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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Default Combining to save my hive

    So....
    I got a new queen as one of the queens in my package absconded.
    I installed her last month.
    I checked the hive yesterday and they are down to only 1 frame.
    When I installed there was bees on 4 or 5 frames.
    I got 3 other hives, and 1 double stack.
    I want to take a frame of brood from the double stack (Benedetta) and put into the other hive (Gioffredda).

    So what is the best way to do it? Take a frame and shake all the bees off before inserting into (Gioffreda) I need some nurse bees to be included.
    This is what Gioffreda looked like several weeks ago after I installed the queen.

    IMG_1379.jpg

    What is the best way to do it? I want to move 1 frame of brood from another hive to get the nurse bees hatching.
    I think also I can move the hive into a different position so I get drifting going on from the other hive.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    IMG_1948.jpg
    That is what the hive looks like now
    The opposing frame
    IMG_1947.jpg

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Springfield, Ohio, USA
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    459

    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    Rather than adding brood from your active hive, I would pinch the queen shown in the photo and combine the bees with your more active hive; she's laying drone brood, and not too well. If you take from your active hive, you'll just wind up weakening it and perhaps wind up with two weak hives going into winter. Save the frames, and use them for a split next spring.
    Pete. New 2013, 7 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    140

    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    Thanks for your reply. I just got her and she is a new queen.
    She needs some nurse bees. Yes I figure I will have a weaker hive going into winter, but they are easier to manage and take care of during the cold season.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    989

    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    Caps on the little bit of honey are torn open --- this means the hive was robbed out. The queen looks to be a drone layer.
    Put the queen in alcohol to use as a swarm trap lure, and abandon the hive, other than a bit of drawn comb there is nothing to save.

    If you are convinced the queen is worth saving, you must recreate a nuc of sufficient strength to resist robbing, and cover at least several hundred cells with nurse bees. The rule of thumb of 3 frames of bees and brood, one open frame and one frame of honey in a 5 frame deep nuc is applicable for a summer nuc. If you don't have sufficient resources to lift from another hive, buy frames or sell the queen.

    Growth of honey bee colonies follows a logistic curve. If you attempt to start too far back on the growth curve, the colony will never be viable.
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 07-21-2014 at 11:40 PM.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2013
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    Vancouver, WA, USA
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    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    I did a screen/garlic combine
    IMG_1952.jpg
    That is where you build a small screen cage for the queen so she gets accepted by the new bees over a 12 hour period instead of right away.
    The garlic helps to mask the smell of their old queen and when the bees clean themselves off they will discover a new queen and accept her right away.

  7. #7
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    Vancouver, WA, USA
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    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Caps on the little bit of honey are torn open --- this means the hive was robbed out.
    I used frames from a hive from last years bees. I got that hive from a farmer so the frames were older.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    If you are convinced the queen is worth saving, you must recreate a nuc of sufficient strength to resist robbing, and cover at least several hundred cells with nurse bees. The rule of thumb of 3 frames of bees and brood, one open frame and one frame of honey in a 5 frame deep nuc is applicable for a summer nuc.
    OK will do. I will supplement that hive with more frames as I got to do something about the monster hive next door.

  8. #8
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    Jun 2013
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    Vancouver, WA, USA
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    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    Success, the queen and other bees escaped from the screen area I had her confined into.
    They were all on the frame of brood I put in. I didn't take a photo, but still had to search
    for her cause all the bees that are in there now.

    So, I will recheck, and add more bees and frames.

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    Judging by the scattered brood caps which are all drone, I'd say either a drone laying queen or laying workers is the root of the problem. Look for multiple eggs...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
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    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    OK thanks,

    I will recheck the hive as I need to add more frames to make it a full sized nuc.

    Has anybody tried opening a larger hive and grabbing a (queen-less) frame and shake their nurse bees off directly into the weaker hive? Since it is the day most of the foraging bees will bee out in the field, so any frame I grab will have more support than forage bees. I need to move 2 more frames of bees.

    The other thing I am thinking of is doing that as outlined above but shake into a box where I shake garlic powder on them to coat them so they forget their original queen's pheromone smell and then they dust themselves off and quickly adopt the new pheromone smell.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Jacksonville, Florida
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    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    Don't shake the bees off the frame. Find a good frame of capped brood, check real good for the queen make sure she is not on the frame, then just move it over into your weaker hive. The old bees will fly home the young nurse bees will stay, you will also get a boost once the capped brood starts hatching. If I'm following your story right you have basically rebuilt this hive from almost nothing. So you need to get it built back up so they can make it through the winter. You need to give it some more brood and keep a feeder on them full until they get some frames of capped honey.

    But, to answer your question yes, you can just shake some bees in the hive and the nurse bees will stay without any problems. But, it works better if you just move the whole capped brood frame with the attached bees. Hope that makes sense.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    http://youtu.be/Wsw2ZKVx-NQ


    I am trying to save my Geoffreda hive. I am doing what I call a "Garlic Combine". The premise is the bees from my monster hive (Benedetta) will still be attached to their old queen's pheremones. So before I insert into the weak hive (Geoffreda) I powder them with garlic so they can't smell their old queen's pheremones. Then after an hour when they are all cleaned up they will smell the new queen's pheremones and presto that is their new queen.

    The goal here is that by grabbing bees from some of these frames I also get nurse bees and support bees to help build up the infrastructure in this hive. Geoffreda was a package hive that did not have the queen take so I got a new marked queen. The package had been there already 6 weeks and since they were comprised of older bees at that point the nurse bees became older. Not sure why the original queen did not get established after installing that package. The good thing is my other 2 packages Celestina and Elizabedda have both grown like gangbusters. I inserted 1 frame that had some nurse bees on it. I took 3 frames of honey out and shook those bees into my garlic powder tray.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    Quote Originally Posted by johng View Post
    Don't shake the bees off the frame. Find a good frame of capped brood, check real good for the queen make sure she is not on the frame, then just move it over into your weaker hive. The old bees will fly home the young nurse bees will stay, you will also get a boost once the capped brood starts hatching. If I'm following your story right you have basically rebuilt this hive from almost nothing. So you need to get it built back up so they can make it through the winter. You need to give it some more brood and keep a feeder on them full until they get some frames of capped honey.

    But, to answer your question yes, you can just shake some bees in the hive and the nurse bees will stay without any problems. But, it works better if you just move the whole capped brood frame with the attached bees. Hope that makes sense.
    Thanks, it does make sense. So what I did was to add bunches of bees including nurse bees when I shook them into the Garlic Tray. So It will be interesting to see how it turns out. So far I added 2 frames of capped brood. 1 was almost entirely capped on both sides, but the bees have not hatched yet so It may have become a chilled frame since enough bees would not have been present to keep temperature.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
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    826

    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    You must have Italian bees?!?!? Never heard of a 'garlic' combine.... Good luck! As others have said, you could have just taken a frame of emerging brood to add to the other....though the population in the donor hive isn't exactly booming in my opinion, either. Wish you, and your bees the best...

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Combining to save my hive

    I have an update.
    First, the brood hatched as it was a frame fully drawn with capped brood when I put it in there. So that hive has plenty of nurse and young bees.
    Second my marked queen is nowhere to be found, and 2nd I found 2 queen cells:
    IMG_1999.jpg
    A closer look.
    IMG_2000.jpg
    The second queen cell
    IMG_2002.jpg

    So either I grabbed a queen from the original hive by mistake and combined all, but that hive had a marked queen from last year.
    Or the bees rejected their new "Garlic Appointed" queen and decided to make their own.

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