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Discussion Starter #1
I opened my hives on Saturday and found that one of them is apparenty queenless. No brood or eggs at any stage. My other hive has a queen, but not much brood and few bees. I think I will have to requeen that one, as she seems weak, but in the meantime, I have decided to combine the hives. What time of day should I do it? I have the hives separated by about 30 feet and I am afraid that I will lose a lot of foragers if I do it during the day, when I would usually work them. It is about 85 degrees today. Should I wait until almost dark or perhaps early in the morning? I am planning to take the queenless hive , wihich is two deeps and put it on top of the other hive with a sheet of newspaper between them. Also, should I create an upper entrance for the queenless bees to get out during the day until they get through the newspaper? Any suggestions or information about how and when to do this would be appreciated. Thank you.
 

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Try adding a frame of eggs and young brood to the queen lees hive to inprove it's moral.
Try using the newspaper method of uniting hives.
You could move the queen less hive, in straight line, towards the queen right hive. Bees orientate best if you move them in a straight line rather than to the side. You can move them at least 4' to 5' per day. I have better success with placing the queen right hive over the queen les hive because the workers go down through the lower hive and kill the laying workers.
Or, shake the bees out on a cover, move the hive, and top super the queen right hive. It's much faster.
Ernie
 

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Are you SURE they are queenless? Sometimes I look in on a hive that doesn't have brood at any stage, but I see an old queen cell opened up. The hive superseded and the new queen is mating.

Other than that, just use the newspaper method. No need for an upper entrance, no need to do anything special.

 

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I'll be faced with the sme chalenge this year and per guidence from a codger who ran 1,000 hives and Mike bush, this is my plan.

At dusk when the girls are settled, spray the hives with household air freshener.

Combine hives.

Cover enterence with leafy branches.

The thinking is creating confusion. The air freshener wipes out the queen's pheromones and completely confuses the workers. Per my codger, after everything clears, the workers then sort out who's in charge. The branches create similar confusion when foragers depart the following morning which they resolve by re-orienting themselves.

I read the "have to's" in books and publications on beekeeping and can't fathom comercial keepers have the time or payroll to do all. Since they produce our nation's honey and polenate the food in the super markets, something else must be being done.

I haven't done this yet, but will post with results.
 

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I would say to do it at dusk, newspaper like you were planning, no upper entrance as it's not needed. They'll have the newspaper chewed through enough by morning to join. You don't want them to be able to come and go separately from each other, you want them to join. If you make an upper entrance for ventilation purposes throughout the hive then fine, but don't do it just because of the join. Let them set for a week, then take a peek.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your comments. Specialkayme, based on your question about the queen being superceded, I waited a week and went out today with the idea of combining if needed. You were right. I found an open supercedure cell that I had not noticed before and there were two almost complete frames of brood in the upper chamber. The lower chamber had some brood as well, but the pattern wasn't as pretty. The other hive also had more brood and seemed to be doing better, although I would still like to see more laying there. There is a supercedure cell in that hive as well so I think the bees are going take care of that problem for me. Thanks again for the comments. I am feeling better today about the hives.
 
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