Uniting colonies

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sukis-dad 

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Hi

This is my second season with bees. Last year I had problems with being supplied with a poorly mated queen - it's a long story but didn't get any honey. I expected this.
I now have 2 hives each with a super.
Hive1 has brood box, queen ex, super, crown board, roof.
Hive2 is the same.
Each hive has a couple of frames of sealed and unsealed honey but little stores in the brood box. I am very disappointed not to get honey this year.
I lost quite a lot of bees through swarming although I did Artificial swarm.
I now want to unite hive1 with hive2 and let them have the super honey.

This is my plan -

Remove queen from hive1 -
put newspaper over the top of super in hive2 -
put hive1 brood box and super on top of hive2.
Then next week move frames from hive1 into hive2 brood box and hive2 super.
I am not sure where the super would go - over the brood box or under it?
I heard someone say that the bees would not go up into the super to get the honey but if it is under the brood box surely it will get very dirty.
Your valuable advice on my plan would be very welcome.
Thanks
Brian
 

Rosti 

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I would reflect carefully on your motivation to combine. My thoughts would be:
1. We can all suffer winter losses, better to take two colonies (minimum) through winter as an insurance
2. Come spring the ability to donate and manipulate frames between two colonies is also very useful insurance
If at all possible I would winter both colonies, of course if you have worries about critical mass then you have a difficult choice to make.

If you are giving them the super of honey to winter on brood & 1/2 fair enough (so your are on one colony then!) but if you are simply giving back and want to winter on brood box only then I would extract and feed back in a controlled way. Again if you go for two colonies you'd have to feed back anyway toi split it.
 

Mike a 

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I agree with Rosti better to take two colonies into winter if you can if they are both a reasonable size and have enough stores to see them through.
 

Heather 

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In my opinion..Take out the QE, remove the supers, as they sound too small to have super above-and FEED 2:1 syrup. About 10 pints each hive. Or until heavy. It is a fine balance as you want queen to still have room to lay autumn brood. Store the supers till next year or extract and return honey to the bees with syrup
Keep as 2 hives as suggested above.
 

sukis-dad 

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I like the idea of keeping 2 colonies, although hive1 is quite small.
Both queens are new this year and laying well.
Last year I did manage to over-winter a small colony.
The supers only have a couple of frames with capped and uncapped honey.

Heather why do you say remove the QE?
I can see why I should remove the supers.
If I started to feed now would the bees take it?

Rosti how would I feed the honey back to them, as it will be too thick to go in my 3 litre feeder.
 

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