Combine colonies in August?
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  1. #1
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    Default Combine colonies in August?

    This may be a dumb question:

    I have a deep nuc kicking you know what...want to put it in one deep/one medium for winter. Next to it I have the colony in two deeps , which really should be in one deep. Can I just swipe that lower deep minus frames of brood and put that strong nuc in there without worrying about Queen pheromone, newspaper combine, smoke them to confuse the two different colony smells and prevent fighting???

    What I am aiming for is two colonies in a deep with a medium super

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Combine colonies in August?

    No.

  4. #3
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    Default

    Why?

  5. #4
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    Triadelphia, West Virginia
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    Default

    Yes. If you're just giving them combs not combining bees. No problem.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Combine colonies in August?

    I did something like that a month ago without any problem (in my case, I wanted to swap two colonies between a double 5-frame nuc and a full sized hive).

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Combine colonies in August?

    Quote Originally Posted by OBG View Post
    What I am aiming for is two colonies in a deep with a medium super
    how are you expecting to have 2 queens coexist peacefully?

    You could put them into a divided deep/divided bottom board with a queen excluder above and then your honey super, but reallistically they probably won't fit and you are begging them to swarm.

    If you are talking about a true combine then you could but I would kill the queen you don't want at least a few hours before the combine. And there would potentially be issues with the other colony accepting the new queen.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Combine colonies in August?

    Quote Originally Posted by mcon672 View Post
    Yes. If you're just giving them combs not combining bees. No problem.
    The original post is confusing - but - the header does read: "Combine colonies in August?" Colonies means bees, not combs/frames - and most likely both colonies are complete with their Queens as well. Hence John_M's reply. So - not a good idea, as described.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  9. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mcon672 View Post
    Yes. If you're just giving them combs not combining bees. No problem.
    The original post is confusing - but - the header does read: "Combine colonies in August?" Colonies means bees, not combs/frames - and most likely both colonies are complete with their Queens as well. Hence John_M's reply. So - not a good idea, as described.
    LJ
    Oops my bad.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Combine colonies in August?

    Maybe you should ask first if the others have experiences where they say that a smaller colony can make it through the winter on its own?

    Is your basis for asking this basically, a believe that a colony that isn't huge can't make it through the winter alone? And what if that perception isn't always true?

    How often does a small colony survive winter? And a medium size one?
    Beeks have an obsession that only really big colonies matter. (not sure if its always true.)

    What do you think?

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Combine colonies in August?

    Quote Originally Posted by hagane View Post
    Maybe you should ask first if the others have experiences where they say that a smaller colony can make it through the winter on its own?

    Is your basis for asking this basically, a believe that a colony that isn't huge can't make it through the winter alone? And what if that perception isn't always true?

    How often does a small colony survive winter? And a medium size one?
    Beeks have an obsession that only really big colonies matter. (not sure if its always true.)

    What do you think?
    I think it's about time you got some bees and found out the answers to such basic questions yourself - rather than implying that beekeepers are obsessed with the size of their colonies. (Even though you do so in the form of what appears at first sight to be an innocent question)

    I've noticed that you've recently moved from making comparisons with gardening to actually offering advice to beekeepers, even though you've never kept a bee in your life. You now appear to be challenging aspects of basic beekeeping practices which have been developed over a century or more, and insodoing are thus becoming a potentially dangerous contributor. GET SOME BEES.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Combine colonies in August?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    I think it's about time you got some bees and found out the answers to such basic questions yourself - rather than implying that beekeepers are obsessed with the size of their colonies. (Even though you do so in the form of what appears at first sight to be an innocent question)

    I've noticed that you've recently moved from making comparisons with gardening to actually offering advice to beekeepers, even though you've never kept a bee in your life. You now appear to be challenging aspects of basic beekeeping practices which have been developed over a century or more, and insodoing are thus becoming a potentially dangerous contributor. GET SOME BEES.
    LJ
    No offense bro but screw you *******. You shouldn't be all over the new people.

