details on combining
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  1. #1
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    Default details on combining

    hi- didn't find anything with a search on combining. Just a question about mechanics of combing hives. I understand I need to remove the supers. Do I just place newspaper down on top of accepting hive top deep and then simply place the incoming deep on top? Should I keep the newspaper thin- like 1 layer or should it be thick? And- how long do I leave before going back in to check? I assume once all good and bees meshed I just put the supers back up on top, and leave the 3rd deep on there so they have space (accepting hive already has loads of bees). I guess I'll just winter them through with the 3 deeps and a super on top. Plus my feeding tray/quilt box. That sound correct?

    thanks

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  3. #2
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    Mar 2005
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    Default Re: details on combining

    Should go without saying, but be sure the hive you are placing onto the existing hive is queen less. This is how I have done it in the past with zero problems. I don't remove the supers, place one sheet of newspaper onto the hive, cut some small slits in the paper. 5 or 6 about 3-4 inches long, running along the frames. Set the hive on top of the other, leave it alone, I go 2 days. Come back remove excess paper that is left and set my hive the way I think it needs to be. If I need to leave the supers on, I do. If there are too many for that time of year I take them off. If I have brood comb in the top hive I try to place it near the existing brood comb. It is not mandatory to do that because they will probably be filled with honey. But who wants brood comb filled with honey? Not me. Hope that helps. Others may do it different, not the only way I suppose, just how I do it.

  4. #3
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    Default

    Thanks— that’s really helpful.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: details on combining

    Do not the leave the third deep on unless it is full of honey, not empty brood space. You don't want an interruption in the column of stores overhead. You may know all they have to do is toddle on up through the empty brood frames to reach supers overhead. But they might not realize that, or they may reach that barrier at a point when it's too cold to loosen the cluster and cross that cold empty space. And then wind up starving below the supers full of honey.

    Nancy

  6. #5
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: details on combining

    I'd combine and then go through the hive to condense it down, if possible. Give them less space to manage. You may find some empty frames in there. I'd move the brood to the bottom and any resources up top.

  7. #6
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    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default Re: details on combining

    Check out the forum on Splits/Combines. J

  8. #7
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    Oct 2017
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    Default Re: details on combining

    thanks all-- that all makes sense. I have the escape board on now to empty the super and tomorrow will combine- makes sense to move the stores up and try to consolidate all the honey/stores up top.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: details on combining

    so I just did the combine. a few questions:

    1- after almost 2 days with escape board in place there will still a fair number of bees up in that super. I shook them down into top deep and put the paper (with slits) followed by the deep with the 8 deep frames (condensed down nuc hive). I did put the inner cover on-- but was wondering if that was the right move? Should I be "locking them in" without an inner cover so they have to acclimate/move down through paper?

    2- chilly day- around 50F- and again the hive was pretty packed with bees hanging inside. I'm wondering if I'll be able to remove that 3rd deep I just added given how many bees there are? I was able to smoke them down into the (now middle) deep. The 3rd deep has some good stores- but it's not the solid layer of honey/stores that I'd want under the super. So I did plan to remove but wondering how the bees will manage and if I'm creating a problem with crowding?

    3- how long to I wait before removing the paper/potentially removing that 3rd deep on top?

    thanks

    brad

  10. #9
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    Default Re: details on combining

    Question one, you did fine, don't over think it, will work either way. I leave the inner cover on to allow them to get out if needed. Not a big deal.

    I see what your dilemma is, you don't want 3 deeps to over winter in correct? You say "under the super" do you have a super full of honey? And a deep with "good stores"? Without seeing the hive all we can do is give recommendations which is difficult to do.


    All I will say is "how I do it" you have to make the best judgment you can on your hive. Your knowledge of the hive make up will determine what you do.

