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Uniting Honey Bees Using Flour
Drilled coffee jar lid, photo…Dave Cushman 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).
In order to help keep the flour from becoming damp, add a few dried peas or grains of rice to the shaker.
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 usage of their frames.
I have allowed the bees to make a choice between two queens that were of equal value to me.
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Not tried it but a lot of oldtimers swore by it.