Several weeks ago, we captured a wild honey bee swarm and brought it home (see Wild Bee Capture) – it’s the first hive in the picture below.
Because it’s early fall, we’re concerned that this hive won’t be strong enough to make it through the winter, so we decided to add bees and brood to the hive by “papering in” a brood super taken from a stronger hive (the one on the far end in the picture above).
To survive winter in Northeast Ohio, a hive needs to be around 35,000 bees strong now and have about 70 pounds of honey stored away. To give the small wild hive a chance, we removed brood filled frames from the strong hive (shown above) and put them into a “brood super” (shown below) to put on the wild hive.
When taking frames from the strong hive, we had to be very careful not to take a frame with the queen on it – have to make sure that the queen remains in her hive so that it will stay strong and prepare well for winter too.
The bees taken from the strong hive would fight with the bees in the wild hive if they were just inserted without any barrier – so a paper barrier is installed between the supers (that’s why it’s called “papering in”).
The photo above shows the wild hive after the brood super has been “papered in” – the bees will chew through the paper and mingle eventually, but by the time they do that, they’ll be used to each others scent and won’t fight. By adding the super to the wild hive, we’ve hopefully given them additional bees and brood so they’ll be able to make more honey and have enough bees to survive winter.