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Raewyn

Document When to combine 2 week hives

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I have 2 week hives, is it best to combine in the spring or now?

Sorry  "weak"  hives

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Better now before they dwindle more .

 

If you value both queens , merge with newspaper and a queen excluder between them , and they will both co exist and will be faster to build up and split again later on .

 

Just be aware though, if they have too much space , the bees will favour one and leave the other behind to die 

 

 

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About that. If they are seriously weak, there is probably a reason.

 

My own preference, is to discover that reason and fix it.

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Do you belong to a hobbyist bee club?  If so, get one of their senior members to inspect the hives and advise you.  Hobbyist clubs often have knowledgeable members with years of experience.  Also you might be able to "buddy up" with a member on the same level as yourself, and the two of you can grow your knowledge together. 

 

Personally, I would not recommend any amalgamation of hives until you ascertain what the issue is.  You should always know, or get someone in who is in the know, why your hive is struggling, and if it dies what it died of. 

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Should you joined two weak hives together? That's a really hard question to answer without knowing why they are weak and just how weak they are. Personally I set hives up well in autumn and if they succumb over the winter then they get a Darwin award. I don't go near my hives for 3 1/2 months, have a nice winter break and catch up with all my maintenance and repairs.

I am not however completely heartless, I found a bee today, cold wet and nearly dead nestled inside a flower and I warmed it up, gave it some honey and put it in the entrance of a strong hive.

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22 hours ago, john berry said:

 I found a bee today, cold wet and nearly dead nestled inside a flower and I warmed it up, gave it some honey and put it in the entrance of a strong hive.

 

Ha! I found a large bumblebee today, just as sad. I was about to make a lemon and honey, so gave it some honey. It sat there and did nothing for an hour afterwards then bounced off every surface in the kitchen looking to escape.

1168ADDE-8B88-432B-A2D2-2D7B9A990872.jpeg

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13 hours ago, cBank said:

 

Ha! I found a large bumblebee today, just as sad. I was about to make a lemon and honey, so gave it some honey. It sat there and did nothing for an hour afterwards then bounced off every surface in the kitchen looking to escape.

1168ADDE-8B88-432B-A2D2-2D7B9A990872.jpeg

That'll be a queen bumblebee you got...all other castes die over winter. Did she have a large, relatively fur-less abdomen? You can keep them in a shoebox or something of a similar size, feed her on a bit of pollen and nectar (or honey and water substitute) and she may build you a nice little bumblebee nest given time. I think you can refrigerate the queens, and that simulates the winter period. Then haul them out and get them going on some protein and carbs!

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Definitely try to save it in early autumn but as it gets colder that won't be easy, joining to a strong hive is best, you can even run dual-queens like this but put a queen excluder between the brood boxes and spray it with vanilla water (a few drops in a spray bottle of water) to mask the scent of bee's moving between.  This way you'll get nurse bees from the strong hive supporting the weak one without risk of guard bees killing them.

 

I lost one of my hives (queen specifically) to wasps so I joined what was left to a strong hive, cool to see the results from within the brood after just 5 days, see attached.

ModuSense - Thermoregulation of adopted brood box.pdf

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2 hours ago, Ruche said:

That'll be a queen bumblebee you got...all other castes die over winter. Did she have a large, relatively fur-less abdomen? You can keep them in a shoebox or something of a similar size, feed her on a bit of pollen and nectar (or honey and water substitute) and she may build you a nice little bumblebee nest given time. I think you can refrigerate the queens, and that simulates the winter period. Then haul them out and get them going on some protein and carbs!

 

I didn’t notice it as being more hairless than normal, but it (she?) was bigger than normal.

I think you have just given me a project!

 

I have seen several really big bumblebees about in the last week.

 

Thanks for this.

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Thanks for your  advice.   I do belong to a bee keeping club. The hives are weak due to swarming last spring and then a heavy infestation of varoa which I have treated with strips.

I'll get a friend to have a look at my hives with me and take it from there. Thanks 

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Hey Raewyn, I'm in Dunedin. I could look at it for you if you want. I'm a retiring beekeeper with a little more time on my hands, so it wouldn't be a problem. Only problem we have is the weather at the moment, Thursday coming is fine but then it turns cold with snow to 600m. Give me a ring or text if you want some sound advice : 027 6258606

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