Early fall has arrived and routine inspection of the hives had found one hive without a queen. Some years can prove to be not a good year for queens and the hive will not survive without a replacement. A new queen could be ordered, introduced, and then hopefully she will start laying shortly after that. But this hive isn’t that strong and we are not sure it will make the winter anyway, there will be no excess honey for the beekeeper from this hive this year.
Another option in the beekeepers bag of tricks is to combine hives. Instead of two weak hives the beekeeper will have one stronger hive more likely to survive cold winters.
There are several ways to go about this but basically newspaper is used between the two different hives. It will take some time before the bee’s can work their way through the newspaper and by that time the new hive will be accustomed to the scent of their new queen and except her. Worst case scenario is that they will kill her (remember it might only take one bee) and I’d have to order a new queen. But all went will because of the skilled beekeepers guiding me through the learning process. Inspection a week later confirmed the acceptance of the queen and all the bees were working well together.
The newspaper was removed at a later time during inspection. While no honey will come from this hive this year, this colony should survive the winter and be ready to go full force next spring.