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I have a swarm trap sitting on my front porch waiting for me to put it up. Some local bees have been scouting it out the last week.

I finally was going to go put it up today and I see a bee land and walk In carrying pollen. WTH.

So I open up the swarm trap and there are a couple hand sized combs with bees working away. Maybe 500 bees.. maybe.

Are swarms ever just tiny?

I will probably just let them be for a few weeks and then move to to a nuc as an emergency queen.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Yes. Swarms can be just a handfull of bees. They are very slow to build and sometimes aren't big enough to overwinter after months of growth. Give them a boost with some nurse bees if you want the hive to grow.
 

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Africanized bees have a habit of throwing off softball sized swarms in this part of Texas. I see two to six a year around my small apiary. They sometimes land near a weak hive, send in a few bees to kill the queen, then march their queen in to usurp the hive. European honey bees are supposed to usurp hives too, but much less frequently. I hope that bunch of bees works out for you...but personally, I'd requeen.

One such smallish swarm invaded this queen mating NUC. I was able to open it and rescue my newly mated queen and kill the invading queen. Sometimes these swarms stay a few hours and leave again when my hive is strong. HTH



Here are a couple more pictures. The usurping swarms here are usually smaller than the one shown above.


 

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I have had a few very small swarms that I was confident they came from a colony that was superseding. The old queen leaves with a few bees instead of being killed.
 
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