I have a colony that I'm certain is queenless and a smallish swarm that I caught yesterday. Any problem with trying to combine them using the newspaper method when we're right in the middle of swarm season?
Not knowing how many frames of bees in your queen less hive and the little swarm
hive, it is hard to give advice for a proper decision.
If the concern is 'swarming' then let the little swarm have some eggs first.
Take the queen to donate to the queen less hive. This is tricky if the queen less hive will not
accept her then they might kill her. If successful then the little swarm will make their own new queen again.
#2: Or add the frame of eggs from the little swarm into the queen less hive to let them make some queens.
You can balance the bees accordingly with these 2 hives if one is severely weaken. Either way hope you make
the right decision.
they're pretty similar in size: maybe 4-5 frames in the queenless hive and 3 or 4 in the swarm hive. the one thing concerns me is that the queenless colony was from a feral swarm that moved into a house a couple of weeks ago. i removed them from the house but must've either killed the queen or not gotten her somehow. they're somewhat aggressive toward, and i can't decide if it's because they're queenless or just aggressive bees.
would it possibly help combining them if i caged her, put her in the queenless colony for a slow release, and did the newspaper combine with her caged? or should i just give the queenless hive some eggs to let them get on with doing their thing?
I just got through with a newspaper combine of two colonies...a queenless and queenright colony. Our swarm season is about past, though, so I'm not sure how that will affect your combine.
The queenless colony had a fairly large population and was working hard...already drawn and in the process of filling two 8-frame medium supers...nectar, honey, a little pollen...but no sign of a queen or any brood after three weeks sitting on the hive stand. It was situated between a small (swarm) colony and a medium sized established colony.
The queenright colony was a small colony that took up about a third of an 8-frame super. Not big at all. The queen had roughly half of three frames filled with brood...these bees were working hard, too, but there was just so few of them. It was situated between two strong colonies.
I figured both groups of bees were energetic and wanting to build up...but one had a small workforce and a laying queen, the other one an energetic workforce but no queen and was beginning to get a little "rowdy" (but no drone layers).
I put a sheet of newspaper on top of the queenless colony where it was sitting and moved the queenright colony on top of it. No slits in the newspaper, no spraying to dampen, or anything...just a solid piece of dry newspaper. I closed it up. This was on Monday of last week.
The following Friday I checked the combine and found that the newspaper that was inside the hive was gone. The three half frames of brood had expanded to over three full frames (with a nice pattern, too! ). And they've been "busy as bees" since then. I think these bees are going to build up into a nice colony.
Personally, I'd go ahead with the newspaper combine...the longer you wait with the queenless group the the more resistance you may meet from them. There's a risk, of course, as "bees will be bees and do as they please". Your decision.
If they are the aggressive type bees and queenless now then not a concern. In a few months they will all died out while
the gentle queen's will take over. It is better if you can combine now. Yes, they are aggressive because of queen less now.
Don't delay any longer for fear of LWs.
Take the aggressive nuc to another location. Then place the queen right hive in the position of the aggressive hive.
Do a shake out so all the worker bees will go back into the queen right hive. The majority of the aggressive foragers will
fly into the queen right hive anyway if you don't shake. But do it one frame or half of a frame at one time to minimize the
density of bees going inside the queen right hive. I never have success doing a newspaper combine but with a controlled
shake out the bees get along fine. I did not cage the queen. It is not needed.
If anything happens to the original queen then they will make some more queens from the queen right hive's eggs. Then you
can choose which qc to keep.
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