Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Combining small nuc with larger possibly queenless hive

    Any suggestions for combining a small nuc with about 1 frame of bees and a queen with a larger hive that is possibly queenless? Standard newspaper combine? Test for queenlessness by placing queen in cage on top of frames in the bigger hive? Does a single frame of brood and a queen even need a newspaper combine? Can I just put it in the hive?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,789

    Default Re: Combining small nuc with larger possibly queenless hive

    You can just put it in the hive, so long as the hive is queenless and does not have laying workers. Set the queenless nuc up next to the hive so the upper levels are even with each other and remove the lids. If one is queenless, the bees will move from the queenless hive to the queen-right hive. What you said about caging the queen and setting on top bars of the hive also works, the bees will tell you if they need a queen or not by how they either pay attention to the queen or try to kill her in the cage.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Combining small nuc with larger possibly queenless hive

    It's the small nuc with the definite queen. I made it up out of a few brood frames from the big hive and the remains of my other hive a bear ate. I think I might have accidentally put the queen in the nuc, but am not sure. The big hive has no obvious signs of queenlessness, and no queen cells, but I haven't seen the queen in weeks. Also, the queen in the nuc lost her marked white spot. It all makes me suspicious. I think the only answer will be to put the queen in a cage and test them. I have been wanting to move the whole lot of them into a different hive body and combine them anyway. I think it would be best for winter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: Combining small nuc with larger possibly queenless hive

    I would spray the frames with the queen from the nuc with an essential oil/water and spray the hive with oil. Then put the nuc frames in middle of queenless hive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,789

    Default Re: Combining small nuc with larger possibly queenless hive

    You don't need to see the queen to know if she's there or not. If she's there she should still be laying this time of year, so you should see eggs and very small open larva. If no eggs and no small larva then it's pretty indicative of no queen... or a virgin queen can be present but not mated/laying yet.

    This is the time of year to join/combine hives that don't look like they'll make it up to strength for winter. another option, if you are queen-right in the hives, is to reduce them to nucs for over winter. A frame of brood with three frames of stores at thanksgiving should make it, if they are healthy bees.

    If you can't find the queens or determine if they are queenless or not, that is when I'll use the newspaper method of combining. They will still fight and there'll be some losses from it, but it does work and give stronger total hive in the end, for over wintering in.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Combining small nuc with larger possibly queenless hive

    Sounds reasonable. OK, question #2 - I currently have four hives:
    One large hive with 9 brood frames and about an equal number of honey frames (possibly queenless).
    One nuc with a single frame of brood and some stores frame and a half maybe.
    Another larger hive with about 6 brood frames and 3 honey frames.
    A smaller hive with a few brood frames and a frame or two of honey.

    All except the biggest are being fed. Any suggestions for a winter survival strategy? It's been a bad dry year and they didn't build up very well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Default Re: Combining small nuc with larger possibly queenless hive

    I'd smoke them, but it in and smoke them again.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Combining small nuc with larger possibly queenless hive

    Today, I took the queen from the nuc and marked her, then placed her in a cage which I sat across the frames of the larger hive. The bees reacted by feeding and trying to groom the queen, and sort of made a mini swarm on her. I took this to mean they were queenless, so I placed the queen back on her brood frame from the nuc and installed it into the larger hive. Then I split the rest of the nuc frames as extras in the big hive. I am pretty sure it was the right thing to do. I saw no fighting or bee stress at all.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,789

    Default Re: Combining small nuc with larger possibly queenless hive

    Sounds like you did it just right. That's how I install queens, setting the cage on the top bars and watching the bees.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads