Uniting mismatched colonies

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

MerryBee 

House Bee
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Messages
239
Reaction score
47
Location
Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
8
Hi All,

I have 2 colonies I want to unite (newspaper method).

Colony 1 is a strong colony which had queen removed on 25th April (nuc method of swarm control).
New queen laying since around 20th May, since when they have turned quite nasty.
2 days ago I found and removed the unmarked queen, which required an inspection with my thick pair of "emergency" gloves.
Brood on 9 frames, and 2 quite well filled supers.

Colony 2 is a small nuc, made up only 8 days ago (nuc method of swarm control).
Good queen, only 3 frames of bees (2 of BIAS, 1 of stores).

So lots of thoughts/questions.

1. Is it problematic to unite 2 colonies so mismatched in size?
2. Do I have to remove emergency queen cells from colony 1 before uniting - not a prospect I relish.
3. These 2 colonies are currently about 3-4 metres apart and facing in opposite directions.
Do I need to bring them next to each other before uniting?
4. Do I put colony 2 above the supers on colony 1, or does the presence of supers cause a problem?
5. Am I overthinking this?

Many thanks.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

International Beekeeper of Mystery
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
26,750
Reaction score
4,330
Location
Glanaman,Carmarthenshire,Wales
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
Too many - but not nearly enough
Hi All,

I have 2 colonies I want to unite (newspaper method).

Colony 1 is a strong colony which had queen removed on 25th April (nuc method of swarm control).
New queen laying since around 20th May, since when they have turned quite nasty.
2 days ago I found and removed the unmarked queen, which required an inspection with my thick pair of "emergency" gloves.
Brood on 9 frames, and 2 quite well filled supers.

Colony 2 is a small nuc, made up only 8 days ago (nuc method of swarm control).
Good queen, only 3 frames of bees (2 of BIAS, 1 of stores).

So lots of thoughts/questions.

1. Is it problematic to unite 2 colonies so mismatched in size?
2. Do I have to remove emergency queen cells from colony 1 before uniting - not a prospect I relish.
3. These 2 colonies are currently about 3-4 metres apart and facing in opposite directions.
Do I need to bring them next to each other before uniting?
4. Do I put colony 2 above the supers on colony 1, or does the presence of supers cause a problem?
5. Am I overthinking this?

Many thanks.
1. No
2. yes, definitely - you should have united immediately on removing the queen, you now have to wait until they are hopelessly queenless which means IMHO at least two more visits.
3. No, I would get the nuc colony ready in a brood box and move them over on top of the Q- colony in the evening.
4. yes, put on top of the supers - newspaper, then QX then colony number 2
 

enrico 

Queen Bee
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Messages
9,549
Reaction score
563
Location
Somerset levels
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
5
The only variation I would offer is large bb, paper, small BB, QE, paper, large supers. That has worked for me in the past ending up with a double BB where you know the queen is.
In this heat you need to check they don't cook though.
E
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

International Beekeeper of Mystery
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
26,750
Reaction score
4,330
Location
Glanaman,Carmarthenshire,Wales
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
Too many - but not nearly enough
The only variation I would offer is large bb, paper, small BB, QE, paper, large supers. That has worked for me in the past ending up with a double BB where you know the queen is.
In this heat you need to check they don't cook though.
E
I'm afraid I must disagree, paper over the supers which are over the large Brood box, QX, small brood box, done it many times and it's always worked, why faff around with trying to unite from two directions?

First visit at 6-7 days, second visit at 9-10 days ??
No, check again in 3 then again at day 7 just before doing the unite
 

Swarm 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
8,378
Reaction score
1,170
Location
South Wales
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
more than 30, less than 100.
With the queenless colony on top, it doesn't matter how many supers are there.
 

Swarm 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
8,378
Reaction score
1,170
Location
South Wales
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
more than 30, less than 100.
Still makes no odds if there's an excluder involved with the paper.
 

Newbeeneil 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jan 1, 2018
Messages
2,003
Reaction score
945
Location
Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
40 plus 25 that I maintain for clients.
Hi Merry, if you decide what you want to do I'll come and help with the nasty hive if you don't feel up to it!
N
 

MerryBee 

House Bee
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Messages
239
Reaction score
47
Location
Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
8
I can now happily report that the uniting of the 2 colonies worked successfully.
I united last Sunday after removing all EQCs following advice given on this thread, and checked in again today to see how it had all gone.. The queen from the small colony has been accepted, and to my surprise, the temper of the combined colony has already improved. I have not experienced such a rapid change of temper before. I expected it to take several weeks.
A good result all round.

Many thanks to all who gave advice.
 

LeaBees 

House Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
109
Reaction score
42
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
3
1. No
2. yes, definitely - you should have united immediately on removing the queen, you now have to wait until they are hopelessly queenless which means IMHO at least two more visits.
3. No, I would get the nuc colony ready in a brood box and move them over on top of the Q- colony in the evening.
4. yes, put on top of the supers - newspaper, then QX then colony number 2
Hi
Question on this mismatched unite. If Q+ colony is below the supers (QX present) do you need a QX above the super? My instinct is no but would like to check.

Thanks
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

International Beekeeper of Mystery
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
26,750
Reaction score
4,330
Location
Glanaman,Carmarthenshire,Wales
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
Too many - but not nearly enough
Hi
Question on this mismatched unite. If Q+ colony is below the supers (QX present) do you need a QX above the super? My instinct is no but would like to check.

Thanks
No you don't - as there's no queen up there
 

Little_bees 

Field Bee
Joined
Feb 6, 2019
Messages
611
Reaction score
362
Location
Essex
Hive Type
national
Question on this mismatched unite. If Q+ colony is below the supers (QX present) do you need a QX above the super? My instinct is no but would like to check.
I would anyway, just to hold the paper in place.
Otherwise any uneven edges on the bottom bars of the top box can rip the paper prematurely when assembling.
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
22,197
Reaction score
3,880
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
QX easier for me anyway
I prepare the colonies in the afternoon and move brood box over in the evening, newspaper already in place
 

madasafish 

Queen Bee
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
9,838
Reaction score
1,116
Location
Stoke on Trent
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
6 to 8 Langstroth jumbos, a few Langstroth and National nucs.
I just use air freshener. Much easier. No faffing about. Two squirts and job is done.
 

Latest posts

Top