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Combinations and Treating small colonies with formic pro

Hi beeks!

I have a couple small colonies (they were mid summer swarms that didn’t have much time or resources to build up properly before our New England fall). I need to treat all my hives for mites, but the FormicPro strips instructions say that it’s not suitable for hives with less than 6 frames of bees. The small colonies have 4-5 frames, so I’m wondering how I can treat them with the strips. Do I use one strip for the 14 day treatment period? Half a strip? Or should I combine the smaller colonies with other larger colonies first and then treat?

Onto combining colonies…. How can I choose the “right” queens to keep? I have one big colony that is pretty darn feisty, but they have built up good honey stores and are healthy. My other colonies are much more docile and easier to work with, but didn’t build up as much stores. My gut tells me to keep the nice queens, but my head tells me to keep the feisty one. Which would you pick? Even splits and swarms with daughter queens of the feisty hive are more docile but have less honey stores. They are all 2021 queens of my own stock (I didn’t breed them, the bees naturally replaced them themselves this year).

Hi Erin, queen fortunes can change so I wouldn’t get too hung up on choosing ‘best’ if they all seem about the same, health-wise. It’s also quite feasible to overwinter in well-insulated nuc boxes if you want to keep them all! Talking about wooden ware, not the core flute carriers we get nucleus colonies in from suppliers.

I don’t have experience with Formic pro, but if I were looking to do a fall treatment that’s inexpensive & very effective I’d do this:

https://www.betterbee.com/instructions-and-resources/how-to-do-an-oxalic-acid-dribble-treatment.asp

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Hi Eva!

I already have FormicPro strips, so I’m going to do a bit more research on treating small hives with that.

For overwintering nucs, what do you think about putting follower boards in to fill up the space in a 10 frame hive? Or maybe even put some of that pink insulation board inside the hive walls? I usually put the insulation board around the outside of the hives for the winter and it works great… now I’m wondering about the inside too :thinking:

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