Swapping frames

Hello, I have a hive nuc that is full of brood, and a bit of food for them, all five frames are filled. I am waiting for new hive boxes etc to arrive that I ordered a few weeks ago. Can I swap a couple of the full frames into a struggling hive so the numbers will be boosted when they emerge and give the nuc population and queen some work to do with new frames?

Yes you can! You can give the weaker hive mostly capped brood so they don’t have to tend to it. This will serve like you described, to boost the weak colony and as swarm prevention for the bursting nuc.


Thank you for your speedy reply

Just dont give them the Nurse Bees, not directly.
They will fight.
I’ve seen that you can drop the Nurse bees at the entrance and they will walk in. In this way, they will be accepted and not a threat.

1 Like

Thanks for the advise @Dazs_life, I was planning to brush off all the bees so only the frames went in, I may just brush them off on the landing board now…once the rain stops. :+1:

1 Like

Hi Daz,

Sorry for the silley question, but just wanted to make sure when you are dropping the nurse bees at the entrance and you hive is on legs (the ones you buy from flow).

Can the nurse bees still find thier way up to the entrance from the ground ok?

Thanks in advance

HI Ruth1 you can shake them onto a board and lean it againt the entrance and they should walk up.

Here you go

How to Prevent Swarming of Bees | Learn Step by Step with Bruce White

1 Like

Thanks, heaps Daz I will watch the clip now

I’m a bit late to this topic, but I wanted mention that it’s usually foragers and other older bees that will fight newcomers to the hive. A very defensive hive might not be as easygoing on transplanted nurses I suppose, but nurse bees I’ve added on swapped frames have been accepted without fuss so far.

As for letting them walk in the entrance, it’s another way to do it but I think it’s better to leave them on the brood frame they came with. @Dee pointed out some years ago here that most of the time even foragers will be allowed into a different hive if their honey stomachs are full. That way they aren’t seen as potential robbers, and more like polite guests who don’t come empty-handed :hugs:. I’ve used that principle to give a small contingent of queenless wax moth refugees a second chance, and it worked nicely. After clearing away the defunct hive, I put a dish of honey with the survivors in a covered but otherwise empty box right next to the good hive at dusk, so they’d have a chance to eat it undisturbed. I watched while they ate and then eventually walked over to the entrance and went in. Next day there were a few that returned to the original location but I just kept feeding & shifting them close by the new hive.