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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Adell, WI, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Take the honey and kill the bees

    I realize that sounds horrible but none of my colonies have done well this year. I have one that completely disappeared. Of the other three only one has any surplus honey to remove. All of them are somewhat honey bound in the brood chambers but they only are covering 10 to 12 frames total (Up and down) in a double deep brood chamber.
    I don't see any of them making it through the winter even if I feed them, so I am thinking of taking all the honey that I can from them and kill the bees, store the equipment away, and just buy new ones next year.

    Some advice would be helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
    Posts
    239

    Default Re: Take the honey and kill the bees

    You're far north of me and my advice may be of no value, but I would give them a chance, I have had colonies that I would have bet did not have a chance of making it that proved me wrong, will not cost hardly anything to feed 2 to 1 to three colonies, look at the bright side if you only have one make it, you have then started to develop your own strain of survivors.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: Take the honey and kill the bees

    Or...you could combine down to two hives....which would double the strength of bees....then even if you lose 50% you still have one to get started with in the spring

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Franklin, New Hampshire
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Take the honey and kill the bees

    Will you buy 3 packages next year? Or 3 nucs?

    Either way, I'd try to feed or combine the weakest with the strongest. Could cost less to feed and combine than to start all over.

    Don't give up, try and see what you learn.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Madison, WI, USA
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: Take the honey and kill the bees

    Do you have an idea of why your colonies are weak? Do they have a disease or are they loaded with mites? Were they sprayed with pesticide during the season? If they are otherwise healthy, it is worthwhile to combine the two weakest and feed. At the very least, if all die out over the winter, you will have honey for your new packages in the spring.
    life is finite while knowledge is infinite. - Zhuang Zi

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    962

    Default Re: Take the honey and kill the bees

    This time of year and in my location (you're further north), I don't expect the bees to "cover" both boxes. Once the bees start to cluster, they will only cover one box, and it is usually the bottom one. The top one is mostly stores. So, depending on the time of day and temperature (especially if the daytime temps are in the 50s), the bees covering only 10-12 frames would be normal.

    Did you just start those colonies? If you believe the colonies have been struggling all along, then you might decide just to start over. Honey Householder does it on a commercial scale as far as I know. In the fall, he shakes all his bees to send down south as "blow bees" and starts with packages in the spring on drawn comb. If you look up his posts, you'll get a pretty good idea about his methods.

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