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Christchurch
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I know you can donate brood from a hive to bring up numbers and support a weak hive but can you donate worker bees?

Is pulling a frame and shaking worker bees into another hive a way to get boots on the ground more quickly?
 

Alastair

Founder Member
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Auckland
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Yes.

But - you got to make sure those bees you add do not kill the queen, which will at first be foreign to them.

However if adding brood to a weak hive, mostly you will also have to add bees. Because the weak hive may already have as much brood as those bees can cover, and if you add more brood the bees cannot care for it and the brood may die. Very common trap for new players unfortunately.

There is always a risk when adding bees that they will kill the queen. Here is what I do to minimise that risk. I find the queen in the weak hive and put the comb she is on on the outside of the brood nest with the queen on the outside side of that comb. Then any brood and bees get added at the other side of the brood nest.

Course doing that you still have to keep the integrity of the brood nest, ie, end up with a compact brood nest that the bees can properly cover.

Other thing to be aware of is some of those added bees will just head back to their parent hive so you need to try to add young bees that haven't flown yet, plus add more than you need to end up with to allow for drift. Also if it's robbing season take precautions to prevent some of those older bees returning to the weak hive to rob it.

Do all that properly and you can expect a very high success rate.
 
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maungaturoto
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I know you can donate brood from a hive to bring up numbers and support a weak hive but can you donate worker bees?

Is pulling a frame and shaking worker bees into another hive a way to get boots on the ground more quickly?
what you can do depends on time of year and what else is happening.

during honey flow simply swapping hive positions around will fill up the weak hive with workers. bees with food are accepted, those with no food get the boot, or a scrap ensures and possible rob out. hence only do it during flow.

for off season i find combining hives is a better option than trying to booster it up with brood and bees.
 
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Hawkes Bay
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In the spring when the hives start to build up and you get a weak hive you can fairly safely add bees by taking frames of brood from a strong hive, giving them a light shake which will remove most of the old bees and then give the frame a careful check to make sure the Queen isn't on that frame and then just bump all those young bees directly in front of the entrance of the hive you want to build up. Any old bees that didn't get shaken off first time will just fly home and all the young bees will crawl in the entrance . Ideally you would do this with quite a few frames. I wouldn't do this at this time of year.
 


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