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The Newspaper Method: How long?


Hi folks- I’ve decided to combine one very-well-populated, thriving but queenless hive (when inspecting, found capped swarm cells, destroyed them as I’d heard was imperative. Turns out they’d probably swarmed already… alas. by now, plenty of bees and honey, very little brood. ) with a queenright nuc.

Have put a newspaper (actually, half of a brown paper shopping bag, closest thing I had) between the two. Didn’t make any slits or holes or other. How long should I leave it in there? Do I inspect progress at any point?


How do you know it was queenless? I don’t see the queen more than 50% of the time in our hives, even though our queens are marked.

Be careful of the old ways, the new I think are much better. Even my husband agrees, and he has destroyed swarm cells for 20+ years until the last few years. Have a read of this, and see if you would like to change your mind:

If you are going to inspect a hive any time, you need a valid question.

Your nuc is queen right. You already know that, I presume, so that isn’t a reason.

If you want to see how much paper bees can eat, that isn’t a good reason.

If you are worried that the paper might be too thick (Trader Joe’s bags) then they should be fine for 3 days. You shouldn’t need to take the bag out until you have a good reason for inspecting, the bees will get rid of the bits that irritate them. :blush:

Sometimes less (inspection) is more (progress for the bees). :wink:


To answer your question, it took my bees about three days to turn an entire sheet into tiny bits of fluff.
I cut one slit, just big enough for about 3 bees.


Oh, I agree, I agree!!! “if I’d known then what I know now…” I would have acted so differently with those queen cells. And thank you, the PDF was super informative.

Indeed, the question I had in mind was whether the Trader Joes bag (good guess!) might be too thick for them to chew through without a slit to give them some start to grip on.

I can only imagine how much better the bees would’ve been from the start with only 1/3 of the inspections we deemed necessary… :cry:


If you look in 3 days or so, and they haven’t made a hole in the bag, I would make one for them. Those bags are pretty thick… :blush:


sounds great. Thanks!!



Trader Joes or my Local Vietnamese weekly news paper (2 to 3 sheets) with several holes/slices in it gets ya several days for them to get neighborly again. I just did this after watching my colony for queen or brood for several week. The decision was easy. Bobby agrees too. Good luck … Gerald


The simplest way is to look under the floor if there are shredded bits of paper they have broken through. I always consolidate the frames when I see a goodly amount of paper two days usually


Done! Hives merged, fingers crossed that the drone-laying hive doesn’t’ kill the queen from the much smaller queenright hive!


Thanks for the update. I look forward to your next report, whichever way it goes. :blush:

I think I mentioned a rubber-banded cutout that I helped a contractor friend with recently. He left the cutout box overnight next to the original hive location. All of the bees exited the cutout overnight (well, 90% of them perhaps) and sat on the wall of the shed about 8 feet above the cutout site. Gee, they hadn’t read the bee behavior manual!! :scream: They abandoned brood and clustered on the wall.

OK, so we have now had about 5 bites at this cutout “cherry” and with the help of lemongrass oil and 4 a.m. beekeeping, I think we may have them persuaded to do the right thing. My point is, bees are very much able to “Darwin” themselves, and sometimes I think we “strive mightily” (borrowing from the US concept of the Hippocratic Oath - do not strive mightily…) when perhaps we should let them remove themselves from the gene pool. Heretical, I know, but might be worth a thought.

Meanwhile, I think you should give yourself a pat on the back. :wink:


Provided you’ve sorted the cause of the drone laying and put the Q+ colony on top all should be well. Good luck


Thanks Dawn, I really appreciate it!! that is an awesome story.
How long after doing the merge should I wait to check whether they accepted the queen and are all living happily ever after, or whether something else happened?
(patting self on back :wink:)


yep, queenright colony went on top, trader joes bag in the middle


If she was previously a good layer, she should be laying right away after the merge. An inspection a week or two after the merge will tell you whether she survived - if you see uncapped brood and single eggs in cells, she did. :wink:


OK!!! And if I don’t see any signs of future brood maybe I’ll sign her up for BeeDating.com:wink:


I never wait that long. I’m in when I see newspaper on the floor. Three days max. Most bees have mingled by 12 hours.


And brood and eggs!
Tra la la la la…


So… You have a LAYING QUEEN!!! WOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!! :champagne:


Good result!
Good result!