Can I add bees to a swarm?
On of my TBHs swarmed yesterday right before a major thunderstorm with sheeting rain. As soon as the rain stopped, I went out, cut the branch with the swarm and put it into my second empty TBH that died over the winter. The only problem is by the time I got to the branch it didn't seem like there were very many bees on it - while the original TBH and a my small langstroth both had a bunch of bees bearded on them.
I'm thinking some of the swarm bees went back home because of the harsh weather. Those bees stayed bearded all night and are still bearded this morning.
I'm wondering what would happen if I brushed the bearded bees into a box and then dumped them in with the swarm to help boost the swarm's numbers - would they still be friends with the swarm bees or start fighting and trying to kill the queen? Or am I better off leaving everything alone? The swarm was at 5 pm last night.
in Ypsilanti Michigan
2 TBH and 1 Langstroth
If the swarm actually issued from the hive you take the bees from there will likely be no fighting. But, the majority of those bees that are bearding are field bees and they will promptly leave for home, very few, if any, will stay with the swarm.
If you want to encourage the swarm and help them get a good start, give them a bar, or two with comb of emerging brood and covering bees (but be careful not to include the queen), preferably from the hive in question. This should also help dissuade them from continuing to swarm.