I am concerned my hive is not strong enough to last the winter. I have three active top bars, with honey and brood. It seems small to me. I have the opportunity to take a hive in an abandoned shack. Should I combine the hives? Take the honey and enjoy it from the shack adding bees only? Add the combs with honey and bees to the original Top Bar? I have an empty Top Bar built, should I add the bees to it ? Next to the original Top Bar? Thanks anyone. New at this , but having fun! I live in New York Hudson Valley
If the shack hive is strong I would install it into the new top bar with their honey and brood then check for mite load after they become established. If you can’t get the queen with the shack hive, I would combine it to the existing hive with some of its honey and as much of the brood comb as possible, let it get settled in and check for mite and treat if needed. The should be able to take advantage of the fall flow and build up before winter. You could also give your week hive some of the shack hives brood comb if you want to bolster its population. Then feed both until the fall flow. Its hard to connect cut out comb to a top bar without some sort of wire, rubber bands don’t hold good enough and the comb brakes off when the bees remove the rubber bands, so try to wire it if possible. Don’t combing two week hives, you just get one big week hive. Good luck!
Thank, you Stach, I was considering using the shack as bank. If my Hive doesn’t make the winter, instead of shelling out $$ in the spring, i’d have that bank? What do you think? or maybe install part of it? Or listen to your original advice?
There is no guarantee that the shack hive will survive the winter or swarm before then. If its a strong hive, and the conditions are favorable, you may loose half or more of it to a mid August swarm, I have seen it happen. Also there is no way to check it for mite load, unless you see helpless bees crawling around outside the shack with deformed wing, at which point it may not be to your advantage to try to save them. Its a crap-shoot either way. To ensure your likely success, I would do the cut out and put them in your other top bar, but that’s just my opinion. Don’t count on them as a bank if you are not able to manage them. Best of luck.
My uncle also tried this. It helped.