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  1. #1

    Default Joining Small swarm to weak Warre Hive Thoughts/questions

    I caught a small swarm for a friend yesterday--less than 2 pounds
    I thought to add it to my weak warre hive (it was so weak when i came out of winter I was surprized to find a colony in there).
    I have heard different of opinions on joining warre hives. Some people say you should locate one queen and pinch her out like you would do in other systems (and how to find her in a fixed comb system I am not sure, right?) Other says just join them and let the queens figure it out and hopefully the stronger queen lives and they don't just both kill each other. Does any one have experience with this?

    Also I am joining a swarm to a hive, not two hives. The virgin queen in the swarm is likely to be easy to find, but I imagine it would be better to let her fight and win than kill her, since the older queen in the weak hive is sure to be the weaker one right? and I am concerned that putting 2 unfamiliar colonies together would create havoc and the bees will ball one or both of the queens....? This is usually dealt with with the newspaper between, but what use is newspaper in a situation where both colonies are queenright?

    I am also a little confused on how to do this mechanically, since I am not joining two warre hives with drawn combs.
    my first thought is to lift the roof, quilt and cloth and temporarily put a box on top. pour the swarm into this box and close the roof. Wait two days and remove the top box. The trouble I see with this is that the swarm will start to build in the top box and it will be a challenge to get them to go down (though easier once the queen have sorted it out and the scents of the two colonies has blended) also adding an empty on top would change the temperature control during some spring rains the next days which could stress the already small stressed colony.

    my second though is to smoke both heavily and simply pour the swarn onto the opened top box. But what would then prevent the swarm from simply flying off?

    my third though is to put the swarm into a single warre ( without a quilt and roof--just a board to cover , as I dont have so many complete hives), let them build it out a bit and later nadir it onto the weak colony. The thing I dont like about this is that the existing colony is in 2 boxes, but barely fill them. so giving more space is not neccessarily the best option.

    Of course I could skip all this an just join the small swarm to one of my top bar hives -might be easier. or I could give it away and avoid the whole thing.
    It is such a small colony I dont think it is worth giving them a whole box and seeing if they can make it--even though it is early in the spring...but that would be a last option as well.


    What would you do?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Joining Small swarm to weak Warre Hive Thoughts/questions

    Both queens won't be too good.

    I would cut out the small swarm in the Warré hive. Cut away comb by comb. Pinch the queen. Leave queenless for some hours. If you can get hold of a decent queen, pinch the swarm queen, too, and requeen.

    Let the swarm walk in. That's it.

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