    You don't know me. You think just because you have more, that you can tell other people they can't have an opinion and that's not right. We are EQUALS on this forum. Equals. You aren't more worthy than I am. And any opinions I have put up here have been comments to figure stuff out, not to judge people or put myself above them. I have as much right to be here as anyone. You don't know what kind of success I have or not in life or anything else.

    If we have to tell people off because they have less numbers of hives than we do then this forum isn't a good place to be. That big old 'GET SOME BEES' crap, that's social caste systems. You put me in the downgrade basket and that's not your call. I can say whatever the **** I want here. And if I can't then I'll go somewhere else. And EVERY new person is going to see that attitude you just pulled of thinking you can cow some new person.

    And you misread what I'd said. I was not saying beeks are obsessed with hives. But you got annoyed by it and reacted on it. And I'm telling you that's being a jerk. The reply I gave was purely scientific. Its purely factual to try to compare things and come with up with a math probability of hive success relating to the posters question. That's all. And it wasn't offering advise, it was clarifying the posters intent.

    Go on report me too.
    Last edited by JWPalmer; 08-22-2019 at 02:36 AM.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Combine colonies in August?

    Quote Originally Posted by OBG View Post
    What I am aiming for is two colonies in a deep with a medium super
    Back to the original question. I'm still very confused about what your ultimate goal might be. You are asking about combining two queen right colonies, but it also sounds like your goal is 2 colonies, each with a deep and medium. Could you clarify for us, that will help tremendously so you get sound advice geared toward your final objective.

    Do you already have mediums with drawn comb, or are the frames still just foundation?
    To everything there is a season....

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Combine colonies in August?

    So... there's theoretical advice, written like "you should or can or must", which may or may not be from that person's experience. Then there are accounts from someone who has done the maneuver. Worth taking care to consider the source, in all cases you ask for then receive advice.

    I swap from 1-3 frames fairly often between hives. They don't have a queen on them, they have nurse bees though. I don't see fighting with the receiving colony. I sometimes spray with sugar water, but don't otherwise overly smoke them to shock them or anything. So... could take one frame at a time from the nuc, swap out for an empty frame or undrawn or whatever, over the course of 10 min or so.... just gotta be sure no queen!!!!

    The risk with suddenly popping the nuc in, as is, with her queen, is that the bees from the "invading" hive - the one which is being dismantled - will be seen as a threat and there will be fighting. This can happen if both hives have a laying queen with similar strength of queen pheromone. It's a waste.

    If you want to add all frames at once, you can avoid triggering the fighting with the following steps. 1. Find the nuc queen - assuming she is not worth keeping - and you kill her off. I hear that "wailing" sound - which is the bees fanning, trying to bring queen pheromone to themselves - after 15 min or so. I like to wait for that... 2. I prep the receiving colony by having the bottom deep get the open brood. Then I put newspaper on top of that bottom deep. Then I put the nuc in the top deep, it's OK if there are a frames from the original colony in that top deep, with the nuc frames, but not lots of bees from the original colony, so try to shake maybe 3/4 of them off into the bottom deep. Oops, this should be under step 2. Adjust your procedure accordingly. 3. I make a couple of slits, parallel with the frames, in the newspaper. Then I put the top deep, with the nuc, on top of the newspaper divide. you need an inner cover with a slot, and this will temporarily be some airflow for the top deep, until the newspaper is broken through. Try not to do this if it will be very hot. 4. Check on the queen in a week or so.

    However.... two colonies that are smaller than anticipated, this time of year.... please take time to either check for mites or to just treat. I like using oxalic acid vaporization, since I get 1 gram of OA in my 100 gram spinach salad, and so I don't worry about applying 3 grams to the whole hive (honey supers removed cuz I want to sell honey). I have a respirator because I don't want to die from inhaling the vapor.

    There is also the oxalic acid dribble, cheap and easy, but can't have open brood unless you are ok with it being damaged. Also you will need to reapply if there is capped brood, since 2/3 of the mites hide in the capped brood.

    I worry about the vapor based products if temps will be over low 80s, so take care with that.

    Best worry-free option is Apivar strips, can't have honey supers on if you intend to sell, and you need to take the those strips off in 60 days or so. But it will protect your hive from mites now and incoming mites from drifting bees later.

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