You’ve heard the saying, “It’s good to be the queen”. Well, it’s not always good to be the queen, especially if you’re a weak queen.
The trap-out out hive, which I wrote about here, was having issues. They were not thriving and they had hive beetles. The queen was not performing well. She was a poor layer. Her laying patterns were scattered and sparse. Since she was a poor layer and Deacon did not attempt to re-queen earlier, the hive would be going into the winter very small and weak with a slim chance of surviving. The hive beetles also added to the stress as it occupies the work forces to fight them off. Since the queen was a poor layer, this also further reduced the work force available. If the queen was strong, it would have made a difference. The only way he would have let them try to over-winter is if the queen had grown the hive to fill at least two deep boxes. Alternatively, if they would have been a strong one deep box, he could have placed a screen on top of one of the strong hives and placed the one deep box on top to share the heat.
Those were the factors that led him to the decision to combine hives. Combining hives also means that the queen of the one being moved will have to be executed. Check out “Links” for more on how to kill a queen bee.
Sadly, there was no ceremony for the ol’ queen. Her body now resides in a tiny jar of alcohol. Her pheromones can be used later to attract swarms. Though her body is lifeless, her spirit lives on. Long live the queen! Or something.