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I've got 6 overwintered hives that I'm hoping will produce honey this year. I also have bought 5 packages of bees that should be here late March. I thought about taking a couple of frames of capped brood from the production hives to give a boost to the packages. I would replace the capped brood in the production hives with empty comb to hopefully help with future swarms. Can you see any huge negatives to this plan?
 

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I've got 6 overwintered hives that I'm hoping will produce honey this year. I also have bought 5 packages of bees that should be here late March. I thought about taking a couple of frames of capped brood from the production hives to give a boost to the packages. I would replace the capped brood in the production hives with empty comb to hopefully help with future swarms. Can you see any huge negatives to this plan?
I don't see any huge negatives, in fact a big positive is that the packages will have emerging bees from the capped brood frame just as older package bees are dyeing off. This will cause the population of the packages to be more balanced than otherwise, a healthy condition while the queen begins laying and her brood is maturing.
 

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IMO, if you are taking resources from a hive, it no longer is a "production hive". That being said, it is early enough in the season for the donor hive to recover. If it were me, I would let the packages fend for themselves and add supers to the production hives to get them to start drawing out and filling any honey frames. If you want to do something to boost the packages, put some drawn frames with the packages.
 

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It all depends on your goal. Do you want a big honey harvest OR do you want to build up the packages faster? Neither is WRONG, it is up to you to choose what you want. You could go 50/50.
 

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Open brood anchors packaged bees and does not contain mites. I would use one frame per package. Capped brood could contain mites as Roland states and does not encourage the bees to stay put. They may not even cover it and it could all die.
 

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I've got 6 overwintered hives that I'm hoping will produce honey this year. I also have bought 5 packages of bees that should be here late March. I thought about taking a couple of frames of capped brood from the production hives to give a boost to the packages. I would replace the capped brood in the production hives with empty comb to hopefully help with future swarms. Can you see any huge negatives to this plan?
Yes
mites in brood
brood pathogens
chilled brood if the package cannot cover it.


good idea IMO do it a bit different
take frame 1 or 10 from the 5 strongest production hives. shift the frame out till you hit the nest add the empty there, not separating brood nest but offering empty at the side, IMO foundation would be better for the OSBN concept.
Shake the bees off the comb, place it in position 3 or 4, an empty comb in 5 or 6 then the rest could be foundation.
3 combs if you have them is better.
If the frame is all honey try for frame 2 or 9, ideally you have a frame 1/2 honey and 1/3 pollen stores, small bit of open cells.

A package really takes of with a couple frames of comb and some stores (1 frame).

add the 5 foundation to the 5 places you "took" from to have them draw some comb as well.

some folks think the honey also has Pathogens so likely you get several flavors of an answer.

bottom line the take of a full frame from production can give them more brood space, and the give of stores and comb to the package will greatly help them. Brood can help but IMO is not the Magic often claimed.

good luck
let us know what you decided and how it goes.

GG
 

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Another thought about just adding comb and stores, is the possibility to treat the packages for mites before they start brood rearing.
 

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I guess it's difficult for me because I'm trying to accomplish 2 different things at the same time. I'm thinking maybe I'll just feed the packages alot and let them do their thing without stealing from the big hives.
 

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Producing honey and producing bees are not mutually exclusive but their is definately a cost to your strong colonies. If you started pushing pollen patties and liquid feed, weather permitting so your over wintered colonies are booming, they will be able to better afford the loss of brood. Now if you just take frames of eggs and newly hatched larvae, you will greatly reduce the loss and cost to the donor colony. If you have drawn comb to replace the lost brood, the loss is really nil. Do not move bees with the frames you take. Jiggle/shake the bees off, the package doesn't need them. The brood frame you give the package will provide an instant anchor and keep the package from abscounding from this wrong smelling box full of just foundation. Think out how to do the transferr quickly with minimum chilling of all parties and do it.
 

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I guess it's difficult for me because I'm trying to accomplish 2 different things at the same time. I'm thinking maybe I'll just feed the packages alot and let them do their thing without stealing from the big hives.
IF you have comb to give that is an option.
Don't bail due the perceived difficulty.

3 or 4 days prior to the packages arrivial, do an inspection of the 6 prod hive, IMO taking 1 frame of stores and give 1 frame of comb or foundation would help with egg laying space for the prod hives, a full or mostly full frame in spring is not used for brood all year, and better removed.
A frame of fresh worked stores, is a good thing for the package to have, agree on the feed and pollen patty the 6 hives 3 weeks prior to package arrival, if the hives are packed a frame of brood could be used noting the need for treatment this may cause. You should wash and do counts this spring any way, as well, you have time to treat before the packages arrive.

stores frames are fine sitting in the garage for a few days. Brood frames need be pulled minutes before hiving the package. But the inspection will "show you" where they are can even mark them with a marker or something to easily find when needed.
You have the "means" to help the packages, push your self if uncomfortable, with the activity for the good of your new packages. A can of sugar syrup, when you have the 6 prod hives some maybe honey / pollen bound is opting for the base hit when you are capable of a triple.

End of the day it is your decision, I have boosted packages to getting 3 or 4 supers of honey the first year, while helping my other fuller hives to open the nest a bit. Hate to see your new packages struggle on syrup and the best 2 prod hives swarm due to a congested brood nest. the 6 prod and 5 packages is a prefect time to do some leveling and optimization if needed or wanted.

Also do check the packages in 3 week, and 5 weeks, post hiving, with 5 there is a good chance for a supercedure or 2, one could use the QCells to do a split on a too large prod hive or requeen one that needs it, if you like the genetics of the packages you have ordered.

good luck
GG
 

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Also consider swarm prevention in your production hives. If you lose half the bees, production isn’t going to be great. Taking resources and making room may prevent a swarm and help the new packages. You could let the bees tell you what they are planning.
 

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I guess it's difficult for me because I'm trying to accomplish 2 different things at the same time. I'm thinking maybe I'll just feed the packages alot and let them do their thing without stealing from the big hives.
Before you let those packages "do their thing" read the paper below and let us know if it affected your
decision in any way:

"Influence of brood pheromone on honey bee colony establishment and queen replacement."
 
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