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  • Kenneth Lee Henderson posted an update in the group Group logo of Southern New Mexico BeekeepersSouthern New Mexico Beekeepers 4 years, 7 months ago

    Having some problems and need advice. I have 3 hives that are just not doing anything.
    1-The Toilet Tank hive still is not growing in size. I think Paul McCarty is raising me a new queen for them so that may cure that problem.
    2-The first swarm I got in February and gave to my friend in Alamo Canyon is not growing. I’m going to go into it and have a look but possibly they have a weak queen also? This was a small swarm and has not gotten much larger. I was wondering about the possibility of combining them with the small swarm I got from Chaparral last week. I know it is done but not sure how to go about it. Probably go into the weak hive and find and kill the queen then add the new swarm and their queen? Lots of questions here but maybe some of you out there can advise me if this is doable and if it is advisable?
    3- I checked in on the 3 Rivers hive yesterday. They had not built into the top box I added 9 days ago. They had not finished filling the bottom box completely either. It looks like all forward progress has ceased. I stood there and timed entries and exits for 2 minutes. 7 bees out, 8 bees in. Not very good is it? Seemed like their overall number was down also. Did not see any dead bees.
    Any ideas or advice?

    • Hi Ken,
      The count you took on the 3 Rivers hive does not sound good. Sorry but it is hard to tell what it means without going through the hive for clues.
      As far as requeening, my suggestion is if you have access to a new queen, go for it. The quality of the queen can really affect a hive.
      As far as hives not doing well, with the current honey flow dearth most hives will not be as active and will be letting their numbers decline (less brood).
      As far as combining your weaker hives, it is certainly a possibility. I think it is late enough in the swarm season that it would be safe to do. It is not good to go into winter with weak hives but that is a ways off yet. If it appears they both have a queen and are still functioning and have some honey reserves, you could try waiting. Then again it is easier to feed and care for one weak hive as opposed to two even weaker hives. It is up to you.
      For combining hives, some advocate killing the weaker queen if they both have queens. Others let the bees take care of it. As for the newspaper combine, usually the stronger hive is put on the bottom and a sheet of newspaper is put on top of it. Most beeks poke holes or cut slits in the newspaper, some even wet it. Then the weaker hive is put on top. Some add syrup for the top hive, some spray the bees with sugar solution. Obviously beekeepers are experimenters and keep trying their own things, so there is no exact method considered perfect by everyone.

      Sorry I can’t add hyperlinks in a reply so I doubt these work for clicking but you can copy and past them to check out a couple of combining links.

      http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-combine-two-bee-colonies-into-one-hive.html

      http://smallfarm.about.com/od/beekeeping/a/How-To-Combine-Two-Beehives.htm

      • Hey, I see the links do work.
        You just can’t format what is seen unless it works to paste it in as HyperText which I’m going to try below.

        Michael Bush has a word document you can download here Beginning BeeKeeping which has a lot of basic useful information

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