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Author Topic: Something Went Wrong with Newspaper Combination  (Read 1445 times)

Offline Two Bees

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Something Went Wrong with Newspaper Combination
« on: September 05, 2010, 08:31:45 PM »
I combined a very weak hive (less than one deep) with one of my strongest hives on Friday.  I separated the hives with two sheets of newspaper (Gardening Section, I think) and put 5-6 slits in the newspaper.

I don't think the combination went very well though.........there was a PILE of dead bees in front of the hive the next day!   :'(

Thoughts on what may have happened?

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Offline bassman1977

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Re: Something Went Wrong with Newspaper Combination
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2010, 08:42:42 PM »
Define a pile...hundreds?  Thousands?  It could have gotten hot and killed some of the bees off and that is what you saw.  If it is a good bit of bees...then it is possible there was a fight inside the hive.  If that is the case, I'd check to see if the queen wasn't killed. I've done a bunch of combines using this method, even using one sheet of newspaper, I never saw evidence of a war.
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Offline hardwood

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Re: Something Went Wrong with Newspaper Combination
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2010, 08:57:25 PM »
Did you leave a top entrance too?

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Online kathyp

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Re: Something Went Wrong with Newspaper Combination
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2010, 09:18:04 PM »
were there queens in both hives?
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Offline greenbtree

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Re: Something Went Wrong with Newspaper Combination
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2010, 09:56:47 PM »
I had a similar experience in Spring - combined a weak hive with strong.  I was fairly sure weak hive had no queen.  The next day bees were being thrown out the front of the hive.  Saw some still  wrestling with each other.  I thought maybe one sheet of newspaper wasn't enough and they didn't have time to adapt to each others smell before they combined.  Maybe 5 or 6 slits in the paper was overdoing it?  I'm about to combine two hives that were from a swarm and a cutout this summer.  They both requeened, but when I checked them today one had apparently lost it's queen and is now very small.  I'm going to make sure the top hive has a top entrance - I think that might also been part of the reason my Spring combine failed also.

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Online kathyp

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Re: Something Went Wrong with Newspaper Combination
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2010, 10:33:00 PM »
you must have the top entrance.  i do combinations now with a window screen.  i like it better than the newspaper.  the bees are kept apart, but the smells mix.  in a couple of days i pull the screen and all is well.  it's also insurance if you are not very sure that one hive is queenless. it gives you a last chance to check for the queen.
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville

Offline iddee

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Re: Something Went Wrong with Newspaper Combination
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2010, 11:47:56 PM »
I use 1 sheet and poke 1 hole with my hive tool. I may or may not leave a top entrance. If I do, it's when it is hot and I do so for ventilation.
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Offline Two Bees

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Re: Something Went Wrong with Newspaper Combination
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2010, 10:50:07 AM »
I removed the queen before I combined.  Not hard to find her since I only had 2-3 frames to look through.  Put her in a jar.

No top entrance; just the newspaper.  Nothing that I have read about newspaper combining mentioned a top entrance.  Thought about using a double screen board but decided against it.

Pile = several hundred.......maybe a thousand.  Keeping a watch on what I see in front of my hives is something that I always check.  You can get an idea as to what's going on inside based upon what they are throwing away!

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Offline JP

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Re: Something Went Wrong with Newspaper Combination
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2010, 12:18:42 PM »
I have always combined with a single sheet of newspaper. I like to spray both sides with sugar water and I make several slits.

I smoke both colonies before combining.

99% go smoothly.


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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Something Went Wrong with Newspaper Combination
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2010, 05:47:56 PM »
I agree I'd smoke them both and make a small slit in the newspaper (not a large slit) and I'd make sure both halves have an entrance for ventilation.  Sometimes a newspaper combine does go bad and they fight, but all of these will help.
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