How to combine two bee colonies

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How to combine two bee colonies

 Combining bee colonies is simple to do, but many beginner beekeepers do not dare to practice it. This blog on beekeeping offers you a method to do it at best without risk and without losing the queen.


Why combine?

There are many reasons to want to bring together:

  • Strengthen a colony with a weak hive
  • Bring together two weak colonies
  • Avoid introducing a queen by reuniting a colony with a nuclei
  • Combination of two beehives to obtain a production hive.

How to do?

You have two colonies in principle with two queens and you want to make a stronger colony. The first question to ask yourself is: which of the two queens do I want to keep. The selection criteria are:
  • age
  • the quality of the queen: not swarming, vitality, softness.

1st method:

Once this choice has been made, you have determined the welcoming colony: it is the one that keeps its queen. The main principle of the meeting is that the "organized" receives "the disorganized". The day before the meeting, you place the welcoming colony in a beehive where there is enough room to receive the colony that we are going to reunite. If necessary, you remove provision frames.

For maximum safety of the queen you are keeping, you can cage her.
On the day of the meeting, you have to mask the odors of the colonies. I advise you to place paper towels soaked in a strong odor below the host colony: mint syrup or fruit alcohol do the job perfectly. The odor coming out in the hive will mask the pheromones of the two colonies.

 Then, the queen must be removed from the colony to be introduced. The objective is obvious. Avoid placing the two queens in contact as they will fight and you are never sure which one will survive. Decide for yourself. Obviously, a marked queen is easier to find.

Once the queen is removed, leave the colony for a few minutes to realize that she is an orphan. The disappearance of the queen will disturb her which is the objective sought.

At this time you can introduce the executives into the welcoming colony. Leave a brood-free frame between the two colonies to avoid an immediate clash. Do not mix the frames. You can spray the colony with water before the introduction to calm the bees.

Once the introduction is complete, close the hive. Check the next day that everything is going well and that the queen has imposed herself well. You can then remove the neutral frame placed between the two broods.

2nd method:

You proceed as in the first method but you shake the bees of the orphan colony in front of the hive. You then introduce the brood frames into the hive.

3rd method:

You overlay the two beehives with a queen grid and perforated newspaper. You place the disorganized colony on top. When all of the disorganized brood has hatched, you can remove the top hive and the queen grid.

What are the best times to have meetings:

Wait for the beautiful season to have meetings. If you have to reunite early in the season - for example to reunite an orphan colony with another colony - do so on a beautiful day at over 15 ° C.

At the end of the season, the only constraint is that of winter feeding so as to let the new colony organize itself for the winter.

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