OK- day one of the expirement… I made a big mistake last night…
When I got home after dark with my new swarm in a Nuc- I placed it on top of the hive that I plan to combine it with. In It’s own box just on the migratory lid of the hive below. Big Mistake! My thinking was Id leave the Nuc there for a few days before inspecting for the queen so the bees would be roughly oriented with where they will live when I combine the two.
Anyhoo: I pop out bright an early to have a lookise- and what do I spy with my little eye? Fighting. The bees from the swarm had all left the box and were all over the hive below- with fighting at the entrance. In a bit of a panic I smoked them, reduced the entrance on the lower hive- and found a frame of uncapped nectar I had and put it in the Nuc hive. Then I re-assessed and gave Jeff a call in QLD. Among other things he suggested maybe sprinkling them with icing sugar… Off to the shops- back in a minute- and sprinkle them I did. It worked! To a large degree it stopped fighting: bees locked in a fight to the death unlocked and went went there separate ways.
Many of the swarm bees marched back into their box. Fighting is subdued but activity all around is still high.
In hindsight I never whould have placed the Nuc on top of the other hive. I should have situated it elsewhere for a week- let it establish, inspect for a queen and then merge with the newspaper but no entrance for rthe swarm trapped in the box above until they chewed though the newspaper and merged with the one below. I shouldn’t have worried about their orientation issues. The swarm was possibly very hungry having been in a bush for some days- down below was a hive full of honey: recipe for disaster.
I now have no idea if there was a queen in the swarm- and if she is now dead or what. There nothing I can really think do to now but wait a few days and see what is left upstairs and downstairs and take it from there. I might have to get brood and eggs from a third hive now to let the original hive make a new queen.