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Installed a new package middle of April and ended up with a drone laying queen. Have re queened but now the hive population is getting low. Was thinking of switching hive spot with one of stronger ones next to it. Would this work? Would the new bees coming into it cause an issue with the queen?
 

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I would try to repopulate with a few frames of brood and the nurse bees on those frames and maybe a few shakes of bees from brood frames, as the nurse bees aren't likely to cause a problem. Any foragers you shake in will just go home. Just make sure you don't move the queen from the donor hive.
 

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As long as the new queen is "laying" you shouldn't have an issue. Maybe add a frame of emerging brood and swap positions. Some years I do a lot of swapping some years just add brood. Combination of both is good too. But if a queen is NOT laying you can have issues. Some pollen sub might be a good idea as this spring has been cold. Just snowed 2-3 inches (here) yesterday almost cried. Going on March 71st here......
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Not sure I would add brood as you are in MN. Without sufficient bees to cover, much of it will die. I would add a shake or two of nurse bees from the strong hive and swap positions. With a population increase, the queen will be able to increase laying as there are now bees to cover the brood. Of course if the queen is not laying, all this is for naught.
 

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Not sure I would add brood as you are in MN. Without sufficient bees to cover, much of it will die. I would add a shake or two of nurse bees from the strong hive and swap positions. With a population increase, the queen will be able to increase laying as there are now bees to cover the brood. Of course if the queen is not laying, all this is for naught.
Very much agree with the above - adding brood, unless it's right at the point of emerging, can be a waste of resources unless there are enough bees to cover those combs. Swapping hive positions is generally a good idea, as the younger foragers will revert to nurse bees in a few days. As to the idea of foragers "'returning home'' - where exactly would that be ? They ARE at home :) from their point of view it's all the other bees which are somehow mysteriously in the wrong place ! But - they mix ok and soon settle down.
LJ
 

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The foragers that he shakes in from a donor hive will go back to the donor hive as they are not home in the new hive. Home is where they have previously oriented. There should be enough nurse bees on a brood frame to cover that brood. There won't be many nurse bees on a frame of capped brood, but I agree with giving them some capped brood too.
 

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The foragers that he shakes in from a donor hive will go back to the donor hive as they are not home in the new hive. Home is where they have previously oriented. There should be enough nurse bees on a brood frame to cover that brood. There won't be many nurse bees on a frame of capped brood, but I agree with giving them some capped brood too.
Ah - I missed that wording ... I was actually referring to swapping-over hive positions. Different methods of adding bees.
LJ
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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The bees covering capped brood are not all nurse bees, they are on the open brood. I have done too many splits with nicely covered frames of capped brood, only to find that a great number of the bees returned home and the brood was left uncovered, chilled, and died. Chalk it up to PPBK on my part.
 

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Letting a package die because the queen is infertile makes no sense. Would you let your corporation go bankrupt because the manager is a dolt? The appearance of weakness does not take into consideration man made causes.

Ditto for Michael Palmer's suggestions.
 

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Thanks for the correction and apologies to JW (Palmer) .

That's what visual laziness, old age maybe...........fumbling for an excuse...
 

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Yes, it will work. I have done it several times. With a small population that limits the amount of brood that can be cared for and kept warm. Even with a great queen and a small population growth will always be slow because the queen cannot lay to her potential, especially in early spring when nights are still cold like they are in your location. Switch places with the hives and returning foragers will help keep the hive warm at night, permitting the queen to lay more brood. They won't have a problem with acceptance. If the other hive is strong then a couple of days later you can donate a frame of brood that is about to emerge to give them a boost in nurse bees. When I have swaped places then within a week I could see a noticeable increase in the amount of open brood and eggs.

Some have suggested letting it go because it's weak. The small colony with a new queen isn't a weak colony. It's a small colony. There is a difference.
 

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I am no mathematician. Regardless, is there not somewhat of an exponential growth characteristic with hive growth? The more bees you have in a hive the faster it grows, because the birth rate accelerates?
Isn't the concept of brood bomb hives one of the most important parts of sustainable apiaries?
Isn't splitting one way to try to control over strong hives?

I agree that weak, or small hives are possibly on the wrong side of the growth curve, but what to do is the beekeepers choice and I don't think it makes sense to have an automatic throw away policy.

So adding a frame of brood and nurse bees might just be enough to save the hive. Switching the hive locations gives the weak hive more field bees. This is what MSU phd beekeepers suggest because they do this sometimes.

Simply put, it is a judgement call and I would guess that trending weather conditions may have a large impact on workability.

Beekeeping is somewhat of a gamble. Like with poker if you always fold then you will never win.
 

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I think 1) op was looking for our suggestions which are opinions and I appreciate the opinions. And 2) I think it comes down to size of operation. If you only have 2 colonies then by all means boost the small package. If you have 500 then don't waste your time (or a new queen to replace the drone layer).
That 1 colony does not equate a corporation, the whole operation does. Everybody's numbers are different but consider (back to bees) hypothetically: 80% of our time/resources are spent babying the bottom 20% of our colonies. If we eliminate that bottom 20% and replace with stock from the top 2% we will double our productivity and have more time to spend at home with spouse and children. So in this example the dolt CEO would be the one propping up the wasteful part of the corporation. Should the op shake out his package? That depends on his whole operation.
And +1 on JWPalers suggestion to add nurse bees without adding brood for early season boost (and of course without moving the donor queen!).
Good luck! Let us know what you decide and how it goes.
 

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It makes no sense harming (weakening) strong colonies for an already dead hive.
I just had a round of this. Robbing from the weak to give to the strong. The strong will make more honey and the weak will get re-queened as I raise them. The only time I take bees from a strong hive is in queen rearing or after the flow
 

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I would set them over the top of a strong colony, in between the boxes add newspaper and a queen excluder and allow the strong colony below to boost the population of the colony above them. After a couple of weeks it can be removed again as their own colony. If the queen above is actively laying they should leave her alone. Ian Steppler (A Canadian Beekeepers Blog) does this when he wants to boost a small colony and believes they have value.
 

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…in between the boxes add newspaper and a queen excluder…
Queens can get at each other through one excluder. Use two queen excluders, preferably with at least a patty shim, or better yet a super, in between. And don't forget a top entrance.
 
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