Combining weak hives - best way?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by PerryBee, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There's this OTHER beekeeper, yea, yea, a friend of mine, that's it.

    He has just gone through his hives and is generally pleased with what he has found. There are a couple of hives that he is thinking of combining:

    Hive # 1 has 2 to 3 frames of bees at best. No queen, brood, is on it's way out.
    Hive # 2 has 1 to 1 1/2 frames of bees but does have a queen, and she is trying bless her, brood patch the size of a small baseball on both sides of one frame but not enough bees for her to expand beyond that.

    Are there enough bees to try a newspaper combine?
    Do I, I mean does he pick a decent day, mist the bees of both with a little 1 to 1 syrup and just combine frames?
    Is there something that could be done this fellow hasn't thought of?

    Let me know your thoughts and I will be sure to pass them on. :mrgreen:
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

    Messages:
    5,162
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would tell him to do a newspaper combine. Leave the strong hive where it is at, remove the inner and outer cover, place a sheet of newspaper on top and with your hive tool cut a couple of small slits in it (this helps the bees get started), now sit the weak hive on top of the newspaper and use one of your upper entrances for them. A few spritz of sugar water or a few puffs of smoke usually mask the smells long enough to get them started. In about 3 days the combine should be done and you can combine the frames into one box. You will see fuzzy puffs of the paper being drug out of the front entrance.

    I hope your friend does good with it, maybe you can assist :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    With that few bees, I would remove 3 or 4 frames from the queenright hive and move the occupied frames to spaces 2, 3, 4. Then I would move the queenless occupied frames to spaces 9, 8, 7. I would block the entrance in front of frames 1 thru 9, leaving a 1 in. entrance in front of frame 10.
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    G3 - this is what I thought of telling him ;)

    Iddee - interesting, because of the small amount of bees you would prefer a more direct joining?
    Both hives have their small clusters/bees hard over to one side (sunny)
    The hive with the queen is occupying frames 1-2, the queenless hive are on frames 1-2-3.
    You basically suggest leaving queen and her retinue as is (1-2) and move the other hives 3 frames to position 7-8-9 with positions 4-5-6 as a buffer and frame 10 has the only opening to the outside? Should the top opening be closed off?
    Would you anticipate any fighting or is the 3 frame buffer enough?
     
  5. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

    Messages:
    3,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have done direct combines with weak colonies by using 1 to1 syurp mixed with vanilla extracted. (it doesn't cause robbing like HBH ). I would spray the inside of each hive the day before and combine like Iddee said, and had no problem with fightlng. Jack
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Almost. I would move the queen to frames 2,3. Queenless, 7,8,9. Leaving 3 frame buffer, with entrance near the queenless. I like the outside frames to be empty, for insulation.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    a paper combine is a good thing for a new bee keeper to know. I would suggest anyone that does this frequently also become acquainted with using a double screen and queen excluder to combine and level populations.

    the paper combine works quite well (strategically) when one queen has obviously failed. a double screen and queen excluder is a better option when you know or suspect both queens are acceptable but there are other variable (like low population or feed resources) than is holding back a queens egg laying capacity.
     
  8. rast

    rast New Member

    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    One thing to note, if it rains the newspaper will wick water in and fall apart prematurely. Also, if its windy it's kinda like the 3 Stooges doing it by yourself unless you tape it down. Of course if you help your friend it makes it easier :D .
    The more I use it, the more I like a double screen board.
     
  9. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, I took a chance and combined this afternoon (only 48 F).
    I pulled the four frames from my queenless colony and popped them in a nuc and drove over to another yard where the hive with 1 1/2 frames of bees with a queen were. (why is it whenever this sort of maneuver has to happen, it's never in the same yard, noooo, can't have that now, can we?) I misted them all down with a little 1 to 1 with the vanilla extract (I've tried this before, hope it helps) and dropped the frames in as per Iddee's suggestion. There is a good 4 frame buffer between them. The one thing I did not do was to put the entrance over to the one side. I left the reduced center entrance as well as my upper entrance (centered).
    This officially makes me 16 out of 18 (so far) fingers crossed.
    Uuuuuuuuh, I hope my friend has success with this, I'll let you know ;)
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't think the entrance will matter, as long as the queenless bees aren't going in where the queen is. My quess is they will all be together with queen within about 3 days.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    PerryBee writes:
    This officially makes me 16 out of 18 (so far) fingers crossed.

    tecumseh:
    at your location this make 'your friends' winter survival rate look quite exceptional.

    pat 'your friend' on the back and spread the news as to what 'your friend' did that might of enhanced the winter survival rate.
     
  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Tecumseh:

    I wish I could say exactly why I was succesful (so far, knock on wood) this year compared to last year.
    I feel my colonies were slightly stronger heading into fall and I knocked back the mites a little earlier but not by enough to have made a difference IMHO.
    I put fondant patties on my doubles again as usual (don't think I've ever had a hive starve out because of a lack of stores) It is just too cheap of an insurance policy in my book. Some got a 3rd box of capped stores dropped on top to make them triples.
    The one big difference this year versus last is I did not use the bee cosies. Last year I lost 8 of 19 and the majority were the ones with the cosies. (10 had cosies, 8 tarpaper)
    I formed an opinion (right or wrong I cannot say) that the ones with tar paper were able to move around a bit more when the sun came out and warmed up slightly. When I put my hand between the cosy and the hive bodies on cold sunny days, I found that the cosies did not allow the benefit of the sun to pass through to the hive body itself (stands to reason).
    Going back to the 2 hives that I just combined (for my friend of course) both had very small amount of bees and both were hard over to the sunny side to take advantage of the warmth, something the cosy may not have allowed. They were small, but alive!
    It may be hard to believe but in my gut this may be one of the signifcant factors in my survival rate this year, tar paper only on them all!
    The rest may simply bee $#!?house luck.

    Perry
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    some perry bee snips:
    I formed an opinion (right or wrong I cannot say) that the ones with tar paper were able to move around a bit more when the sun came out and warmed up slightly. When I put my hand between the cosy and the hive bodies on cold sunny days, I found that the cosies did not allow the benefit of the sun to pass through to the hive body itself (stands to reason).

    and then...

    It may be hard to believe but in my gut this may be one of the signifcant factors in my survival rate this year, tar paper only on them all!

    tecumseh:
    pat yourself on the back once again. you have the making of a better than average bee keeper. over the years I have found that 1) it is the accumulation of the small things that matters in regards to keeping bees and 2) once you immerse yourself into a geographical niche (like any good hunter or fisherman always does) following your gut or instinct is the best advice you can follow.
     
  14. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

    Messages:
    5,162
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    A valuable lesson on insulation, it not only holds heat in, but will also hold heat out.

    As a fire sprinkler contractor I have seem people wrap insulation around pipes in attics to keep them from freezing, don't work!! I always ask, "where is the heat coming from that you are trying to hold in??"