Unite 2 weak hives now or later?

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robmort 

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I've 2 weak hives as a result of a lost queen and a split, but both have newly laying queens from a few weeks ago. To have a chance of a honey crop from them this year is it best to unite now or leave them until they've built up a bit stronger before doing it?
 

pargyle 

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Your not a million miles from me and in my area the main flows nearly over, so if you’ve not got any honey yet I wouldn’t be expecting much more.
Yes ... not a million miles from me in Fareham and the flow has slowed a lot in the last few days although with the rain last night and predicted warm weather there will still be plenty of forage in urban locations (gardens, allotments, parks etc keep going for another few weeks). I would agree - the countryside will be drying up unless there is balsam about, There are still brambles in flower around here.
 

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I don't need two weak hives as I've 3 other good ones, so need to unite them with something rather than keep them through the winter, so it's a question of when. Plenty of forage in my garden and around with clover, brambles etc. and others going on into the autumn.
 

pargyle 

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I don't need two weak hives as I've 3 other good ones, so need to unite them with something rather than keep them through the winter, so it's a question of when. Plenty of forage in my garden and around with clover, brambles etc. and others going on into the autumn.
How many frames of brood in each of the weak hives ? If you are going to combine them pick the one with the best brood pattern and squish the queen in the other and put them together.

If there's not much brood in either I'd be tempted to just shake them out in front of your other hives and then take all the kit away ... they will beg their way into one or more of your other hives. If there are any frames of brood you can donate those to your other colonies.

If you are good at finding queens then you could combine with your other hives but ... probably as easy to just to shake them out to find their own way. They will bolster your other colonies foraging force.
 

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Assume you won't get honey from them. If they're weak can't you just put them into nucs and feed until they're stronger? Even if not, is it not worth feeding them up now with syrup so they are stronger before winter and use them to make up for any winter losses or merge them with another colony in spring if there's a good flow to take advantage of.
 

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I don't need two weak hives as I've 3 other good ones, so need to unite them with something rather than keep them through the winter, so it's a question of when. Plenty of forage in my garden and around with clover, brambles etc. and others going on into the autumn.
In that case I would unite one to a strong hive and the other similarly and you can do it now
 

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If there's not much brood in either I'd be tempted to just shake them out in front of your other hives and then take all the kit away
:iagree: al you get by uniting two weak/mediocre colonies is one big weak/mediocre colony. if both queens were too poor to build up a colony, killing one and uniting both won't improve anything
 

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One has one frame of brood (14x12), the other has a some eggs so far. They're not poor queens necessarily, just recently mated, and could be good and start laying quickly. But it's rather late to build up, though 2 queens would do it quicker than one.
 

pargyle 

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One has one frame of brood (14x12), the other has a some eggs so far. They're not poor queens necessarily, just recently mated, and could be good and start laying quickly. But it's rather late to build up, though 2 queens would do it quicker than one.
" I've 2 weak hives " ... So not too weak hives ... just two YOUNG colonies.

Me .. I'd be inclined to leave them and see how they develop. There's plenty of time to combine them if you want to prior to winter but I think my preference would be to get them into two nucs and overwinter them as Nucs ... could be two really useful colonies next year. Seems a waste to lose two potentially good queens and their potential next year ....
 

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I've 2 weak hives as a result of a lost queen and a split, but both have newly laying queens from a few weeks ago. To have a chance of a honey crop from them this year is it best to unite now or leave them until they've built up a bit stronger before doing it?
Unite and safe the stress :)
 

Do224 

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Not at all late to build up. Feed them as needed and good Q’s will build up absolutely fine before winter.
Time to build up into strong nucs or would there even still be time for them to fill a national bb?
 

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They're not poor queens necessarily, just recently mated, and could be good and start laying quickly. But it's rather late to build up, though 2 queens would do it quicker than one.
Aah! Different story!

Plenty of time to build them up as spring insurance against losses or sell on next May for a good price. Feed syrup to keep the queens laying, treat for varroa and unless they are duff, you've avoided a fiddly job.
 

Wilco 

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Even if not built up to a huge size, it's possible to overwinter small colonies. I've overwintered on two frames before (although that did require a close eye).
 

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It is possible, but why take the risk and give yourself the hassle of having to keep a close eye on them. Strong colonies over winter survival rate is much better than that of weak. I will always reduce my hive numbers pre winter and you can guarantee that by the next autumn I will have too many again.
 

robmort 

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.................or sell on next May for a good price..
Good to have different opinions!
Not sure I can sell a nucleus or colony easily as most people at the club seem to go for swarms, otherwise where would you advertise?
 

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If you are good at finding queens then you could combine with your other hives but ... probably as easy to just to shake them out to find their own way. They will bolster your other colonies foraging force.
I'm confused. If you shake out a hive without killing the queen surely they will stay with that queen. They'll either all go into another colony at which point the queens will fight, with who knows what outcome, or more likely they'll swarm off into someone's chimney. Or all go and live under an open mesh floor No?
 

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