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Thread: Combining query

  1. #1
    Senior Member Bridget's Avatar
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    Default Combining query

    I have a colony in my bee shed that has become difficult to inspect due to its size. Itís double brood and two supers and the top super is hooching with bees. I canít give them more space as there is no more headroom. Can I combine the top super, over newspaper, with a hive thatís depleted from recent swarming and needs a boost before the start of the heather. The smaller hive should have a new Queen but not sure she has mated yet. Weather not been much above 14 degrees here in Kingussie for the past 7 days but due to warm up this week.
    Ive combined brood boxes before but not a super over a brood box and super.


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  2. #2

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    Hi Bridget, I donít see why not, I have done unites involving supers and multiple sheets of newspaper before. It should give your weak hive a nice boost of young bees too which theyíll be short of following a brood break.

  3. #3

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    I agree with Jambo. I am interested in you having a bee shed. How do you find it? I am frequently frustrated by the weather here in Ullapool. I know that Fatshark has a bee shed too. Maybe a winter project?


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    Senior Member Bridget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RDMW View Post
    I agree with Jambo. I am interested in you having a bee shed. How do you find it? I am frequently frustrated by the weather here in Ullapool. I know that Fatshark has a bee shed too. Maybe a winter project?


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    Thanks for that confirmation. I shall be able to do it this pm despite the weather.
    Fatshark has a very swanky bee shed. Ours was built out of pallets from machinery sent from Germany, very solid and not easy to modify so the entrances we got a bit wrong in the beginning are all looking a bit botched. We had much correspondence about it as we had just built ours. He is on version 2 now.
    We find the inside hives develop quicker in spring. It is just as cold inside as outside but it not damp at all which I think helps them. We have problem with height as the window frame constricts us but again we didnít know we would want to go so high. You can inspect if itís wet though they do all have to go out through the window to get back in again. Itís very very useful for storing kit.
    We have had far fewer winter/spring losses than other folk round here and as they donít need roofs itís easy to lift the crown board and then the polycarbonate under it to check how things are going. If something is going on you can hear it , as in drones trapped above the QE!
    Next time you are going down or up the A9 come and have a pit stop and a look. Just 3 miles from Kingussie


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    Hello Bridget. Iíve united lots of colonies over the years using newspaper but in every case I end up with one less hive. When the bees in the top box have worked their way out and start flying they find their original home is no longer there. So they either go back into their new home or they are accepted by other colonies. My worry is that if the original hive that your united bees came from is still there, the bulk of the flyers will try to return home despite having a different smell. Your idea might work if the super has mostly house bees in it or the bad weather keeps them in longer but I donít know how you can guarantee that. This is only my opinion please let us know if it works out fine.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bridget's Avatar
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    Best made plans etc

    Checked for an empty QC in the recipient hive and there it was still sealed. No sign of any eggs but certain to early for that. Reckon she should have emerged on the30th. Probably should have checked whether the bees had resealed the QC. So gave them a frame of eggs and brood and we will check again in another 6 days. And the monster colony still has their crammed super. So thinking caps on. Is there another colony that could benefit from a boost?


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  7. #7

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    Good point Lindsay.

    I read something interesting in Manleyís Honey Farming book a couple of weeks ago, where he says that the only method of queen introduction that never fails is simply to swap the position of two hives, the flyers all ending up in the hive that is in their original location.

    Could this be used to solve your problem somehow?

    I stress I have never tried this.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bridget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lindsay s View Post
    Hello Bridget. Iíve united lots of colonies over the years using newspaper but in every case I end up with one less hive. When the bees in the top box have worked their way out and start flying they find their original home is no longer there. So they either go back into their new home or they are accepted by other colonies. My worry is that if the original hive that your united bees came from is still there, the bulk of the flyers will try to return home despite having a different smell. Your idea might work if the super has mostly house bees in it or the bad weather keeps them in longer but I donít know how you can guarantee that. This is only my opinion please let us know if it works out fine.
    Some people combine using air freshener! Not tried it myself - do you spray both boxes or just the super, what perfume do they like and how much of a squirt - but it sure would be quick and easy!


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  9. #9

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    Hello Bridget - I first heard about the air freshner as another of C4U's tips. Any standard freshner and spray both groups that are being united. The bees will flee away from the spray. I carry a can all the time. I've done this a few times (twice last week, to re-queen a couple of colonies using new Qs in nucs to add to a larger colony) and its quick and so far it has worked out. I think the idea is that it just causes confusion and masks the smell of each group. That said, I also setup uniting of two larger colonies last week and there I used the newspaper method.

    Also - driving around Deeside yesterday and blown away by the beauty of the bell in flower. There are really some fantastic sites up there - pity its too far for me to access.

  10. #10
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    My bee shed was definitely a case of Nanos gigantum humeris insidentes ...

    Any chance you could avoid the window ledge issue by shifting the hive backwards and adding a simple tube entrance of some sort?

    I don't think there would be a problem doing a newspaper unite with the super. I've done something similar when doing a weirdo two-storey unite with colonies that worked.

    Speaking of two storey ... time for an extension/second floor on the bee shed

    PS I've not used air freshener, and wouldn't with honey supers. The last thing I'd want is a customer complaining my honey tastes of Febreze

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