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Thread: Boosting small colonies

  1. #1

    Default Boosting small colonies

    I have a small colony in a poly nuc that requires a small boost of workers to really get it going before autumn. They're already stretched across the current brood frames so I don't want to just add a frame of capped brood as its likely to chill. Does anyone have any good methods for introducing workers straight into a hive? Or am I just going to be starting all out warfare? The nuc is away from the main apiary so returning workers wouldn't be an issue.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    Something that I've not tried but might be worth a go is to put workers in a paper bag and put it in the recipient hive. The bees find their way out of the bag at some time after you walk away and are accepted - maybe a pin prick or two in the bag so they can chew their way out. My guess is that it would be better if they had some food with them so they had some food to offer - but if they were smoked before being shaken into the bag at your out apiary, they would have fed and have full crops.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    Something that I've not tried but might be worth a go is to put workers in a paper bag and put it in the recipient hive. The bees find their way out of the bag at some time after you walk away and are accepted - maybe a pin prick or two in the bag so they can chew their way out. My guess is that it would be better if they had some food with them so they had some food to offer - but if they were smoked before being shaken into the bag at your out apiary, they would have fed and have full crops.
    Thanks Adam I'll give that a shot and report back.

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    Icing sugar is another suggestion that I've heard, but not actively tried enough to validate.

    Shake bees or transfer frames (alternate between recipient and donor frames) then liberally dose with Icing sugar. By time they finish cleaning up they're supposed to have forgotten they were ever separate colonies.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silvbee View Post
    Thanks Adam I'll give that a shot and report back.
    Hi all,

    So, I couldn't find a paper bag thin enough so went for a more direct approach by putting the bees in the feeder and blocking the fondant hole with tissue paper. The bees chewed through this quite quickly so there was some casualties but when I checked them at the weekend there were many more bees happily wandering the comb and a laying queen still present. Early days but happy with the result so far.

    SB

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    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Clever solution, Silvbee!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    Something that I've not tried but might be worth a go is to put workers in a paper bag and put it in the recipient hive. The bees find their way out of the bag at some time after you walk away and are accepted - maybe a pin prick or two in the bag so they can chew their way out. My guess is that it would be better if they had some food with them so they had some food to offer - but if they were smoked before being shaken into the bag at your out apiary, they would have fed and have full crops.
    I've been told the paper bag method of queen introduction is as good as any- take 40 to 50 bees and put in a paper bag add queen to be introduced and shake for about a minute before placing the closed bag in between brood frames in the hive to be introduced to, sounds intriguing and I'll definitely give it a go next season.

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