|The newspaper method|
Combining hives was something we'd only heard about. When a colony is weak or queenless the best thing to do is combine them with another, stronger, queened hive. Basically we understood that the way to do that was to take the cover off the strong hive, put a piece of newspaper over it then put the weaker hive box (with the hive) on top. By the time the bees have eaten through the paper, they will have adjusted enough to each other's scent that they won't try and kill each other. That was the theory. We'd never actually seen it done.
S.D. wanted to do it right then and there and see what happened, I wanted to research the best way to do it first. (Can you tell who's the librarian and who's the scientist?). After consulting the books and the web, hunting around for newspaper and settling for last weeks Stop and Shop sales flyer, we combined the hives - just as S.D. had originally proposed.
|Can you see her now?|
As it was, we spent the week trying to decide if the pile of dead bees in front of the hive had risen dramatically, and looking for pieces of newspaper to be thrown out.
The next Sunday we opened the hive. There were plenty of bees in the top hive, and there was a very large hole in the newspaper. Success, the hives had combined! Down below we found capped brood, larvae and the Queen! She is a big brown one, and she is big. They'd told us she would be easy to spot and there she was. It took two packages, but it looks like we had one big healthy hive.