Uniting Bees Using Flour
One of the things that I carry in the various kit boxes that live in
the back of my van is a flour dredger made from an old coffee jar
with the lid drilled many hundreds of times (1 mm drill bit on 2.54
mm square matrix).
The dimensions need some explaining...I am
(or was) by profession an electronic design engineer. One of the
materials used for prototyping electronic circuits is a "strip board"
that has holes 1 mm diameter every 1/10" and I used a piece of this
material as a drilling jig to perforate my coffee jar lid.
If I wish to unite two nuclei of roughly equal strength. Providing
that I wish the bees to sort out which queen they want to head the
final colony. I merely take out one frame from each box alternately
and give each side of each frame a generous dusting of flour 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 disoriented the bees by interleaving the frames.
- I have caused the bees much immediate work to clean each other of the flour.
- I have given the bees much long term work in re-organising the useage of their frames.
- I have allowed the bees to make a choice between two queens that were of equal value to me.