Combining Two Hives

One of the mated queens we bought and installed two weeks ago is a dud. We didn’t see any sign that she was laying last week, and we didn’t see anything today. So we removed her from the hive and combined her colony with another colony that has a strong queen. We combined them by following the standard newspaper method. Here’s what it looks like:

12 thoughts on “Combining Two Hives

  1. I understand, Phillip, and will continue to use your other postings as reference.

    Thank you for your great work!

  2. I have to say that I am a little bummed out although I do understand your decision. When it stops being fun, as it started to sound, it’s time to take some time off! Please do come back to it eventually though. You were part of my inspiration to start a blog of my own!

    Best wishes,
    The Hive Guy

  3. Yes, I’d be lying if I said the beekeeping has been fun for the past two months. It was stressful when we had neighbours calling the fire department to complain about the bees. It was a great relief after we moved the hives to a rural location. The new location is excellent for the bees, but it’s far from ideal for us, mainly because we can only get there once a week and we’re forced to compress a whole week of beekeeping chores into a single day. We don’t experience the bees anymore. We just work on them during marathon beekeeping sessions every weekend. I get a glimpse of satisfaction on occasion, but overall the bees have been a drain on me for the past two months. Dealing with angry neighbours, swarming colonies, failing queens — it’s been something new every week, and this weekend wasn’t any different. It’s reached the point now where I need a little downtime. I’m going to load up the hives with honey supers in a couple days and then leave them alone for a couple weeks to make honey. Chances are I’ll still have my camera with me and I’ll probably post photos and videos sometime in the fall. But until then I need to take some time for myself, to relax and get back to enjoying the bees.

  4. hey! Just wanted to say that I watched your cutting video on youtube and was totally impressed! we beekeep in Saskatchewan so very cold in the winter as well! Anyhow, just wanted to thanks for the information and the inspiration! Much appreciated!

  5. Phillip,

    I understand your decision. I’m burned out on my own bees. One troublesome hive just killed the second mated queen I bought for it. Little buggers.

    I’ll miss your posts, though. I loved the comb honey with bleu cheese video, and set up a similar dish for some guests. It was a big hit.

    Get some rest,


  6. Take a much deserved break and come back when you feel up to it. I can understand your feeling of burnout. I enjoy my bees a lot more lately when i don’t feel the need to document it. You were an major inspiration to me to actually start keeping bees. Enjoy the rest of the summer.

  7. “I enjoy my bees a lot more lately when I don’t feel the need to document it.”

    Me too. I have a big thing happening with the bees this weekend, but I’m leaving the camera at home. I’m sure I could get some cool photos or videos, but I have so little time with the bees now, concerning myself with documenting everything takes away from the experience. Not that I hated taking photos before, but my situation with the bees isn’t like it was before. I need to make the most of what little time I have with them.

    I’m talking like they’re my children.

  8. I discovered a queenless colony today. No sign of brood, listless bees, an unusually loud roar when I smoked them. Instead of letting the bees die, which is what quickly happens to queenless colonies, I split the hive in half and combined each half with a healthy colony.

    Now I’m down to five hives, including the one in the city. However, two of those hives will soon become giant hives which I won’t have any trouble splitting later in the summer.

    The inside of the queenless hive was full of bee poop. I gotta feeling the bees just lose all sense of their bee-ness when they’ve been queenless for too long. They’re like teenagers left to their own devices. Personal hygiene goes out the window. That’s just my theory based on nothing.

    Other than that, hive frames were full of honey and the bees looked healthy. So I figured it was safe it combine them.

  9. I have a queen in a mini nucs that needs bees. If I had know you could have taken her.

    Crappy. Sounds like you are experiencing my luck Phil.

    I had a couple of colonies that I could not explain why they died and were full of bee poop.

  10. Hopefully the combined hives will turn out okay, and then I’ll probably split them when I can get a queen.

    I also hope to move all the hives to a new location much closer to my house.

  11. I checked my colonies on Sunday, well my stronger ones. I saw my first drone and a clump of capped drone the size of my hand. That same colony has 4.5 frames of open and capped brood now too.

    I stole a frame of open and capped brood and gave it to a weak colony. All colonies are taking syrup like no tomorrow. The way things are going I’ll be making my first splits in mid May.

  12. One of the combined hives worked out okay. One of them didn’t. I found a pile of dead bees outside the front of the hive — the aftermath of a battle. There must have been a hole in the newspaper right from the start and they didn’t have enough time for their different scents mix.

    It’s also possible the queen from what I thought was a queenless hive wasn’t actually dead, though I doubt it. I couldn’t find any sign of a queen last week. If it had a queen, she’d completely stopped laying.

    I had to check to make sure the queen-right colony still had a queen after the battle. It did.

    At least the the colony know has a near-full box of honey from the queenless hive to keep it going.

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