Time to Combine

Time to Combine

I recently checked on the 3 hives and the little "artificial swarm" nuc, and all seem to be doing well.  Some more well than others .... 

Hive #1 in particular seems to be booming, with lots of bees hanging out on the front of the hive whenever I check in.  This phenomenon is called "bearding", and is just a normal behavior of a healthy hive.  Bees will fan their wings and hang out on the "front porch" to increase ventilation and cool off the hive during these dog days of summer.  Hive #3 has been the trouble-maker all along, and Hive #2 is the middle-child.

Hive #3 (the one that was itching to swarm) was about ready for it's 3rd box, so I took the opportunity to recombine it with the "artificial swarm nuc" I split off earlier.  All that means is that I put a layer of newspaper on top of Hive #3, and placed a box on top of that containing the 10 frames from the nuc.  The hive will really get a boost from the drawn comb, along with all the brood, honey stores, and bees that come with it.  The newspaper is just there to provide a buffer between to two colonies, that the bees will slowly chew through as they get used to each other's scent and merge into one.

I'm still feeding the hives a 1:1 solution of sugar water to help them out as they're building new comb.  As soon as they each have 3 medium hive bodies of drawn comb, along with a little stored nectar and honey, I'm going to cut them off.  We are entering a summer dearth of nectar, and I don't really want to encourage brood-rearing at this time.  Besides, they need to pull their own weight eventually.

By the way, I'm aware of how lame the names "Hives #1, #2, and #3" are.  If anyone has some good name suggestions, let me know.

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