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Combining Hives

Combining hives is a bit of a last-resort move that we use when we have a queenless colony at a time of year when queens are not available, and when the hive would not be able to successfully raise themselves a new queen. In this video and blog post, I will demonstrate our simple method of combining two hives.

All you need is a sheet of newspaper!

However, it is very important to note that only ONE of the hives you are combining should have a queen in it!

I am often asked if we can just let the bees sort out which queen they want, but this could result in the injury or death of both queens.

You must remove the queen from the weaker colony before combining.

It's as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Transport your strong colony to the location of the weak colony (it can be done the other way around, but this is the most commonly-accepted way)

  2. Open your weak colony and lay a sheet of newspaper to cover the entire box (optional: spray the newspaper with sugar water)

  3. Pop the strong hive on top of the newspaper layer and close up the hive.

Voila, you've combined two hives!

What now?

Now come back in 3-4 days to check on them. You should see that they have eaten away some of the newspaper (see the photo at the top) and you should be able to find the queen and some eggs (most likely in the top box).

At this point, you may want to condense the hive back down to one box. Feeding and condensing are both good ways of supporting colonies that are struggling to grow. See this blog post about condensing a hive.


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