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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Andover, Ohio
    Posts
    165

    Default Is it too late to combine 2 weak hives in NE Ohio?

    Two of my hives will not be built up enough I think to overwinter. One hive has 6-7 full frames of bees, brood, honey, etc and the other hive is a full 8 frame deep. Both queens are new this summer and seem to be doing well. I hate to have to kill one of the queens, but I dont think I have a choice. Is it too late here in northeast Ohio to do a combine? Or has anyone had success overwintering a single 8 frame deep? I could also stack these between two very strong 2 deep hives. Any suggestions? These are Carniolan/mutts.
    USDA Zone 5B

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Bay City, MI 48706
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Is it too late to combine 2 weak hives in NE Ohio?

    I overwintered a 10 frame med two years ago, it was full of honey.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: Is it too late to combine 2 weak hives in NE Ohio?

    I usually winter single 9 frame deeps. One year I tried with 8 frames and frame feeder in place for spring feeding and they wintered well.
    If your hive has a good queen, healthy bees and enough stores going into winter you should have no problems.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: Is it too late to combine 2 weak hives in NE Ohio?

    I have successfully overwintered 5 frame nucs. You could/should give them some dry sugar or a candy board. Another option would be to stack the 2 on top of each other separated by a double screen so that they can share each others heat.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ravenna, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    303

    Default Re: Is it too late to combine 2 weak hives in NE Ohio?

    There is a misconception that you have to go into winter with every hive being a "boomer" colony. We like boomers, because we equate that to more honey production/strength. Not always the case. Often these "booming" colonies are ones that now, left untreated, have booming populations of mites to match and they end up crashing in early winter. This can be further compounded by the fact that large clusters will require more reserves to winter over and can quickly run out.

    Another thing to consider is the breed of bee . . . Italians will continue to brood all winter, making it less likely for them to move to reserves adjacent to a frame or get separated during a sudden drop in temps and freeze in place, due to larger clusters. Whereas, Carnolians/Russians will go broodless and more readily migrate to reserves, existing as a smaller cluster.

    I have seen more often than not, small clusters that come out of winter like champs if treated and fed well.

    As folks have said, winter feeding is critical (fondant or candy board works well). Mites . . . always a problem.
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