ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Incredible Honey Bee…Mixing Colonies, Cross Your Fingers

Updated on July 7, 2014

Purebreds vs. Mongrel

Each honey bee colony is unique. They have a personality all their own. That personality is reflective of the queen and her children. Practically everyone in the hive is her child. If she is a new queen then the colony will eventually be her offspring since the older bees will die off. Therefore, the hive will take on the characteristics of the queen.

Purebred bees are usually more docile than mongrel or crossbred bees. The Killer Bees for example are a cross between the African Honey Bee and the Italian, or at least originally that was the mix. I have more on "killer bees" in the article “The Incredible Honey Bee…The Killer Bee vs Purebreds.” The breed of bees can be compared to dogs. The purebred is more easily trained and predictable. The mongrel dog has conflicting personality traits which can make it more unreliable and unpredictable. So it is with mongrel honey bees also known as “angry bees”.

When mixing colonies you stand a chance of getting angry bees. These bees are very aggressive. Some beekeepers like these aggressive bees because they are aggressive in every aspect including the production of honey. However, they can be hard to keep. The aggressiveness can be bred out by introducing a new queen. I know of some bee keepers who will extinguish the whole hive because these angry bees will attack and rob other hives. They basically become robbers rather than productive workers and they stress the hives that they attack.

Honey bees on honeycomb
Honey bees on honeycomb

Mixing Colonies Process

There are several processes that you can use to introduce bees to each other. One method is to line the top of the host hive with newspaper and spray it with sugar water. Place a super (small box on the hive) on top to hold the paper. Dump your bees onto the paper and put the lid on the super. The host bees and the introduced bees will each eat through the sugar-water soaked paper, which will take several days. Ideally by the time the bees eat through the paper they are used to each other’s’ “smell” and will welcome each other. The problem with this is that if the bees eat through paper too quick they will fight. Another method is to place window screen instead of newspaper and then remove it in several days. Again, you take a chance that you may introduce the bees too soon and fighting will ensue.

As stated before colonies are as unique as the queen. When introducing colonies they may just not get along no matter how hard you try. Sometimes the introduced bees will leave the hive. Sometimes they will try to take over. The chances of this happening will be increased if you leave the introduced queen with her bees. Therefore anytime you try to mix colonies, you must separate out the queen. She is usually killed by the beekeeper because she serves no further purpose. To leave her in is to invite trouble.

Just remember that personalities of hives play a large part in mixing colonies. The most successful mixes come when the same breeds are mixed (i.e. Italian bees with Italian bees). Both colonies are more likely to accept each other and live in harmony to produce a stronger and healthier hive.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • mgeorge1050 profile image

      Alan 

      4 years ago from West Georgia

      This is some useful information. I am a new beekeeper with only four hives. I can see using this newspaper method sometime in the future.

    • susansisk profile image

      Susan Sisk 

      7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Interesting information. Thanks!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)