NZBF: Combining scenario

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Josh

Gold
948
694
Christchurch
Experience
Hobbyist
So I have a scenario that I’m considering for my next visit.

I have a couple of hives with questionable queen status. But both have, predictably with minimal brood raising, stores galore and honey.

I don’t have immediate access to a queen, but am currently looking.

Scenario is

Hive 1. Bottom brood - Capped brood, no eggs no larva. Few old queen cells evident. last checked 16 days ago (Maybe in process of supercedure, so am waiting 🤞) 2nd Brood box full of honey (50%) capped) and pollen. Have moved some frames around to make room.

Nuc 1 (two five frame boxes). New confirmed queen and laying. But not enough eggs to help test hive 1, no sense in wearing this hive before potential merge. None of my hives has enough spare eggs in a single good frame to test 1 (Strong clover flow on filling up every spare space with nectar)

So ”the books” describe week hive merged above strong and queen right hive and on that site. And they usually suggest putting a feeder on top. But in this scenario the strong hive is queenless, and the weaker (ie smaller population) is queen right.

So worst case scenario is Hive 1 remains queenless (no laying at next check in 10-14 days) and nuc queen is available.

So, I’m considering;

Option 1: Take queen from nuc and use a cage to introduce to the queenless hive. (Makes me nervous as i have yet to handle a queen, I know… suck it up buttercup)
Option 2: Merge the nuc (paper method) with “strong queenless hive“ on top with its stores & no feeder. On the nuc site (will be interesting as its currently perched on a wind frame around a tree)
Option 2: Merge the nuc as above, but move it to the hive stand of the stronger hive, but put it on the bottom (queen right on bottom)
Option 3: Merve the nuc but put it on top of the other hive, but I’m worried the the box of stores with dilute the queen pheromones etc and make the merge less reliable.

Option 4 - stop over thinking it and get on with it…. hasn’t worked so well for me in the past.

Hopefully the hive starts to shows laying queen and crises averted. But I’m finding that reviewing my notes and asking in advance takes the edge off at the apiary.

Thanks in advance.

No evidence of AFT. No evidence of DWV/Varroa. No mite test (to risky with no identified queen)
 
3,486
6,503
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
Under heavy flow conditions some queens will stop laying. If it was me I would just put a frame or two of brood from another hive into the hive you're not sure about but if it has sealed brood then it obviously had a queen and either still does or has a new Queen about to lay. As long as it's not an imminent danger of dying out I would just leave it alone for a few weeks. I definitely don't bother making room for the Queen to lay. With no laying Queen the brood nest often becomes completely clogged with pollen but when a new Queen starts to lay the bees will clean it out in fact that's one of the ways I check on whether a hive is truly queenless or not because if they have a new Queen about to lay you will find some areas cleaned out for her whereas a truly queenless hive will just be solid pollen and honey at this time of year.
 

Josh

Gold
948
694
Christchurch
Experience
Hobbyist
Under heavy flow conditions some queens will stop laying. If it was me I would just put a frame or two of brood from another hive into the hive you're not sure about but if it has sealed brood then it obviously had a queen and either still does or has a new Queen about to lay. As long as it's not an imminent danger of dying out I would just leave it alone for a few weeks. I definitely don't bother making room for the Queen to lay. With no laying Queen the brood nest often becomes completely clogged with pollen but when a new Queen starts to lay the bees will clean it out in fact that's one of the ways I check on whether a hive is truly queenless or not because if they have a new Queen about to lay you will find some areas cleaned out for her whereas a truly queenless hive will just be solid pollen and honey at this time of year.
Thanks @John B

Makes sense… None looked in danger of collapse, I’ll hold my nerve and just observe.
 


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