Please help me to understand what just happened as im brand new to beekeeping.
I tried combining two swarms that i collected locally (both with queens). I used the newspaper method and sprinkled scented talcum powder on both collonies - (this is normal to do here in Australia).
All appeared to be going well, so today i opended up the top box and to my surprise all i could see were dead bees in the top box!!!
The bottom box with bees were going about business as usual. The newspaper was partially chewed through with all the bees lying on this and some of the top bars of the box below.
Nothing appeared unusual from outside the hive during this process, however some kind of almighty battle seems to have taken place as natural causes would seem unlikley.
I did notice on the foundation that there were lots of chewed pinholes as if they may have been eating it?
Could they have starved to death - no feeder was installed.
I am not sure if your weather is hot or not, but IF it was too hot they could have sufficated before they could release themselves.
Of course, the other possibility is that you had something in the talc that did not agree with the bees, a scenting agent perhaps? Perhaps a combination of talc and heat?
I haven't used talc, but I have killed bees by suffication. I once vac'ed a swarm and had too many in the cage, (about 7/8 full) and they did not survive the trip home, of about twenty minutes.
Im kinda new myself but my first reaction to this situation is that they fought for dominance of the hive since there was (2) queens. I would of caught (1) queen and removed her. I would then wait a day or to before I tried to combine the swarms. By waiting a day or two the swarm without a queen would accept the queen from the other hive. The queen gives off a pheromone(almost addictive to the bees I hear) the swarm without the queen would be drawn to the new queen and the newpaper method of introduction would give the worker bees a chance to get to know each other a bit also.
Thanks for the replies fellows.
I am tending to think it may have been suffocation that may have been the problem,
The talcum powder method is used here with success and i have used it myself ( same can of talc this time) so im certain it was not the talc.
We also dont bother about removing a queen usually when doing this as the bees will sort out which queen they want.
So the suffocation senario seems very likley as we have had some warm weather in the last few days!