    Here goes, the deep on the bottom I put the frames with the most pollen in them there, next box I put all the brood comb except the outside two frames I put honey and pollen mixed frames. 2 on each side brood comb in the middle. (This is all 10 frame equipment, if you are running 8 make adjustments you think best suits the hive)


    If what I have left in the 3rd deep is not capped brood or a lot of capped honey and you have a super full of honey, I would put the super of honey on the second deep. I would then put the deep I had in the freezer and use it next year for a package or swarm.


    If you don't have a super full of honey, you have no choice but to leave the 3rd deep on. Not recommended, but sometimes you gotta do it.


    I would think after going through the deeps you could condense it down to 2 deeps and 1 super. Queen is slowing down in egg laying and the bees hanging outside may just be hot from the newspaper. if you open the lid and they don't boil out, unlikely they are over crowded.

    Just my opinion, a lot people much smarter than me on here.

  11. #10
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    Oct 2017
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    Default

    Yeah I’d like to lose the 3rd deep and just overwinter w the 2 deeps + super. I have some frozen full mediums that I didn’t extract for just this purpose. I’ll let them settle and go back in a few days to reorganize. Hopefully I’ll be able to move stuff around like you said- (I plan to first find queen frame and put that frame in a quiet box and then move stuff around).

    How long should I wait wait before going back in? Does it take more than 2-3 days for them to “mesh?”

    Thanks- that was helpful.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: details on combining

    Take that frozen medium out of the freezer asap. Anything that would hurt the honey should be dead. Will take awhile for it to thaw out.

    2-3 days should be fine.

    You should get it set for the winter soon.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: details on combining

    I use one sheet of newspaper. I put one small slit in it. I leave an entrance for both the top and bottom boxes in case it gets hot and so they don't suffocate.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #13
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    Default Re: details on combining

    I think I messed it up-- I had read to put a few slits in it. So- I placed a few 5 inch slits with a razor in the newspaper. Today I see loads of dead bees out front and some skirmishes on the front porch. It's a warm sunny day and the bees are flying-- I guess the 2 possibilities are 1) I made too big of slits/too many and they mixed too fast or 2) all those bees that were flying around looking to return to the old nuc made their way and tried to beg in but getting rejected. But it's not happening at the other main hive so I've guessing it's #1 scenario. Darn-- feel terrible if I goofed it up by over-slitting the paper. However there were so many bees flying around while I was doing the transfer that I wondered if they'd ultimately try to beg in to the main hives. But-- I'd assumed both main hives would have equal numbers of beggars unless they somehow scented their old hive-mates and picked that hive? Thought it had gone ok. Think tomorrow (would be 48h after combining) is too soon to go in so I can put those honey frames in?

    Also-- I built sugar trays/quilt boxes-- my plan was to have, on top of my 2 deeps, a super mostly full of honey (mixed capped/uncapped) with the sugar tray on top, with the quilt box on top of that. Was going to get all that on tomorrow and then wrap with black tar paper. Sound reasonable?

    thanks for the help

  15. #14
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    Default Re: details on combining

    You are way over thinking this. They only way you could have majorly messed up was by putting two queen-rite hives together. Other than that, slits are not a huge deal, there will be some casualties. Things will settle down. Like Mr. Bush's tagline reads.

    Everything works if you let it.

    Leave then alone for a few days, unless you see a huge fight and dead bees, 100's of them everywhere, stopping up the front entrance. I wouldn't worry.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: details on combining

    If you see them fighting, smoke the hive heavily and distract them. Often the fighting will stop.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  17. #16
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    Default Re: details on combining

    I use 1/8 hardware cloth screened shim for any combining. It's simple, time saving, no news paper mess, no need to remember to bring news paper with you, it also gives you a chance to reassess the hive. While still having two queens laying.

    Give both an entrance, positioning the weaker one to receive the incoming foragers, this alone can fix a lot of problems.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: details on combining

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If you see them fighting, smoke the hive heavily and distract them. Often the fighting will stop.
    Never knew that, thanks!
    Proverbs 16:24

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