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Two questions on combining colonies

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keithgrimes 

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I am going to have to combine to get through the winter. Is there an optimum time of year to do this? Also, most if not all books recommend killing one queen before the combining operation. Does anyone disagree with this, and why? My (probably distorted) logic is that if you leave it to the queens to sort, the stronger one would prevail. But I guess nothings certain.
 

Heather 

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I would do soon if that is the road you are going down. Are they that small as there is time yet for them to build. You do need 2 colonies as a general thought - insurance!

If you really want to combine I would see which queen is the best egg producer- bump the other off (or save her in an apidea with a cup of bees till you are sure all well)and then you put a layer of newspaper between the 2 brood boxes, with the queenless above- and let the bees eat through and unite- Then a queen excluder between the boxes- allow the queenless brood to hatch. Then remove the upper brood box. Job done. But I would personally try to bring both on as individual - its only July :driving:
 

keithgrimes 

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Thanks for that Heather. Due to early swarming of a nuc I have two colonies. Both have only two frames of bees so I think combining may be inevitable. I have a third hive which is strong so I will wind up with two colonies that hopefully will make it through
 

Heather 

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If you have the 3rd- then combine the 2 small ones. Lose the weaker queen - newspaper - get them building well now. The extra bees will bring in more pollen encouraging the queen so brood boost. Good luck
 

Midland Beek 

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All the books say kill the unwanted queen before uniting. If you don't, I would guess a unite would still be successful. However, there is some chance that the surviving queen might be injured, like as in a paralysed leg.
 

MJBee 

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I agree with Heather. As insurance I would put the weakest queen in a nuc with 1 frame of brood and one of food and the bees on them.

Unite with newspaper then after a week re-arrange the frames so all the brood is together in the bottom box, check the queen is present and laying. If all is ok you could then squish the weak queen.
 

oliver90owner 

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Half way through July and considering uniting? And with 3 colonies?

Hatching brood moved over from the strongest colony will soon reinforce the smaller ones. I would not be uniting until nearly the end of the season - two laying queens, if enough house bees, can make either 2 colonies or one single large one by the end of the season.

Last year 'doom and gloom', for some, set in around the end of July but the season went on until about the end of October. Only you know exactly how strong or weak your colonies are - a lot out there exagerate or don't really know - so my advice is moving frames now, if appropriate and all bees are healthy, and leave decisions for later.

I united some bees in late October last year. Went on holiday for a week and sorted out the frames about a fortnight or three weeks after returning (other things got in the way of beekeeping at that time!).

Biggest problem at this time of the year is keeping the wasps at bay.

Regards, RAB
 

tkwinston4 

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Half way through July and considering uniting? And with 3 colonies?

Hatching brood moved over from the strongest colony will soon reinforce the smaller ones. I would not be uniting until nearly the end of the season - two laying queens, if enough house bees, can make either 2 colonies or one single large one by the end of the season.

Last year 'doom and gloom', for some, set in around the end of July but the season went on until about the end of October. Only you know exactly how strong or weak your colonies are - a lot out there exagerate or don't really know - so my advice is moving frames now, if appropriate and all bees are healthy, and leave decisions for later.

I united some bees in late October last year. Went on holiday for a week and sorted out the frames about a fortnight or three weeks after returning (other things got in the way of beekeeping at that time!).

Biggest problem at this time of the year is keeping the wasps at bay.

Regards, RAB
Afternoon all.

Just been reading up on here about uniting and could do with some advice please.

2 frames of bees (from caste swarm) currently in National Brood box being harassed to high heaven by wasps. Entrance really small but they just dont seem to have much inclination to fight them off and the poor little sods just arent strong enough i guess.

Anyway i have a very healthy and strong hive down the road about two miles away in a WBC and a 5 frame nuc (4 frames of bees) at home 23 miles away with a brand new queen purchased from the lovely "beebreeder".

I know my best option is to unite the two frames of bees but which hive/nuc would be best to put them with?
Strong healthy hive 2 miles down the road, currently with two supers on or weaker nuc that i cant touch for 8 days due to new queen.

Or can i put a frame or two of brood in the National to boost them up a bit?

Really cant decide what my best option would be here.

Please help :confused:
 

oliver90owner 

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a frame or two of brood

Hatching brood, not just any old brood. There would likely be insufficient house bees to service eggs and open brood.

And no, don't waste good frames of brood on a doomed colony. The only thing to do, IMO, is to seriously reinforce with bees - enough to repel the boarders. Doesn't sound too practical with that colony.

A swarm too. Risky uniting them with good colonies unless provenance, and therefore health, is known.

Your call. I pass.

Regards, RAB
 

Mike a 

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Half way through July and considering uniting? And with 3 colonies?

Hatching brood moved over from the strongest colony will soon reinforce the smaller ones. I would not be uniting until nearly the end of the season - two laying queens, if enough house bees, can make either 2 colonies or one single large one by the end of the season.

Last year 'doom and gloom', for some, set in around the end of July but the season went on until about the end of October. Only you know exactly how strong or weak your colonies are - a lot out there exagerate or don't really know - so my advice is moving frames now, if appropriate and all bees are healthy, and leave decisions for later.

I united some bees in late October last year. Went on holiday for a week and sorted out the frames about a fortnight or three weeks after returning (other things got in the way of beekeeping at that time!).

Biggest problem at this time of the year is keeping the wasps at bay.

Regards, RAB
:iagree:

The season may be extended again this year and in terms of remaining brood cycles two queens will out preform just one provided they have enough numbers to keep the hive up to temperature and fight off robbers.
Combining colonies now should imho only be done if you have no other alternative options. So I would allow both more time to build up for winter and judge how they are doing some time in late August / September when you will need to monitor their level of winter stores.
 

tkwinston4 

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:iagree:

The season may be extended again this year and in terms of remaining brood cycles two queens will out preform just one provided they have enough numbers to keep the hive up to temperature and fight off robbers.
Combining colonies now should imho only be done if you have no other alternative options. So I would allow both more time to build up for winter and judge how they are doing some time in late August / September when you will need to monitor their level of winter stores.
Excellent and clear advice, thanks for that Mike. bee-smillie
 

Haughton Honey 

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Excellent and clear advice, thanks for that Mike. bee-smillie
As it always is.

If you've been on here a while you'll find Mike one of the more 'professional' and valued posters.......and his advice is very much spot on usually.
 

Mike a 

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As it always is.

If you've been on here a while you'll find Mike one of the more 'professional' and valued posters.......and his advice is very much spot on usually.
Cheque will be in the post Monday if thats ok with you WPC ? :sifone:
 

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