Two Birds with One Stone

Having shared news of an unsuccessful project, we now bring you happier tidings about a successful experiment.

Earlier this summer, we faced two problems. One of our hives – the cedar hive – was looking weak, with much less activity than we like to see. On the other hand, another hive – the painted hive – was hyperactive, overcrowded and showing signs of swarming. But strange as it may sound, sometimes two problems can be better than one.

The solution (which may have struck you already) was to transfer some frames from the painted hive to the cedar hive. But it is not quite so simple as that. If bees from one hive are summarily transferred to another, the two clans will fight each other, resulting in mass fatalities. Luckily, there is a clever way to prevent this.

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Step 1: Patiently rummage through the Connaught House recycling bins and find some large sheets of thin paper.

Step 2: Make pinpricks in the paper to allow the bees to breathe.

Step 3: Install the paper as a barrier to separate the two clans of bees. By the time the bees chew through the paper, they will become familiar with each others’ scent and no longer predisposed to kill each other.

One week later, we came back to find that everything had gone according to plan. The bees had chewed through the paper and were getting on like a house on fire.

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So the cedar hive has now been reinvigorated with the influx of hard-working, motivated painted-hive bees. And the painted hive, no longer plagued by overcrowding, has settled down and hopefully will not swarm this summer.

We end this post with a video that has nothing whatsoever to do with bees, but is relevant to the title of this post: Ken Cheng hilariously deconstructing the phrase ‘to kill two birds with one stone’.

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