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Directions For Uniting Two Families


The hive to receive the bees is inverted, the other set over it right
end up, all crevices stopped to prevent the escape of the smoke. Now
insert the end of the fumigator into a hole in the side of the hive
(which if not made before will need to be now); blow into the other
end, this forces the smoke into the hive; in two minutes you may hear
the bees begin to fall. Both hives should be smoked; the upper one the
most, as we want all the bees out of that. The other only needs enough
to make the scent of the bees similar to those introduced. At the end
of eight or ten minutes, the upper hive may be raised, and any bees
sticking between the combs brushed down with a quill. The two queens in
this case are of course together; one will be destroyed, and no
difficulty arise. But if either of them is a young one, and you have
been convinced by some "bee-doctor" that such are much more prolific,
and happen to know which hive contains her, and wish that one to be
preserved, you can do so by varying the process a little. Instead of
inverting one hive, set them both on a cloth right side up, and smoke
the bees; the queens are easily found, while they are all paralyzed;
then put the bees all together. The hive should now have a thin cloth
tied over the bottom, to prevent the escape of the bees. Before they
are fully recovered, they seem rather bewildered, and some of them get
away. Set the hive right end up, and raise it an inch; the bees drop on
the cloth, and fresh air passing under soon revives them. In from
twelve to twenty-four hours, they may be let out.

Families put together in this way will seldom quarrel (not more than
one in twenty), but remain together, defending themselves against
intruders as one swarm.

I once had a stock nearly destitute of bees, with abundant stores for
wintering a large family. I had let it down on the floor-board, and was
on the lookout for an attack. The other bees soon discovered this
weakness, and commenced carrying off the honey. I had brought home a
swarm to reinforce them only the day before, and immediately united
them by means of the fumigator. The next morning I let them out,
allowing them to issue only at the hole in the side of the hive. It was
amusing to witness the apparent consternation of the robbers that were
on hand for more plunder; they had been there only the day before, and
had been allowed to enter and depart without even being questioned. But
lo! a change had come over the matter. Instead of open doors and a free
passage, the first bee that touched the hive was seized and very rudely
handled, and at last dispatched with a sting. A few others receiving
similar treatment, they began to exercise a little caution, then tried
to find admission on the back side, and other places; and attempted one
or two others on either side, perhaps thinking they were mistaken in
the hive; but these being strong, repulsed them, and they finally gave
it up. I mention this to show how easy it is, with a little care, to
prevent robberies at this season. Too many complaints are made about
bees being robbed; it is very disagreeable. Suppose that _none were
plundered through carelessness_; this complaint would soon be a rare

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Previous: The Fumigator

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