Please support Friends of the Bees to keep this forum free to use.

Natural Beekeeping International Forum
low-cost, low-impact, balanced beekeeping for everyone

 Forum FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileYour Profile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Please Read The Rules before posting.



(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)
To combine or not too ? ... that is the question

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> URGENT Help needed now!
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
ianrichards
House Bee


Joined: 14 Aug 2014
Posts: 20
Location: Callington, Cornwall

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:20 pm    Post subject: To combine or not too ? ... that is the question Reply with quote

A novice (just like me) beekeeping friend asked me to help her inspect her 2 TBHs and I think she has a problem that will possibly mean merging her colonies.
Here is the scenario:
8 weeks ago her only colony (#1) swarmed and they were fortunate enough to catch the swarm and rehome them in hive #2.
When inspecting today, #2 is doing well, whereas #1 seems to have swarmed again and now is half the size it was when the first swarm left.
Also, I noticed that although the was brood, it was ALL drone and there were many drones hanging around. We couldn't find a queen (but she could have been there) and I wonder if we have either a drone laying queen or a worker laying.
No replacement queens are available and I wonder whether the appropriate action is to combine the two colonies and if so, what's the best method?
An interesting point, I think I learnt more today about hive management than ever before. Being the beekeeper with the slightly more experience, is was down to me to try and sort out what was going on.
I look forward to the next step.
TIA
Ian
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ian

Sorry to hear your friend's original hive is not queenright.
Whichever way it is, you need to get rid of the bee that is laying those eggs, before you combine them.

The normal way to do this is to move the hive and replace it with another.... a bait hive will do. This means that the foraging bees return to the new hive and there are less bees to deal with in the one you are working on. The next thing to do is spread a sheet on the ground about 20 yards away. Carry the combs to the sheet and brush/shake the bees off the comb onto the sheet. Cut off any/all drone brood and remove and once you are sure there are no bees left one the comb, place it in the new hive at the original location. Do this with every comb and brush any bees out of the hive once you are finished. The bee/s that is/are laying will not be able to fly back to the old hive site and should be visible on the sheet. All the others should fly back to the new hive. Once they are queenless and without brood, you then can either donate a comb of brood from the other hive and let them raise an emergency queen or unite.
To do the latter it might be best to make a follower board out of strong cardboard and make it as bee tight as possible. Cut a large hole in the middle. Cover the hole with a couple of sheets of newspaper. Slash the newpaper with a knife, so that it is still bee tight but the bees can chew at the slashed edge.
On an evening, when most of the bees have stopped flying, replace the regular follower in your queenright hive with the cardboard one and transfer the queenless colony combs into the void behind it. It may be necessary to brush up and tip out any bees that return colony 1 onto a landing board outside hive 2 at dusk.

The idea is that the queenless colony will slowly chew through the newspaper and gain access to the others by which time hive scent will have transferred between the two. If the two hives are relatively close together then removing the other hive to a distant location should result in any stragglers finding their way to the new hive.

I hope that all makes sense as I'm treating myself to a couple of glasses of port this evening!!

Good luck. It's a great opportunity to learn and gain experience for you both and the combined colony may be able to produce a honey surplus, so it can still be viewed in a positive light.

Best wishes

Barbara
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
ianrichards
House Bee


Joined: 14 Aug 2014
Posts: 20
Location: Callington, Cornwall

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant, thanks Barbara.
All seems quite straight forward and very logical.
Meanwhile I be checking my own TBH tomorrow to see what they are up too and if need be, do a split.
Many thanks
Ian

Barbara wrote:
Hi Ian

Sorry to hear your friend's original hive is not queenright.
Whichever way it is, you need to get rid of the bee that is laying those eggs, before you combine them.

The normal way to do this is to move the hive and replace it with another.... a bait hive will do. This means that the foraging bees return to the new hive and there are less bees to deal with in the one you are working on. The next thing to do is spread a sheet on the ground about 20 yards away. Carry the combs to the sheet and brush/shake the bees off the comb onto the sheet. Cut off any/all drone brood and remove and once you are sure there are no bees left one the comb, place it in the new hive at the original location. Do this with every comb and brush any bees out of the hive once you are finished. The bee/s that is/are laying will not be able to fly back to the old hive site and should be visible on the sheet. All the others should fly back to the new hive. Once they are queenless and without brood, you then can either donate a comb of brood from the other hive and let them raise an emergency queen or unite.
To do the latter it might be best to make a follower board out of strong cardboard and make it as bee tight as possible. Cut a large hole in the middle. Cover the hole with a couple of sheets of newspaper. Slash the newpaper with a knife, so that it is still bee tight but the bees can chew at the slashed edge.
On an evening, when most of the bees have stopped flying, replace the regular follower in your queenright hive with the cardboard one and transfer the queenless colony combs into the void behind it. It may be necessary to brush up and tip out any bees that return colony 1 onto a landing board outside hive 2 at dusk.

The idea is that the queenless colony will slowly chew through the newspaper and gain access to the others by which time hive scent will have transferred between the two. If the two hives are relatively close together then removing the other hive to a distant location should result in any stragglers finding their way to the new hive.

I hope that all makes sense as I'm treating myself to a couple of glasses of port this evening!!

Good luck. It's a great opportunity to learn and gain experience for you both and the combined colony may be able to produce a honey surplus, so it can still be viewed in a positive light.

Best wishes

Barbara
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> URGENT Help needed now! All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

SPECIAL OFFER FOR UK FORUM MEMBERS - Buy your protective clothing here and get a special 15% discount! (use the code BAREFOOTBEEKEEPER at checkout and be sure to 'update basket')



Are the big energy companies bleeding you dry?


Is way too much of your hard-earned family income going up in smoke?

Are you worried about what could happen if the ageing grid system fails?

You need to watch this short video NOW to find out how YOU can cut your energy bills TO THE BONE within 30 days!

WATCH THE VIDEO NOW



(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast



Now available from Lulu.com


Now available from Lulu.com


Now available from Lulu.com


4th Edition paperback now available from Lulu.com

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.
site map
php. BB © 2001, 2005 php. BB Group

View topic - To combine or not too ? ... that is the question - Natural Beekeeping Network Forum