I recently combined three without newspaper. They were all small hives. I gave them brood to make a queen, but I haven't seen any progress. I plan to combine them again today with a queenright nuc, putting the nuc into a ten frame box, condensing the weak hive to one box and adding it on top. If they don't prosper, I'll put them back into a two-story nuc.
I read somewhere (probably on Bee Source) that if you combine bees from more than two hives, they won't fight. I think it may depend on the strength of each source and whether there is brood for them to protect.
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