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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Tbh combine or winter in same hive?

    So I have two tbhs that are weak. They both have a brood nest of approx five combs. One is seems a bit weak and the other just lacks honey. Well they both lack honey. I am trying to fed them, but they are slow at taking the sugar syrup. I have added lemongrass oil and honey. They do not appear to have any brood disease. So I am not sure what do so with them. At this point if they both perished this winter I would cut all the combs and place them in Lang frames.

    So my questions...should I combine them, leave them alone, or try to hive them in a single tbh? I have a 4 ft tbh that I could fit them all in with a fb in between. I don't think that the fb is air tight, but I would fix that with silicone or newspaper or something.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,467

    Default Re: Tbh combine or winter in same hive?

    I'm not sure you would gain anything by combining them then separating them with a FB. Still two colonies but in the same TBH.
    Not quite sure.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Tbh combine or winter in same hive?

    They would gain some heat by sharing the same hive space. It would sort of be like stacking nucs to winter. I understand that heat rises, but they may gain some benefit.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Essex, England, UK
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Tbh combine or winter in same hive?

    I would guess the idea is that two colonys in one hive should benefit them insulation wise. Not sure I would go down that path, I would just keep them seperate, insulate each one individually, leave them to it and see how they are in spring.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,445

    Default Re: Tbh combine or winter in same hive?

    Weird, my bees run through sugar water very quickly. Could it be they are on some other source for forage?

    I would leave them separated for the winter, think of them as two Nucs. Hopefully you can feed them fondant to help them make it through the winter. He who's name can not be spoken has a video on YouTube showing how he fills old brood comb with fondant. I've also see another video that showed someone (I can't remember his name) using old brood come to hold sugar water. You could also make candy boards and feed fondant that way. I would wait until later in the year before you feed them fondant. We still have a decent month of forage left down here, but you probably don't have that much time before hard frosts.

    The good thing is that it sounds like you have two first year hives, if they make it through the winter you should have a better second year.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Tbh combine or winter in same hive?

    Oh we are well past any forage around here. This was a second year hive that I split after I found swarm cells. I am going to check on my feeders, which I moved closer to the brood nest (edit-I literally pushed the empty combs back to slide the feeder forward and put empty top bars over it), to see if they are taking feed faster in this fashion. My Warre and Langs will down any feed I give them pretty much overnight.

    Feeding fondant is something that I am struggling with. I have no problem doing it, but I'm not sure the best way to do it in a TBH. In my Warre or Lang you just place a slab above the cluster and they are good to go. I suppose I could always drill a few holes in one of the top bars for the bees to get access. The temperatures likely won't get warm enough for me to open the hive until March. If the weather gods don't smile upon me I may have to wait until April for good enough temps. So scraping fondant in an old brood comb may not be an option until early spring.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,445

    Default Re: Tbh combine or winter in same hive?

    You can make a frame to hold the fondant. Replace the first free top bar (or more, depending on the size of the frame you make) with the frame. This would go just in front of the follower board. I wouldn't drill holes in the top myself. You can put this in even if it was below freezing, since the exposure would be for a very short period of time.

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