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  • Uniting in 1 box?

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #2446  by Lua Lua
 23 Mar 2019, 10:08
Hi all.

I want to combine 2 colonies, 1 in a polynuc and the other , a small , weak colony in a wooden National 14x12 box. I can only see 2-3 seams of bees through the perspex roof. I haven’t inspected inside either as too cool when I have been around (they’re in my garden, SW London), but assume both queenright as pollen going in. Rather than putting on another 14x12 brood box on top and dummying down, is there any way I can do the equivalent of a newspaper unite by adding the 6 nuc frames to the small colony’s box if I remove spare frames? A horizontal unite. Presumably I would have to remove one of the queens, probably keeping the nuc queen. Both new, home-bred queens last year, and calm and productive.
 #2448  by NigelP
 23 Mar 2019, 11:22
Yes, you should remove one of the queens before uniting.
Liberally spray both colonies with air freshener and put all the frames together in one box and job done. I'm assuming both are very close together so if you only leave one box on site all the flier's will have nowhere else to think of as "home".
 #2450  by Lua Lua
 23 Mar 2019, 11:46
Air freshner?? Really? It sounds horrible, but I suppose would mask pheromones, so may prevent fighting.

Yes, the 2 colonies are only a couple of metres apart.
 #2451  by Chrisbarlow
 23 Mar 2019, 11:54
I would inspect and make sure your 100% happy about uniting them. They might be bigger than you think. It will also let you assess which is the better queen, one might be more calm or have a better brood pattern.

I have used air freshner before now, it works really well. Good luck
 #2453  by NigelP
 23 Mar 2019, 16:12
Lua Lua wrote:
23 Mar 2019, 11:46
Air freshner?? Really? It sounds horrible, but I suppose would mask pheromones, so may prevent fighting.

Yes, the 2 colonies are only a couple of metres apart.
It works it's not horrible...smells nice as well.
If you want to think what's horrible work out all the "nasties" in the smoke we routinely use on bees such as carbon monoxide, cyanide; to name but a few from a very long list of nasties.
 #2454  by Patrick
 23 Mar 2019, 19:03
Hi lua lua

Tale a pause before uniting and ask why they might be small before uniting.

It’s still very early in the season and quite normal to have big and small colonies which could quickly expand yet. But if there is a problem keeping them small uniting may not help. Just because you can only see a couple of seams thru the crownboard may not be conclusive.

If you want to free up kit or reduce numbers then fair enough.
 #2457  by AdamD
 23 Mar 2019, 20:29
Without inspecting, I would not be planning to unite - unless there is another reason why you only want one colony. A 14 x 12 box is quite big and can make the size of the colony look small when in fact it is doing fine. If you do decide to unite, yes, you need to remove the unwanted queen but do check that there is no disease which could be the cause for a small colony. Look for larvae that are not c shaped and pearly white, and chalk brood mummies. Also check there is no signs of disentry on the top bars. If bees are flying, then it's generally warm enough to inspect - as there is a fairly thin covering of bees (over brood) at this time of year as they are trying hard to expand the colony, a quick check is best if it's not too warm.
 #8015  by SimnFishr
 27 Jun 2020, 13:10
Just wondering whether to unite a queen less nuc with a recently swarmed colony containing a sealed queen cell using air freshener (as described above). I reckon the queen cell was sealed about 2 days ago so will be a few days before emerging. I haven’t tried air freshener before but in this situation, the speediness plus able to do 2 into 1 box is an attractive idea. Any thoughts or advice?
 #8016  by Patrick
 27 Jun 2020, 13:26
You are uniting two different colonies and reliant on the single queen cell to requeen them. In that situation before uniting I would surround the queen cell with a small wrap of Kitchen foil creating a tube with the tip exposed for the queen to emerge through. . It’s a very small risk the cell gets damaged, but I do it routinely anyway.

If you don’t fancy air freshener then smoking both boxes and whilst uniting heavily achieves the same outcome. Uniting during a flow is generally better than in a dearth. They should be fine.
 #8017  by SimnFishr
 27 Jun 2020, 13:55
Thanks Patrick. Bramble is flowering well so just about out of the June gap and a bit of a flow going on.
Would you suggest mixing the frames up as they go in or 2 blocks of 6 frames from each?