Combine swarm hives or not?
I am up to 4 hives now: one I started from a package in late April, and the other three from swarms caught between late May and last Wednesday. The first swarm from late May seems to be doing OK, not great but adequate. I'm confident that they'll get at least the second deep filled before frost nucs everything in early to mid-October. The second swarm (caught two weeks ago) seems to be doing OK too, and the third swarm (caught a week ago today) is settling in and drawing some comb. Haven't smoked them yet to look for any sort of eggs yet but will in another week or so.
My question is about combining the second and third swarms into one hive to have a bigger force. Since it's relatively late in the season to be catching swarms and getting them built up for overwintering, is it a good time to think about combining them, or do you all generally let them do their thing until fall? I'd like to leave them alone to see which queen is the better of the two but wonder if I somewhat doom them to failure by not combining now. One of them is also a little testy and much more easily pissed off than any of the other three hives, so I'm actually thinking about a re-queen on that hive regardless of whether or not I combine them.
Input is greatly appreciated by this first year newbee.
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