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How to combine hives?

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House Bee

Joined: 21 Jul 2009
Posts: 23
Location: USA, Philadelphia, PA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:40 pm    Post subject: How to combine hives? Reply with quote

I have a hive that has been queenless for a while, two rounds of them trying to make a queen have not produced one. I want to combine this KTBH with an already existing hive. How do I do it?

Do I just add the bars of the weaker hive to the stronger hive? Do I do it at night?
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Silver Bee

Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 764
Location: USA, W. Virginia

PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have tried unsuccessfully to rear a queen and your methods have been sound then is it possible that this unit has a laying worker? If this is the case..(you can check by looking carefully for more than one egg in brood cells, if there are eggs at all) then if they are united with another colony there is a high possibility that the queenless bees may destroy the queen in the other colony after they are united. If this is your scenario then there is no way to determine which workers are laying and it is best to destroy them as the union risks the other colony's winter survival.

Your options are becoming limited due to the season winding down. If they were queenless and you met the correct larval age criteria, there were nurse bees present or enough that could perform such duties then they should have reared one, that they didn't poses the problem why not.

If they are joinable then perhaps a screened follower board separating the two colonies combs for a short period might work, each with their own entrance. Some bees will go to the old spot and you should be able to recover most of them if you leave the old KBH on location and shake the bees out into the new one the next day or two. Someone else may have some ideas for you.
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Golden Bee

Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 1670
Location: Canada, BC, Delta

PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with professor. There may also be a queen in the hive and is not laying for some reason. You need to be positive that there isn't laying workers or a queen in the hive before combining. If the hive that you want to combine to has everything that it needs to (stores and good bee population) to over winter there really is no point in combining.

What do you mean by that they failed twice? Did they attempt to build queen cells from a brood comb with eggs and larva from your other hive and failed or did not attempt to build any? More detail

You could use a sheet of newspaper as a barrier with a few small holes for communication and they will chew away bigger holes over time and join together over a few days. Day time is best.
I'm not as serious as I look!
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