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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sagaponack, NY, USA
    Posts
    33

    Lightbulb Combining hives.....

    Hello all! I have a question about which hives to combine::::

    I have three strong hives and two weak hives.

    Strong Hives are as follows:

    1. third year hive who was requeened this spring due to aggressive behavior. healthy feisty hive with good stores and brood.

    2. split from Hive 1 made in the spring. great looking hive! docile and fruitful.

    3. Feral hive from a cut out in late July. Massive queen, great layer.

    Weak Hives are as follows:

    A. Third year hive that survived SHB, Wax moth, and EFB all in one season. Doing well. First year queen.

    B. Nuc made by mistake (don't ask) from Weak Hive A during the infestation. First year queen. Hive is hanging in there, but really not populous enough for overwintering.


    Sooooo.....do I combine two weak hives? one weak hive with a strong hive? or combine both weak hives with one strong hive? And which queen is expired since all are first year queens except for the feral hive.....

    Thanks,
    Zoe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Mendham, NJ
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    combine 2 weaks, kill inferior queen or capture and sell her. then feed the snot out of them, they should be fine. how were they treated?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sagaponack, NY, USA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    thanks! but which is the inferior queen??? the one that has had a few months to bring her hive back to their "fighting weight" or the one who kept a "discarded hive" together and made it happen???

    we didn't treat...we just removed the infected frames, frooze them, put in hive beetle traps, entrance reducer, and maybe a frame of brood from another hive. been feeding all hives for about two weeks now....

  4. #4

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    Hi Zoe,

    Sounds like me yesterday.

    I had a weak hive from a queen I saw come out of her cell in July and made a nuc - never really built up beyond 6-7 frames, even with brood added. I also had a Carni colony that I think I left alone too long at an out yard in one box and it swarmed before I added another deep. That hive is busting out of the single box now. Yesterday I found the first queen - she was huge with about 5/8 of abdomen beyond her wings, but seems to be a loser. So I popped her in a Q cage with a couple of workers (just in case) and did a newspaper combine. I put the better hive on top (maybe stupid). Today there are a lot of newspaper shreds on the grass in front of the hive. Once they seem stable I'll feed like crazy. Good luck with your combo.

    For you maybe the inferior queen will be the one that you can find without too much trouble - I'll defer to others whether holding onto the removed queen for a day or 3 is typical/useful. After that she goes in 95% ETOH.
    Brian

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,489

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    Quote Originally Posted by ZoeRod View Post
    thanks! but which is the inferior queen???
    Who knows so why are you combining? Next spring will answer your question if you are patient.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    I probably wouldn't combine any of them. Feed the weak hives if they are short on stores, and give them a chance. I was able to bring two very small, week hives through the winter last year by setting them on top of strong hives separated by a double screen board. I think a lot of heat goes up through the double screened bottom and helps the small top cluster maintain adequate temperatures. I have four weak hives that I plan on wintering this way again this year. One is a small swarm I caught on Labor day. They are only about a softball size, but I'm going to see if I can get them through the winter.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sagaponack, NY, USA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    Lots of great ideas.....I just don't think that the two weak hives will make it through the winter. I do like the idea of stacking them with a double screen board.

    I guess I can just keep feeding and wait another few weeks before deciding what to do....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Auburntown, TN USA
    Posts
    237

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    How many frames of bees in each weak hive? Nucs can be overwintered, even in your area.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sagaponack, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    Well....the Nuc has at most three frames of bees. The other weak hive has about six or seven frames of bees.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Auburntown, TN USA
    Posts
    237

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    In that case, l would agree with Waterbird and combine these 2 and feed syrup as long as you can and then put sugar or fondant on top for insurance.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,489

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    Quote Originally Posted by ZoeRod View Post
    Well....the Nuc has at most three frames of bees. The other weak hive has about six or seven frames of bees.
    I just looked up Sagaponack, NY to see where it is. Wow, average Real estate value is over 4 mil.

    You have almost no winter and you are not hurting for cash so I vote that you do throw these hives on top of the strong one but do not combine. I wouldn't even feed them. The purpose is to learn if these weak hives are determined to make it. Because if they are their genetics would be good.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,120

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    I find it odd that the average value of real estate in an area is a pertinent factor in the best course of action in managing bees though a northern winter. But perhaps it is just me that is confused ...

    I would check to see if any of the stronger hives have some resources that may be available to assist the nucs through the winter. You may find it reasonable to move some honey (at least), and then feed all the hives.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sagaponack, NY, USA
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    33

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    Thanks Rader...on all counts.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
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    461

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    As I said before, put your weak hives on top of a couple of strong hives. By doing this I got a nuc through the winter and there was only one and a half frames of bees. They turned out to be my best hive this season, and I have 20 hives. I raised several queens from her this year, and I'm anxious to see how her daughters do. You may be surprised at what they can do if you give them a chance.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sagaponack, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    You're not going to believe this......but the stronger of the two weak hives...or should i say the more populous....have gone queenless...don't know how. But there's no brood, and no queen. they have plenty of honey...

    So...I know this is not the best way to do it but due to lack of time and the issue with re-orienting the bees, we decided to place the queen-right weaker hive up top with its entrance facing the opposite direction divided from bottom hive by newspaper. hope it goes ok. will let you know.....

    funny how at the end of the day, the bees decided for us!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    Quote Originally Posted by ZoeRod View Post
    You're not going to believe this......
    Sure I will.
    funny how at the end of the day, the bees decided for us!
    I can guarantee you the bees did not decide on putting one hive on top of the other with newsprint in between. You mentioned problems and EFB infection with that stronger hive. If the combined hive doesn't make it what will be the cause?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,120

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    > If the combined hive doesn't make it what will be the cause?

    Dead bees!



    Read about results of his non-intervention style here:
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...tee#post753368

    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sagaponack, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    i guess we felt strongly that either way, we'd have dead bees.

    1. tiny nuc
    2. one queenless hive.....

    now you're making me regret it.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    1,291

    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    If you stack hives with a double screen do you put food on top of the upper frames of each hive or cross your fingers for the lower, stronger hive?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
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    Default Re: Combining hives.....

    Note that ZoeRod has in effect done a newspaper combine,
    hive up top with its entrance facing the opposite direction divided from bottom hive by newspaper.
    so really there is only one hive to feed once the bees dispense with the newspaper.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

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