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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Statesville, North Carolina
    Posts
    60

    Default Question about combining hives

    I have two hives that aren't doing very well. I was out of the country for about two weeks. When I came back, I found that the weaker of the two hives was queenless, no eggs, no larvae, almost no capped brood. I would like to combine it with another. The hives are about 150 feet apart. My question is, if I just go ahead and combine them, won't the foragers get confused and die? Do I try to seal the hive and move it closer to the other, put grass on the entrance and let everyone re-orient? Is there another way to do this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Question about combining hives

    Take the top off the strong hive and lay a sheet of newspaper on it. Then put the weak hive on top. Make sure there is nothing, not even a stand, at the weak hives old location. Some foragers will go back there but they will eventually beg their way into the strong hive.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Statesville, North Carolina
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Question about combining hives

    OK, yesterday, I started moving bees from the weak hive into the stronger hive. Put the newspaper in, and started moving bars, and there was the queen. Very spotty brood pattern, a few larvae on one side of two bars front and back. Don't know how I missed her last week. They are building a small bit of comb even. I think I need to start feeding them?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Question about combining hives

    Throw some syrup and pollen on them and give her a chance to prove her worth. If she fails to improve that laying pattern you can always pinch her and combine later.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Question about combining hives

    Oh, and throw a frame of capped brood and bees (No queen though!!) from the strong hive in to give the weak hive a boost.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    493

    Default Re: Question about combining hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyvern View Post
    . Don't know how I missed her last week. They are building a small bit of comb even. I think I need to start feeding them?
    Sounds like a classic swarmed hive and newly raised queen getting her bearings. Give them a month and see what happens. Definitely go with the advise of moving a frame of brood (and nurse bees) from the strong hive for a boost.
    feeding will have to do with how well they are doing on there own with forageing. In my neck of the woods we are really dry but the girls are still flying well and working whats left of the sweet clover.

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