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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Arundel, Maine USA
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    1,207

    Default newspaper combine details

    Ok, I know that this has been discussed a million times, and I did a search but I need help on the details.

    I'm planning on doing a newspaper combine with two Colonies. Colony number 1 is a 4 frame nuc that has built up nicely but is queenless. Not sure what happened. They are building a supercedure cell, but no queen yet.

    Hive 2 is a small swarm. They have a new queen who has a nice laying pattern, but there just aren't enough bees and they are having a tough time building up. So, I'm putting the 4 frame nuc in a 10 frame box. They will be the bottom box. I'll put the weak swarm on top with a sheet of newspaper in between.

    Does the box on top need to have an entrance as well? I was going to put a ventilated inner cover on the top of the top box, and was thinking it would be good to omit the entrance for the top box since I'm moving their location. Assuming they were able to chew through within 24 hours, do they need to be able to get in and out?

    I did a search, but I want to know exactly how to set this up so I don't mess it up. Thanks for your help!

    K
    Let's BEE friends

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
    Posts
    3,545

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    When I do a NP combine I put the one I move on top eairly in the morning before the bees fly so that when they chew their way down and through the bottom hive they will orentate to that location.

    I don`t give the top box an entrance I make one small slit in the news paper and most of the time in 24 hrs they have a large hole in the paper.

    Just as a little added extra watch the landing board for the "fuzz" of the news paper where they chewed it out, this does not always happen but if you save the "fuzz" it makes a great conversation piece when giveing "bee talks"

    thats my 2 and have fun
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North East, OH
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    I did two NP combine earlier this year. One was a nuc into a swarm as you describe.

    Generaly you want your weaker colony on top. The simple reason is that bees are less defensive of other bees comming from the top down.

    As far as a top hole, reading I have done said that you dont want a top exit- but be sure to put a frame or top feeder in the top box with some feed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Lauderdale County TN USA
    Posts
    404

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    I put whichever is convenient for me on top, I use two or three sheets and make one small starter hole about 1/2" long in the center. I leave them trapped so to say, the paper is the only way out. They see a inkling of light and instinctively try to go that way. It has worked every time.
    Affordable bee equipment supplier. www.carmacksupply.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Pownal, Maine, USA
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    I did two successful combines this summer. The weaker box went on top of 2 sheets of newspaper with pin holes poked through (I was advised NOT to put any cuts or holes, but I didn't feel this was wise and went ahead with a few pinholes - good move, it turns out). I pushed the outer cover back so that the inner cover notch was blocked. The intent is to force the bees down so they can merge with their bottom neighbors. They chewed through the newspaper within a few hours and as mentioned in an earlier post, you'll see newspaper fluff to indicate they've broken through. Both my combines went remarkably well, much to my relief. No fights, no problems. I can tell you, I was a nervous Nelly until it was over. Good luck to you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Altamont, NY USA
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    We actually did our second combine of the year a few days ago.

    We haven't had to put holes or slits in the paper-they demolished the newspaper in a day or two anyway. We also did leave an entrance in the top back so anyone who was out could find a way in. It did work out fine-we watched the girls who were out at the time circle the old hive stand, then go in the upper back entrance of the relocated hive.

    Again, holes in the paper and no entrance might be fine, but no holes and a top back entrance worked out fine as well.

    Good luck!
    Jennifer

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Pownal, Maine, USA
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    Jennifer made a good point about the stragglers getting back into the hive. I forgot to mention in my earlier post that the evening before the combine, I screened off the hive and "trapped" the girls in. The next morning, very early, I combined the two hives. There were only a few bees on the bottom board of the moved hive, and somehow, after flying around for awhile, they joined the other hive (perhaps because by then the other hive had broken through and all their scents became intermingled)?

    I poked the pinholes in the newspaper because it was mid-summer (mid 80's)and I was afraid that too much heat would build up in the top hive and cook the gals. This time of year this shouldn't be an issue.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,709

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    I would remove the supercedure cell to prevent the emerging virgin from killing the laying queen if the queen doesn't get the supercedure cell tore down in time. I don't know how late you have drones in your area, but if the emerging virgin kills the laying queen, and then mates poorly due to lack of drones, then you could find yourself in worse shape.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,207

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    First, I always have a top entrance. In the Texas heat, bees won't last a day without an entrance. I use a single sheet of newspaper, and I slit it once or twice. I don't care which is on top. I haven't seen one fail yet.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Arundel, Maine USA
    Posts
    1,207

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    all great advice folks, thanks a million! I will remove any supercedure cells, and make sure there is only 1 queen. Seems like heat is the big issue in terms of needing an entrance in the top box. I was planning on adding the top box in the evening after dark. This way, I'd be pretty sure most of the bees were back. It will also be the coolest time in terms of temperatures and the problem of overheating is solved.

    Seems as though most people are doing multiple sheets of newspaper. I guess I'll do 2 to be safe? I'll check 'em in the am to make sure that there is some sign of chewed newspaper. If not, I'll stand by to give them some ventilation if they need it!

    If there's anything else before I take the plunge, let me know!

    Let's BEE friends

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Pownal, Maine, USA
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    Good luck!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,429

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    Greetings from up the coast! I'm getting ready to do my combines in another week or so - once I get back from a trip. As with my already done combines I'll use 1 sheet of newspaper, no holes or slits, no upper entrance, and a miller type feeder with syrup above the upper box. Remove all your queen cells.

    Hope this helps. It should go smoothly. Like many things in beekeeping it is the anticipation of what might go wrong the slows you down.

    Andrew

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Arundel, Maine USA
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    1,207

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    ok, I combined them last night. I don't see any newspaper in front of the hive. There are definitely bees flying but they of course could be from the bottom box. What should I do? What should I look for? I'm in nervous mommy mode, help!

    Let's BEE friends

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Lauderdale County TN USA
    Posts
    404

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    Give them another day. If you put them on top, just raise the lid and see if they broke through, if they did, pull the super remove the remaining paper and walla!
    Affordable bee equipment supplier. www.carmacksupply.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,429

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    My suggestion is to leave them alone for three days from when you combined them. And yes I know that is asking alot from a nervous Mom - but just like birthing kids, the newspaper combining technique is one that works just fine most of the time.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Arundel, Maine USA
    Posts
    1,207

    Default Re: newspaper combine details

    thanks for the words of encouragement everyone. Operation newspaper combine is complete! I would suggest to anyone who is combining two weaker hives (especially if one is queenless) To either use 2 sheets of newspaper with a couple of slits or only one sheet with no slits. They chewed a pretty good hole in one after 2.5 days, but the second sheet only had a small hole in it. I think it was just too much work for so few bees.

    I'm excited that all is well so far! I didn't see any newspaper out in front of the hive, but I did see the darker bees from the Michael Palmer queen, which is how I kinda figured they had chewed their way through and were mingling successfully at the party!

    On a sad (hehe) note, I noticed the drones being dragged outside in all 5 of my colonies. Poor saps. A few try to re-negotiate, but they mostly just huddle together out front in a dejected pile.
    Let's BEE friends

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