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So I'm thinking of giving up on a hive that has been giving me trouble since the beginning and it's finally down to combining it with a strong hive to salvage what I can. Now I'm concerned that this sudden population increase in an already strong hive will cause a swarm. Should this be a concern and if so what should I do to avoid it?
 

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Bees don't swarm because of population size they swarm because of "space". A lot of bees will hopefully mean a lot of nectar coming in provided they have somewhere to put it other than the brood nest you should be fine. The population increase will only be transient anyway until the birth-death balance for that colony with that queen reasserts itself.
 
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