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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    24

    Default Most useful thing to do with failing hive?

    I've got two hives started from packages this year, one's doing great, tons of bees, lots of honey, looking really strong, the other never really took off, I think they were queenless for a while, then (maybe) had a queen for a little while (I suspect the superseded the package queen), but they are now clearly qeenless and have been so for at least an entire brood cycle (no brood except a few drones).

    Anyways,
    My main question is what to do with the few bees and comb that remain, should I just plop them into the other hive? Anything I should be worried about while doing that? It seems unlikely that it would cause any real problems, the stronger hive is SO much stronger and has SO many more bees. Maybe I should just brush off the few remaining bees and donate the drawn out comb to the other hive?

    There's maybe 3 halfway drawn bars of comb and one full bar of comb. Probably if all the bees got on one comb they might make up a single full bar of bees. The strong hive has at least a dozen full bars of bees+comb

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,263

    Default Re: Most useful thing to do with failing hive?

    One frame of old bees are of no use to any colony this late in the season, especially if the could be carrying heavy varroa/virus loads. Be sure to inspect the comb for any signs of disease before you add to the other colony.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Most useful thing to do with failing hive?

    Brush the bees off onto the ground and let them beg their way into your other hive. Then add the drawn bars to the hive without the bees on them. I think this is a safer way to join, than just adding frames of questionable bees into a hive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, Washington, USA
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Most useful thing to do with failing hive?

    I am with Ray, but earlier in the season they would be great to use as a mating nuc for a new queen.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Grayson, KY
    Posts
    274

    Default Re: Most useful thing to do with failing hive?

    Do a newspaper combine.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Most useful thing to do with failing hive?

    I think that's what I'll do. I doubt they are diseased - I'm just fairly certain they're queenless and pretty much always have been. Brushing off the bees and transferring the comb over sounds solid.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Most useful thing to do with failing hive?

    Just be sure you don't transfer laying workers. I believe that is why RayMarler recommended brushing the bees off outside and making them beg entrance.

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