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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    vicksburg mi usa
    Posts
    34

    Default combining weak hives into a nuc

    I have two summer splits that never built up. I was going to combine them into a double nuc. I was going to powder sugar dust all to join them. Another beek suggested I dump the bees in front of the nuc.
    Other details...only six or seven frames drawn and occupied in each. Haven't seen the queens but brood in one hive. Found mice in both hives yesterday. I also have a mix of medieum and deep frames.
    What a mess.
    Let's hear your thoughts.

    Thanks Willie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    1,300

    Default Re: combining weak hives into a nuc

    I've found mixing 2 weak hives won't make a strong one. It just makes a big weak one that won't survive the winter. If you've got even 1 strong one you're better off adding them to it. This will help the strong one make it through the winter (assuming there's enough food, and the mites are under control). This even sets that hive up for a strong split come spring.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: combining weak hives into a nuc

    As D Coates said, two weak hives make 1 big weak hive. Either leave them alone, each in it's own nuc or single with a follower board to reduce them to the frames they actually occupy or add them to a strong one. Don't forget mouse guards.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    vicksburg mi usa
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: combining weak hives into a nuc

    I can't argue with the bigger weak hive statement. Do you have experience dumping bees out vs powder sugar dust for a combine.
    Thanks Willie

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    1,300

    Default Re: combining weak hives into a nuc

    Normally I do a newspaper combine but I've simply plugged one hive on the top of the other the last 3-4 times. I use lots of smoke while combining. The populations mix without even knowing it. It works the best if you can remove the weak queen at least a few hours (preferably 1 day) before you combine them. I just did it with 2 hives that were failing and inserted triple nucs I was going to overwinter. They're rolling along nicely now.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: combining weak hives into a nuc

    I just do newspaper combine, too. Don't forget to make sure you only have one queen (the one you like best) when you combine.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: combining weak hives into a nuc

    Willie,
    If you have 6-7 frames in each, why combine? Leave them alone, provide over-winter feed, and maintain your odds of having one or two get through the winter. I would leave them in their current hive bodies. In fact, I have four mid-July splits (don't ask) that are in a similar state to what you describe. I will be leaving them to overwinter as-is, with the addition of a candy board for each.

    Here's my thinking. If I combine, I am taking a chance of damaging queens at a time of year when I don't have the time to correct the problem. The bees have also configured their hive as they see fit for going into winter. Changing it may not work for them. Finally, if I have a 50% chance of a hive surviving (pick whatever value you want), with two hives you might get one through the winter. With one hive you have a 50% chance of getting your one hive through. Combining isn't going to appreciably change the value of the survival odds. In short, I feel combining adds significantly more risk to having at least one hive next spring.

    I'll let you know how it worked out for me next spring.

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