Paper Combining Hives
Sometimes I think explaining how to do this takes more time than actually doing it.
There are times when beekeepers need to combine two honey bee hives. It could be because one has lost a queen or the beekeeper wants more honey bees working together. Regardless of the reason, the process to combine two honey bee hives is relatively simple.
The night before, close up the hive that is to be moved so all of the bees are home. If you don’t, forager bees out looking for nectar and pollen will come home at the end of the day to an empty place where their home once existed.
When deciding which hive to move, choose the weaker one.
The next day, spread one newspaper on top of the strong honey bee hive and make several 1-2 inch slits in the newspaper to help the pheromones mingle. Add the second hive and give the added hive a top exit either through a feeding shim or by putting a small stick under the inner cover. That will give the bees in the top hive access to the outside.
After a couple of days, check how the co-mingling is going. You should see bees removing some of the newspaper.
If you want to have a little fun, sit close by the hive and wait to catch worker bees dragging out tiny pieces of torn newspaper.
Remove the remaining newspaper and the top hive entrance. Now all worker bees should be going in and out of the hive through the bottom entrance.
Once you are doing a hive inspection, you may find tiny newspaper pieces at the bottom.
Over the years, I have watched honey bees literally dragging newspaper scraps out of the front of the hive, worker bees are nothing but meticulous when it comes to housekeeping. Yet another reason to love and appreciate bees, it’s what inspired this Bee Lover’s Gift Set.
I usually wait to do an inspection for a couple of weeks to give the two bee groups time to get to know each other.
Have you tried to combine hives?