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Author Topic: If I have to combine...  (Read 913 times)
tlynn
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« on: January 02, 2009, 06:04:17 PM »

I think I'm losing a hive...in a nutshell I requeened last month and she's not laying despite feeding and warm weather.  Population is getting lower and lower and I doubt they will make it through our January cold spells, potentially 30sF are coming up if we get a strong front.  So Michael Bush suggested pulling frames and inserting foam, which I am going to try tomorrow.  I found some one inch thick styrofoam insulation at home depot and I am going to use it to shrink them down to 5 or 6 frames.  If this doesn't work I am going to combine with my other hive which is very strong.

So...if I combine, do I get rid of the queen in the weak hive?  Do I use multiple sheets of newspaper?  Do I slit the paper a lot, just a few places?  Basically how do I combine them? 

I'm thinking the strong hive can utilize the resources in the weak brood box and build brood and then I can re-split them in the spring and all's great in the world.
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pdmattox
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2009, 07:14:11 PM »

You could just put them into a nuc box instead of the foam thing and then just shake some nurse bees into the nuc to help them out. If you do combine, I would put the weak one on top of the strong one using a sheet of newspaper in between boxes. I also would jerrymac the non productive queen before you put the boxes together.
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rast
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2009, 12:41:42 PM »

  "So...if I combine, do I get rid of the queen in the weak hive?  Do I use multiple sheets of newspaper?  Do I slit the paper a lot, just a few places?  Basically how do I combine them? "

 Short answers, Yes the queen has to go. One sheet is sufficient, small, few splits, otherwise they combine before they get used to each others sent. Then lots of fighting at the entrance, ignore it , it's a done deal, they'll get over it. Combine when there is no rain forcast, otherwise it will wet any newspaper hanging out and wick inside and fall apart immediately. If the breeze tries to blow the paper off, have a little masking tape ready to hold it down til you set the other hive on it. Don't know what else to tell ya, it ain't rocket science (we are on the wrong coast) or I couldn't do it.

 Small hive survival, how much pollen do they have stored that the larva didn't ruin? The workers won't let the queen lay unless there is enough pollen to support the brood no matter how much you feed them. Not really much time left to lay and mature before the Jan. fronts start rolling in here.

 I don't think you got the BT to bottom of the open cells, other wise the larva would not have grown to the size you described after spraying. They just went under it.
 Rick     

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tlynn
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2009, 12:55:31 PM »

Yea, Rick, I don't think I got the BT all around (worried I was getting the bees too wet) and some were deep in the comb.  I have put that hive through a lot the last few weeks.

The good news is today's inspection was very positive.  Temps in upper 70s.  I decided to put them in a nuc and it went very well, mostly.  She had half a frame in eggs which I didn't see last week.  I left them 2 frames of honey and pollen and the three brood frames they were hanging onto.  The rest will go in the freezer.  Still saw a few wax moth larva, very small ones in a few cells.  All those I saw I pulled out to freeze.  And with nuc size perhaps they can manage the rest of them if they are in there.

EXCEPT.......

The nuc is varnished and the hive was white.  It's in the exact same place but I am seeing foragers coming back full of white pollen and they keep hovering around the entrance.  I saw a couple go in but they are very unsure.  I would have made the switch early morning though the temps have been in the 50s in the mornings.  Is this a concern?  I don't think they can afford to lose a lot of field bees right now.  Will they eventually go in today?
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