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Author Topic: Combine Nuc with Weak Hive  (Read 681 times)

Offline William F Abell Jr

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Combine Nuc with Weak Hive
« on: August 19, 2011, 10:28:13 PM »
I have a 5 frame nuc that is very strong and the queen was one the bees raised. I have a hive (1 of 4) that is very weak and was started with a package in late April. The Queen in that hive is useless. I haven't had the time this year to monitor very closely but at one point I thought I had laying workers and I couldn't find a queen. So I gave that hive some brood frames 2 successive weeks and they raised a queen but she has been very weak. Should I just let that hive go or dispatch her majesty and combine it through the newspaper method with the strong nuc.I am afraid neither the nuc nor the weak hive by themselves can survive the winter. I am in the mountains SW of Lexington VA. But I am also fearful of somehow contaminating the strong nuc with the bees from the weak hive. Any advice? Thanks. :)       

Offline Finski

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Re: Combine Nuc with Weak Hive
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2011, 01:27:54 AM »
You do not tell how weak is weak. 2 or 5 frames?

If you give to that size hive a new queen, it is not able to much.

3 frame hive should be restricted to 3 frame space. Otherwise it cannot keep brood area warm.
Even if a colony seems to use 3 frame, they may be on upper parts of frames and actually they have one frame of bees.

*** you may handle your weak hive with thymol to kill possible travhea mites and varroas.
Then pour to bees syrup into combs that they fill themselves with syrup.
Then join colonies without  newspaper.

When you put colonies to a langstroth box, you may take a frame of emerging bees from your best hive that you get a box totally filled.

Then the colony is ready to make winterbees. The winter cluster will be same size as brood area at the end of season.

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Offline BlueBee

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Re: Combine Nuc with Weak Hive
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2011, 03:27:28 AM »
Bees seem to need a critical mass to rapidly expand and be considered “strong”.  Your weak hive may be weak just due to a lack of bees as opposed to a queen problem.  As Finski suggests, 2 frames of bees can take forever to build up.  I assume you’re talking deep frames here.

Probably should do a mite count on the weak hive and make sure it doesn’t have a severe mite problem to boot.  If not, then a combine sounds like a reasonable course of action to me. 

Other options might be wintering in nucs, or swaping around your hives to get more field bees into your weak hive and see if that helps.