Thursday, June 27, 2013

Combining Colonies

So I did another hive check yesterday.  I can tell you that this heat has not been good for our bees!  Don't we live in a place of extremes?  One month we're dealing with freezing temperatures and the next, heat exhaustion.  So out of three colonies at the river, one is queenless all-of-a-sudden.  I am going to combine that one with another colony.  To do so, I will take unprinted newsprint from the News Miner (free rolls that you can get in the AM from their front desk) and cut two sheets to fit over the top of a hive box.  I will place these on top of the strong colony, slice 8 -10 times in the paper with a hive tool or box knife and place the dying colony on the top.  (I'll probably remove one of the supers that is mostly empty of brood and honey so the stack of boxes doesn't get too high.)
Then I will wait until my next hive check to ensure all the paper has been eaten away by the bees and the two colonies have become one.  This allows the healthy bees that are queenless to be slowly introduced to a new family and queen.  This also increases the population of bees for the stronger colony just in time for the honey flow.  I will be glad when the swarm season is over!  Keep removing swarm cells!

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