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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I captured a swarm about 10 days ago. It was fairly large but I've left them alone once I got them settled and fixed a few issues having to do with falling foundation (mis-matched parts in the rush to get the swarm). My question now is how many bees does it take for them to succeed?

I opened the hive up for the first time this evening. I finally got a smoker and bee suit so I felt comfortable checking them out. This is a full size 10 frame hive. In it, 2 frames contained most of the bees. 2 sides of one frame were nicely packed with bees, and they were building comb but none of it had been filled yet. The comb needs to be built up more is what it looked like to me. About 3/4ths of the frame was comb but it was much thicker in the center than on the edges. Since it wasn't full I couldn't check to see if I had eggs in any. The second frame had a bunch of bees but very little comb.

So, I had 2 sides of a frame very full of bees working away and then 2 other sides of a frame pretty full with bees. The rest of the hive had a scattering of bees but nothing substantial.

Is this enough for the colony to survive? I am feeding them a 1:1 sugar water mix but they are taking very little. Some local plants have barely started to flower.
 

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I have had smaller swarms survive. But, it takes a long time for them to build up. They will need sugar water constantly, and a pollen patty or more right over the cluster.
I would move the 2 frames with bees to the sunniest side of the hive and then block off the entrance to a minimum size farthest away from the bees.

Good luck
 

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Or stick them in a nuc if you have one. I had one that size last year that just wouldn't take off, so I ended up pinching the queen and doing a paper combine with another hive.
 

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If all you have is 10 frame box's,the bees are only 2,3,4 frames
Keep the entrance small and remove all the frames but what they are
able to care for this will give the bees a better chance with SHB and other pests
I had just about 2 frames of bees had them in a 5 frame
They were failing I pulled 3 frames to they got better and added
a frame when I saw fit.
Good luck in what ever you choose

Tommyt
 

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When we started packages on plastic foundation. The queen started laying with only 1/16" walls drawn out on the cells.
Feeding them 1:1 will help them draw the wax faster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
All really great thoughts and ideas. I didn't realize you could keep a hive with less than full frames. Next time I open it up I am going to remove a few frames, that really makes sense and it will give them more focus for the frames they have and the ability guard and manage things better.

Great feedback, I really appreciate it!:thumbsup:
 

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Just make sure you keep an eye on them and give the combs back in time or they will build comb in place you don't want it. When you start feeding them or a good flow kicks in they can draw comb amazingly fast.
 

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Most people that put less frames in a hive, use follower boards to make the inside of the hive smaller. If you don't you're outside frames will get drawn too thick.
 

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if you take the frames out it ensures they are going to start drawing comb off the lid of the hive. They utilize voids very quickly. then you will have a mess and lots of destroyed comb.

Better yet to move them to a nuc box or add a follower board to prevent access to the other side of the hive.
 
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