September Field Day
Here is a nice picture of the queen in the vertical hive we combined with the horizontal hive. Thanks to Kelly Bolthouse for taking the picture! This queen was actually in the top box, in the first frame we pulled out. Another lesson in "the bees don't read the books" and the queen can be absolutely ANYWHERE in the hive. This hive really didn't have any honey stores to speak of. Neither did the horizontal hive. Both had queens and as you see in the picture, brood, in all stages. We took the bees from the horizontal hive, only six frames worth, and put them in the middle of a medium box with empty comb on the sides. We laid a sheet of newspaper on top of the vertical hive's top box and placed the bees from the horizontal hive on top of that, then closed everything up. The top box of bees can use the upper entrances to come and go until they eat through the newspaper. I decided to just combine them without taking out either queen, According to ABC and XYZ of Beekeeping, the best queen will survive and very rarely do both queens die. Let's hope we aren't in the "very rarely" category! After about a week, I will check to see how they combined. I will begin to feed sugar water at that point because these guys need to have some honey stored up for winter! I think it is getting too late for them to pack enough in without supplementary feeding. I am not sure if there are just not enough bees, if the stronger hive is robbing them, or if the bees are just from Hawaii, and figure they don't have to worry about winter!!!
The third hive had a full super of capped honey and looked great. We didn't dig below that box, not wanting to disturb them. I am sure that hive has all it needs to survive the winter, the rest is up to them.
Many bees were still going into the empty horizontal hive, which still had empty combs in it. I will check in a few days to see if they found their way into the other hive. If not, I will try to move them in.