Friday, July 11, 2008

Combining Weak Hives

If you have a couple weak hives, or perhaps a swarm and a weak hive, you can combine them and create a productive hive as follows:

Remove the bottom board from one hive place it on top of the other hive with a piece of newspaper between.  Cut slits in the newspaper with your hive tool.  

The bees co-mingle slowly and probably will not kill the queen that is strange to them.  The combined hives will often run for a time with 2 queens resulting in dramatic improvement in numbers of bees.  Eventually the queens will battle it out and the stronger will survive.


Jen said...

Thanks Craig - I will try this with a swarm we caught this week - it may have come from the weak hive - but maybee not. Hey - What do mites look like? Some of the swarm bees have a little white speck on them - could these bee mites or just some sort of debris from the hive or foraging? - about one speck on a bee. Thanks for the great information. Jen

Craig Lints said...

I forgot one important item. Make sure the upper hive has an entrance. Otherwise they might suffocate.

As for Jen's comment, yes, sounds like mites.

Kim said...

I combined a queenright weak hive with my queenless hive on Monday evening. The hardest part (for me anyways) was getting the heavy honey-laden boxes and mostly empty broodboxes (queenless) on top without moving the newspaper! Silly, but Steve and I finally got it in place. We did have a few peeved-off bees in the end though.

I'm going to give them til the weekend to settle down and in before I go in to check how things are going. I hope they accept her.

Jen said...

I just combined my swarm hive with my weak hive - that second box was really heavy. My beez put up with it pretty well. I put my hive tool on one side of the newspaper and leaned the lid on a folded over side of the paer to keep it in place - the breeze was moving it around. I used the legal-and want ad page of this weeks MV News. I think the bees will like knowing where the good garage sales are.