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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Keene, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    21

    Default Combining queenless hive with smaller hives

    I had a strong hive come through the winter and I have made three splits from it to prevent swarming. Two of these splits have made their own queen (saw eggs, larvae, and capped brood yesterday), and the third is wall to wall brood on five frames with larvae and eggs. I am guessing the original queen went with this hive. (I have never been good at finding my queens - I just look for eggs now.)
    Yesterday, I checked the original hive. It is two deeps (for brood) and two honey supers. Every box is full of capped honey and a little pollen and uncapped honey. By the time I got down to inspecting the lowest deep looking for brood, those bees were getting very angry. There was not one capped cell of brood, nada, just honey, and thousands of bees. I put the hive back together faster than I ever had! I know I squished more than a couple bees, but they were raging mad and stinging through my pants and getting in my shoes.
    What I am wondering is: Can I take the honey and combine these queenless bees with two other hives (one of them is one of the splits, the other a hive I requeened in mid June). These are smaller in population and I would like to build them up. How can I get the bees out of the honey, since there is no brood box below for them to go into?
    Will the new hive accept foreign bees anyway?
    Or should I just requeen them, take the supers with the honey, and give them an empty super to move the lower honey up, so the new queen has a place to lay eggs?

    This is a new dilemma for me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,068

    Default Re: Combining queenless hive with smaller hives

    Take the honey and brush off the bees as you do so. They will go back into the hive. Then you can newspaper combine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Keene, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Combining queenless hive with smaller hives

    Thanks, Mr. B.

    I have been reading up on newspaper combining. Beekeeping for Dummies says to keep the strongest hive where it is, newspaper it (one sheet w/ holes poked through) and then put the weaker hive on top.
    In my case, I am trying to figure out which is the strongest hive - the one with tons of bees (no queen, just honey) or the one with a queen, eggs and brood, but fewer bees.

    I' d be open to any suggestions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Ashburn, VA, USA
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Combining queenless hive with smaller hives

    I'm in nearly the same boat and opted to go the re-queening route. However, while considering a combine I decided that I would put the smaller nuc with a queen on top of the larger queenless hive. I have no idea if that is right, but as I thought about it I didn't think it would make that much difference. So in the long run I decided to coop up the smaller number of bees.

    I decided to re-queen because I may need my nuc to combine with a split that's looking a little iffy. It's been a tough year for me and queens.

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