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I’m brand new to keeping bees. Got 2 packages first of May. The second week of May I stumbled upon a swarm and captured it. However by the time I got to the swarm it was very small, it had been there for several days and many bees were dead on ground underneath it. I brought it home and have been feeding religiously. Yesterday I opened and checked the frames for the first time and they are drawing comb, queen is laying, saw capped brood as well as eggs, however they have only drawn out approximately 1 frame worth. I don’t really have the resources in my other hives to add capped brood to this swarm hive, but can I spray some bees from my package hives with sugar water and shake into the struggling hive to help them out? I would estimate the population about 1/4 of the package of bees I got so that would put it around 800 or so.
 

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it had been there for several days and many bees were dead on ground underneath it.
Many dead bees under the swarm after only a few days gives me pause for the existence of a bigger problem, do you have a mentor or experienced individual you can ask to take a look at the colony?
 

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Many dead bees under the swarm after only a few days gives me pause for the existence of a bigger problem, do you have a mentor or experienced individual you can ask to take a look at the colony?
No, I live in very rural area and don’t know anyone else that keeps bees. I am fairly certain they were dead due to pesticide use. My guess is they were originally brought in for canola pollinating and swarmed from one of those hives. The weather has been very wet and after bees were removed a lot of pesticide was sprayed.
 

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The simplest way to give a small colony a boost - assuming what you say about pesticides & dead bees is actually the case (that would concern me too) - is to swap hive positions with a more powerful colony. That way you immediately increase the number of foragers, some of which will revert to nursing functions in a few days if there's a need for extra nurses - and without any need to open hives, shake-out bees etc. :)
LJ.
 

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Adding your location to your profile will help with finding someone closer to you and familiar with beekeeping conditions in your area. Searching for and joining a local club can reap benefits.

Your assumption maybe spot on but there is still potential for other causes that a more experienced eye may catch. Being wrong on the cause can put your other hives at risk.

As to adding bees from a May package, not sure I'd risk weakening either package colony to assist a questionable swarm. Personally, the swarm is doing all the stuff it should to grow, abide maybe slower than you'd like. I'd let them make it, or not, on their own.


Good luck with the keeping the swarm growing.
 

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I second the idea of letting them work it out on their own. Based on what you've posted, they seem to be OK although a small colony. If they're bringing in food and the queen is doing her job well, they'll take off soon enough. All bets are off if the queen stops though so keep an eye on them.
 

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Your assumption maybe spot on but there is still potential for other causes that a more experienced eye may catch. Being wrong on the cause can put your other hives at risk.

I'd let them make it, or not, on their own.


Good luck with the keeping the swarm growing.
Thank you for the advice! I’m in Nw Oklahoma. I’ll figure out how to put it in my profile. I’m almost sure it was pesticide because the swarm was located on cedar windbreak against a field that had been crop dusted with pesticide a few days earlier, but like you said I’m not sure. I will just continue to feed and let them make it or not.
 
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