemplating taking the dam out and letting the river return.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Pigeon Falls, WI
    Posts
    2,529

    Default Re: Switcheroo

    [QUOTE=rochrunner;444580]Thanks to both of you for your replies. Switching out frames sounds a whole lot easier than switching the entire hives, so think I will start with that.QUOTE]

    Break the hives apart and move one box at a time to make the task a little easier. If you just swap frames and give brood frames make sure there is enough bees in the weaker hive to cover the brood you give them. If you just take undrawn from the wk hive and give them honey and/or pollen frames from the strong there should be no worries. Shake the bees off of them first so you don't cause fighting.

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