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Combing hives with newspaper- Entrance for Top Box?

I am planning on combing two hives as soon as I confirm that the one that will go on top has a new queen. I plan to use the newspaper method. My question is simple: does the hive on the top need to have it’s own entrance while the process is happening- or can I essentially lock in those bees until they chew through the newspaper and combine with the hive below? I assume that process takes 2 to 4 days?

Also I plan to end up with a singe brood box after the operation- the hive that will go on top is just a 5 frame Nuc. I am wondering how I will go about getting rid of the 5 extra frames I will have after they have combined. I am guessing I will probably just go through both boxes and remove empty or honey only frames- and hope that will be enough. Not sure at this stage what I will do if I have more than 8 frames with brood on them…

lastly- does anyone have a bad story about combining hives? Does it always work out well? I have done it before with small swarms but never with larger hives. In this case I plan to go into the bottom box and kill the queen that is in there- as she is an under-performer- then I will place the nuc above which will have a freshly mated queen (if all goes according to plan). Hopefully she will be accepted by the hive below and they all become one happy family…

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Hi Jack, I am in the process of doing the same thing. I have placed the smaller of the 2 hives on top of the hive to be combined (not combined as yet). Unfortunately, this queen will need to go. Actually, she is a reasonable queen so I think I cage her with some attendants and offer her to someone in the club.
They won’t have an entrance, but they will mingle with the primary hive in a day or two after being locked in, not an issue. I generally will then wait 2 - 3 weeks for all the lava to hatch and then remove those brood frames completely so I am down to 1 brood and 1 super. No bad stories from me, it always works, just be sure to put a couple of tears in the newspaper with the hive tool.


willing to post that queen to me! ;-)?

I just inspected three hives after I posted above- and all three have queen issues. One is kind of ok- just very low on brood. The other two are both small late season swarms - and both have evidence of recently torn down queen cells (expected in one- not in the other)- but no visible queens- and no eggs or larvae. I am assuming there are virgin or just very recently mated queens there- I just couldn’t spot them. The one I was expecting to see torn down cells in was donated a frame of eggs around 24 days ago- so I was hoping to just see the first eggs laid- assuming the queen took around 13-15 days from a larvae. But no eggs and no visible queen. That’s the one I am hoping to combine to another so now I’ll have to give it ten days to see if it queenright.

anyhow thanks for confirming I can lock in the upper colony.

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I could post her down to you… will need to wait till next week as I have a big market coming up this weekend and am preparing another hive for sale to a local beekeeper who lost all her colonies to SHB recently.
Does that suit you? Let me know next week if you see any eggs in the hive you think is not queen-right. I would rather send her off to a good home if possible. I sometime don’t see eggs for 6-8 weeks after the failure of a queen but seeing it this close to winter you have every right to be worried.

sure- that’s be great if it can work. I’ll let you know next week. Yes I figure with those two weak colonies wthis is their last chance to set themselves up with a queen - Winter is Coming! In both hives there are only enough bees to cover a few frames so I should have been able to spot a queen- yet couldn’t. But all indicators are that by rights there should be one. Both have evidence of several torn down cells, so theyve had a decent go at it. And there have been soem nice sunny days- and still a few drones- so fingers crossed I won’t need your queen- but may well.

BTW: are your bees the ligher yellow so clled ‘Italians’?

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Hiya Jack, I’m sure you have thought of this but make sure the top box has ventilation. :wink:


hmmm… I am afraid not. This colony are a hybrid from caucasian stock.

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