Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Installing 2 Packages of Bees into One Hive?


#1

I accidentally ordered 2 packages of bees and only have one hive.

Is it possible to combine the bees into one hive from the very start? I imagine that I have to remove one of the two queens. But… I’m guessing that the non-queen bees may war with each other.

Any ideas as to how I would pull this off?

Thanks


#2

Several choices:

  1. Risk it - they have no resources, so they probably won’t fight. But they might…
  2. Put one package with a queen into the lower brood box. Put a double layer of newspaper on top, then put the Flow super on top. Empty the second package into this (with no queen), put the inner cover and roof on and leave them for 3 days or so. When you come back, the bees should have chewed through the newspaper and combined with no fighting. You can then take the Flow super off and let them all build in one box. Sell the spare queen to your local bee club! :smiling_imp:

Personally, I would probably just risk it, but then I already have a couple of hives. Option 2 is safer if you don’t. :wink:

A third option would be to call the supplier and ask if you can cancel one package. They sell fast, so they may well be willing.

P.S. If you choose to combine both packages, and you have a spare queen, I would keep her in a cool location like a garage or basement, until I knew that the first queen had survived after the first 3 days. That way, you have a backup in case the package rejects the first one.


#3

Thanks Dawn. This sounds like good advice.


#4

I successfully combined a second package into a 3 week old established hive. I did option 2, the newspaper trick. Workout fine.

Joe


#5

This is standard practice for combining two colonies in the UK so go for it


#6

I’d add a divider in the middle of the hive and bottom board and run it as a split with two colonies in one box.

Look up “palmerized hive”


#7

Hi Stephen, if you plan on getting another hive in the near future, you could put the second colony into a polystyrene fruit box temporarily until you get a second box sorted out. I found a box that full depth frames fitted into once, that worked out well for me. I just had to stand then up & maintain a bee space between them, that was no problem.

Uniting them with newspaper is fine, but I’m just thinking of the second queen.