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Combining two prime swarms


#1

Been reading through posts from last Aussie swarm season and have a fairly decent sense of things, but still a few questions:

  1. First swarm was placed in an 8 frame Lang on Sunday; second went in a coreflute nuc box yesterday. Both got two frames of open and sealed brood from their mother hives. The 8 frame has a few completed frames from previous hives, both have a couple of empty frames to fill in.

  2. Both swarms are large & appear to have queens, so these will be originals from two different mother hives. If I decide to combine, must I search and destroy one? Given that both could be killed/damaged by each other’s forces if I don’t?

  3. There were 3 open but fully built queen cells on one frame when I looked in on the second hive after capturing the swarm from it yesterday. I didn’t have time to look at all frames so there could be more…when I check again, shall I remove all but one of them? I know which one @Dee would keep - open, fat larva, lots of royal jelly :wink:

  4. Admittedly, a strong reason I am thinking of combining is that I don’t know when I can get a hold of a new bottom board for the nuc swarm’s other option of moving into an 8 frame Lang. I have the box ready and will have the rest of frames made up by the end of the day. Am I being misguided by this circumstance and perhaps should devote efforts to get that bottom board instead?

Thanks for your guidance all!


#2

Hi Eva, unfortunately yes but you might like to run them side by side for a few months to compare traits such as docility and quietness on the comb, brood production, hygiene and honey production.

Check in those cells for larva and bee milk… as with the above, if one of your newly caught swarms is preparing to swarm again then this would be one you would not select to keep and cull that queen and merge with the other swarm.

You have to ask yourself “do I need or want another bee colony?” if the answer is ‘no’ then combining is a good option. I have used all sorts of materials when I run out of hive components the bees will be happy for whatever you have on hand as long as there needs are met.


#3

Thanks Rod! Very helpful. You’ve also boosted my confidence in my MacGyvered bottom and crown board :nerd_face:

The nuc swarm will go in an 8 frame Lang tomorrow. I’ll let them build up and observe queen progress for awhile.

I still have to deal with my afterswarming-prepping colony with all those queen cells…