Uniting Bees Using A Peppermint Flavoured Spray
This is a very similar process from the flour dusting technique but is the liquid version.
Among the kit boxes in my van there are several pump action spray
bottles (sold for misting plants). One of these bottles contains
water which has had a peppermint sweet dissolved in it (Fox's
This method can be used to unite a swarm to an
existing colony or to unite colonies of unequal size.
If one or more swarms are involved they are srayed with the slightly
sticky liquid at the time of collection.
If uniting a swarm to an established colony I first remove and dispose
of the swarm queen using generous misting to keep the bees basically
in the swarm box. I open the main colony and remove each frame in
turn squirting peppermint water over all bees and comb faces. When
all bees are sticky I throw the now queenless swarm into the brood
box with the other lot of bees and rebuild the hive.
objective is to unite two lots of bees that are already on frames
then I take out one frame from each box alternately
and give each side of each frame a generous burst of spray mist and
then place in the new brood box.
I have actually achieved several things in this process:-
- I have exposed the bees to light.
- I have made both lots of bees smell the same.
- I have disoriented the bees by interleaving the frames or throwing
extra bees into the box.
- I have caused the bees much immediate work to clean each other of
the sticky liquid.
- I have given the bees much long term work in re-organising the
useage of their frames and utilising their extra labour force.