This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

It is time to make an economic decision

A sheet of newspaper on top of the strong colony.

A small slit in the paper is all that is needed.

The weak colony is placed on top of the full sheet of paper.

The new hive is now combined together, supers are on top. Note the paper sticking out the sides of the box.

This time of year it is time to make the call. What do I do with a weak colony or hive that has recently swarmed leaving a hive depleted of field bees.
By the first of July it is time to do something. I start combining colonies. If I have a package still in one deep I know it is not going to survive the winter. I combine it with another colony, preferably a weak one. To make them both better.
If I only have one colony I have to live with what I have.
This is how I combine colonies:
I find the queen in the weak colony and euthanize her or put her in a small nuc box with some bees to save for an emergency.. Leave the colony queenless overnight.
The next day bring the daily newspaper out to the bee yard. Not the small local paper, it is to small. I am talking Pioneer Press or the Star-Tribune.
Open the strong colony and put one full sheet of paper on top of the hive. Take a hive tool and put a small slit in the paper. Slit not hole.
Take the weak colony and set it on top of the paper. Put the cover on the hive and now we are one bigger happy family.
The bees will chew through the paper in a couple days. The paper pulp will be laying in front of the hives entrance. Queen excluder and honey supers can be placed on top of the weak colony at this time. I expect to get honey off this colony.