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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,817

    Default Fall combining of hives

    I have two 30 bar KTBH's, one of them is very strong with 25 bars of comb and bees, the other is much weaker (they went queenless for a long period earlier in the season) occupying only about 10 bars. With the harsh winters we have here in Michigan I am concerned that the smaller hive may not have a large enough cluster to stay warm, and thus survive, they do have a good bit of honey and pollen stored in those 10 bars, but even that may not be enough to see them through. I could always feed them this fall to increase the stores, but with the small cluster they could still die out. Should I combine them with the stronger hive, I figure I could remove the rear 5 bars that are not being used yet from the strong hive, then transfer 5 bars solid with honey, pollen and bees into the empty space created, then dump the rest of the bee population from the weak hive in also. Obviously, I would remove the queen first from the weak hive and dispose of her. Does this sound like a good plan? Thanks. John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Accord, NY
    Posts
    333

    Default Re: Fall combining of hives

    It depends. Sometimes it works that simple, sometimes there are a lot of casualties, the only queen left would, of course, be the worse casualty of all.
    On he other hand I've had hives overwinter great on just eight bars. It depends on how small is the cluster and how much stores in that comb.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default Re: Fall combining of hives

    What would be the point of dumping bees into an already strong hive, especially if you plan on killing the queen of the weaker hive? I suggest you let them weather it out. The strong hive will do well with its current population and the weaker hive just might surprise you. Worse case if the weaker hive dies and then you can use the stores from that to add to your strong hive in early spring if they need it. The better case if you will have two colonies going into next spring.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

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