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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Combining the weak hives

Yesterday Hyron and Hyron2 became one.

At the end of the day when hopefully most of the foragers were home, I put the absconded swarm hive and the weak swarm hive together. I carried the absconded hive back up on the deck and put it in combination with the Hyron hive that has been weakly surviving all along.

Hyron was my first swarm hive back on April 1 and has not built out of the first box to this day. It's a sad little group. There is a queen and brood but it never has taken off. Hyron2 which was robbed out and absconded appears queenless at this point although most of the bees are in the box.

I opened up Hyron and put newspaper over the top of the box. I cut several slits with a knife through the newspaper to facilitate the bees chewing through. The idea is that by the time the bees in the upper box chew through to the lower box, everybody will be friends.

I removed the Imrie shim and the feeder bag - I actually don't know what to do about feeding and will post on Beesource and Beemaster to find out how to manage this.

When I put Hyron2 on top, I left the Imrie shim, but didn't replace the baggie feeder. I don't want to encourage any food fights as they get to know each other. Keeping the shim on does give me an easy option for feeding them in about a week when the combination will hopefully be successful.

I also removed the robber screen. I thought since there's not really anything to rob out right now, it isn't really necessary. I also thought that it would be easier for them to carry out the newspaper shreds if I didn't have the entry blocked.

It was cooler than usual this morning but already the bees at this hive were orienting. I expect that it will go well and I am keeping my fingers crossed for a successful hive combination.

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  1. Anonymous9:37 PM


    I was interested to read your blog about combining hives. We also have two weak hives that we plan to combine. We are having alot of discussion about whether one of th dhives is sick or just queenless. So, how did your combining go? Did the hives survive the week?

  2. Bonjour,
    j'ai deux ruches que je désire combiner mais je voudrai savoir combien de feuilles de journal avez vous mise merci

  3. Really, just one sheet of newspaper should be sufficient. I cut slits in the newspaper with a knife - about 6 inches long - to help the bees begin combining - Cut about 3 slits...not too many.

    Good luck with it.

  4. Vraiment, une seule feuille de papier journal devrait être suffisant. J'ai coupé des fentes dans le journal avec un couteau - d'environ 6 pouces de long - pour aider les abeilles commencent combinant - Coupez environ 3 fentes ... pas trop.

    Bonne chance avec elle.
    (Google's translation of my post!)

  5. Thank you very much, just , a last thing, should I put the queen in the cage the firt time, or I should let her free in the hive thanks

  6. When you combine hives, there should only be one queen, so you'll need to get rid of the weakest of your two queens. You can find her and start a nuc with her and a few frames of bees, honey, pollen, etc. If she is a queen you don't want, you can find her and kill her with your hive tool (I can't stand to do that which is why I suggested using her in a nuc - or you could put her in an observation hive...they do better with weak queens.)

    As per Google translate:
    Lorsque vous combinez des ruches, il devrait y avoir qu'une seule reine, vous aurez donc besoin de se débarrasser des plus faibles de vos deux reines. Vous pouvez trouver et lancer un nuc avec elle et quelques images des abeilles, le miel, le pollen, etc Si elle est une reine vous ne voulez pas, vous pouvez la trouver et la tuer avec votre outil de la ruche (je ne peux pas stand de faire ce qui est pourquoi j'ai proposé son aide dans un NUC - ou vous pouvez la mettre dans une ruche d'observation ... ils faire mieux avec des reines faible.)

  7. Should I practice this combination in the end of the day , or I can do it in anytime thanks

  8. Most opening of beehives is best done during the day.

  9. thank you linda , you khnow I pratice the combination last week , today I did a contrôl and all was right , bees cut the news paper and now they are living all togheter

  10. How late in the year can you combine hives? Is it too late now?

  11. I think it depends on where you are. It's not too late in Atlanta.

  12. I recently combined hives to get the hive through the winter, The aggressive (queen less)hive was combined twice, and both times the queen from the combining hive was killed. I assumed the bees cleared the news paper too fast. Also I did not cut slits in the paper. I also recommend that combing takes place in cool weather as the paper removal could take anywhere from one to a few days.

  13. Hello --
    I wondered how you handled feeding... We have a laying worker hive, and will be combining it with a captured swarm. I know the stronger hive goes on the bottom, separated from the weaker hive by newspaper. But we have a top feeder, and I'm not sure how the bees in the bottom box will get to the feeder... How did you feed your stronger colony? Thanks!

  14. This is an old post but was in August, 2008. I rarely feed bees at all and probably would not be feeding bees in August. I would not feed the combined hive. When you feed your bees, the sugar syrup typically is part of the "honey" you harvest. I only feed starving hives, hives that are packages at the very beginning, and sometimes feed bee tea in October if I have a hive going into winter with no stores. My strongest hive this year (2014) I only feed one quart of bee tea going into winter last year and they appeared to have few stores. The hive wasn't in my backyard and I didn't take care to visit it enough to feed it last fall. They were thriving in early spring. I moved them to my yard, did not feed them and they are doing great this year.


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