adventures in beekeeping 2.0: the war is over, only the strong survive

Forgive the dramatic headline — I couldn’t resist! You might recall that when we last left our two humble hives, we had decided that the weak one needed to be merged with the strong one. It’s not a light decision, because essentially you are creating a war between the hives. The weak hive’s queen gets eliminated, and chances are a few of her drones go down with her.

Well, two weeks later, it seems that our attempt to create one, thriving hive has worked. Before placing one hive on top of the other, we covered the bottom one with a thin layer of newspaper with holes poked through it. This is so the hives could gradually get used to each others scent, and the war wouldn’t be as bloody. We think it worked, because – look! — the paper is gone! The bees ate right through it. It seems like the two have joined together nicely; we can see new bee activity throughout. On the very top level, we had placed a container of sugar water. The water is all gone and there were a ton of dead bees piled in there. We’re not sure if they drowned, or if that is where they “buried” the dead when they were cleaning house. Either way, it wasn’t as bad as we had expected.

The upshot of the combination is that we now hopefully have one really strong hive that will have a better chance of surviving the winter. The downside is it means we won’t be pulling any honey this season — they still need to do a lot of food creating to so they have a stock through the cold season.

Click here to see previous Adventures in Beekeeping posts!

From our partners

Maybe they “brought out their dead” as an offering… like – we have melded peacefully, please don’t hurt us. How interesting that they were placed in a central location. Bees are totally social!

Sorry you won’t be getting any honey this year, but at least the war is over and a strong hive is being built.

Mary S

I love the beekeeping posts!


I wonder why one hive was weak, while the other strong. I don’t know much about bee behavior… is it possible the weak hive had a weak queen or a dead queen?