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?
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.
Sometimes less (inspection) is more (progress for the bees).
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
Thanks for the update. I look forward to your next report, whichever way it goes.
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!! 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.
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 )
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.