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I have 2 small colonies which are both queen right; both have 4 frames of brood. I want to combine both without killing one of the queens. Could I do a demareer type combination with a deep brood on the bottom and top, queen excluders and shallow supers in between? So in effect I have 2 colonies in one. Any advice appreciated.
 

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Sure, just so the queens don't share a common excluder (which works sometimes) and making sure that your upper unit has a drone escape. Also, I wouldn't move either of them too far within the same yard. Keep in mind that those 2, 4 combers this time of year may well make two strong wintering units by fall.
 

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How many supers do you put in between the 2 hives? And is the
queen excluder just below the top hive?
I had negative experiences with bees coming from the other hives to contaminate
the current queen that they all rejected her by balling. Imagine the smells from both
hives workers mixing onto the same queen. Nobody want her now. Death was the end!
 

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I've done similar setups. I put 3/8" thick boards around edges of and in between 2 steel queen excluders. I also had entrance for the upper queen in her box. I found that the upper box will have more honey stored as the bees below like to move honey above the brood. I've never run this kind of setup more than about three months, so can't give much more feedback. I prefer single queen hives myself.
 

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In my view at this time two hives are better then one. You can always combine in the fall but I wouldn't do that either unless you lost one queen. I hope your reason for combining is not to harvest honey.
 

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I hope your reason for combining is not to harvest honey.

Ace, what is wrong about combining 2 hives into one to harvest some Fall honey?
I'm in that process now to make a fairly strong nuc to hive the queen. And then combining
the 2 hives into one strong hive with a prolific laying queen. Their population should triple
once the Fall flow started. This way I will have some honey going into winter and to keep the
nuc hive strong too. I will not keep one weak hive going into winter here to have to baby sit them
all winter long like I did in the past year. In fact, I will even combine 3 weaker hives into one strong
hive to go into winter with. So it depends on their hive population.
 

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In fact, I will even combine 3 weaker hives into one strong
hive to go into winter with. So it depends on their hive population.
Well the way I see it if you combine 3 weak hives together you end up with one big weak hive. That is a guaranteed dud in the spring. It takes time for a large populous hive to forage enough to make a surplus. If you let 3 weak hives do their thing on their own one or two might take off and bring in a surplus. Combining hives with the idea of harvesting honey this late in the game is a disaster plan IMO.
 

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Ace, a 4 frames nuc hive is consider weaker compare to a 10 frames full hive.
So 4x3 = 12 frames of bees. That is good enough for me to say this hive is strong enough.
The poster, TTT here want to combine to make an 8 frames hive. I think that is fairly strong too compare
to the individual 4 frames nuc hive. How is that 'a disaster plan' to harvest some honey?
I thought combining using the newspaper method of 2 hives or more will make them stronger into one. How do you end up with one
big weak hive? So by not combining how do the individual hive become stronger? To me, BIG is not weak but a Small hive is weaker. Please explain this practical concept to me further.
 

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Big is not strong if nectar is scarce. If the so called weak hives did not have a surplus then combining the bees makes a bigger weak hive. Not knowing the reason for a weak hive means you take a 50/50 chance on deciding which queen to eliminate. If hives are weak now I doubt if combining them will create enough of a surplus from the fall flow to take honey. Any thoughts of taking honey from weak hives is a disaster plan IMO. Well except in the case of taking the honey and dumping the bees in the fall.
 

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I combined 2 weak hives (not many foragers) into one about a week ago to test out its strength after the combine.
Never have I seen so many foragers carrying water and pollen into this hive. The combine has free up more
foragers and at the same time feeding them patty and honey syrup help too. I put 5 more drawn out
frames to the bottom hive for the queen to lay since its population had almost doubled. The queen
is laying well in solid pattern. There are more guard bees at the entrance now, finally.
The top 3rd box is a 6 frame nuc with 7 qcs on them right now. There is an excluder
on the bottom. After the queens hatched I will break it up again to form another hive going into the Fall
with a new mated queen.
By that time this hive should be strong enough to gather some honey in the Fall if there is
a flow. I still don't see why combining 2 hives makes it weaker instead of stronger in population. Doesn't it makes
the hive population increased after the combine? Hence the saying that to combine is the strength. But only time will tell if all goes well.

7 frames going into a weak 10 frame hive:
 

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Big is not strong if nectar is scarce.
Yes adding more bees to a hive will increase the number of foragers but if there is not enough nectar they will consume the nectar. If you are going to feed them why not feed two hives? I think of combining as a way of getting hives that would not make it separately through the winter, make it as a combine.

You plan on getting to the fall flow and then splitting back up? That makes no sense to me.
 

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Ace, I like to test theory and application in real life for my beekeeping experience. This is the best way
for me to learn about what works and not. So reading here said queens are better after the solstice and
5 frames nuc is better to overwinter with.

Yes, I will make smaller nucs to overwinter and the new queen too.
The split will be during the Fall flow not after it with supplement feeding both patty and honey syrup.
This is to increase my hive number as we don't have a really cold or snowy winter here. I had
overwintered a 2 frames nuc hive before in my first year. It is also to test the Fall queens to see if they are
better than the Spring queens as claimed to be.
The combined hives was a success that their population had tripled within this 2 weeks. I got vid and pics to doc.
That means the queen is doing her laying job well.

Fall qcs(4) in the making now:
 

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