Smallest swarm ever?

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At the end of June I put an empty 5 frame nuc (2 old drawn super frames inside) in a tree on the edge of one of my out apiaries.

When the really hot weather came I notice a couple of bees sitting around the entrance. I wondered if they had noticed somewhere a little cooler to rest up. I have seen a bit of coming and going but only single bees.

Anyway, today I had a look inside, to my surprise there are about 100 bees, about 50 capped brood cells (worker,) eggs and a queen.

I go through my bees every 6/7 days and since May haven't had any QCs. I have seen all of the marked queens today so I can only imagine they're a small swarm from somewhere else.

My question is, what is the best way to support them due to being so few in numbers? Should just split a few frames of bees and merge? Or make the spilt hopelessly Q- and introduce her as a mated queen In a cage for 48 hrs etc. I guess if I merge the Q will go on top due to being so small a colony?

I will pinch a couple of frames of emerging capped brood from another colony to give them a real boost, but I'm concerned about wasps in the coming weeks especially if I try to feed them whilst they have no numbers to defend their home. I love the resilience of these bees and want to give them the best possible chance.

Thanks in advance.
 
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At the end of June I put an empty 5 frame nuc (2 old drawn super frames inside) in a tree on the edge of one of my out apiaries.

When the really hot weather came I notice a couple of bees sitting around the entrance. I wondered if they had noticed somewhere a little cooler to rest up. I have seen a bit of coming and going but only single bees.

Anyway, today I had a look inside, to my surprise there are about 100 bees, about 50 capped brood cells (worker,) eggs and a queen.

I go through my bees every 6/7 days and since May haven't had any QCs. I have seen all of the marked queens today so I can only imagine they're a small swarm from somewhere else.

My question is, what is the best way to support them due to being so few in numbers? Should just split a few frames of bees and merge? Or make the spilt hopelessly Q- and introduce her as a mated queen In a cage for 48 hrs etc. I guess if I merge the Q will go on top due to being so small a colony?

I will pinch a couple of frames of emerging capped brood from another colony to give them a real boost, but I'm concerned about wasps in the coming weeks especially if I try to feed them whilst they have no numbers to defend their home. I love the resilience of these bees and want to give them the best possible chance.

Thanks in advance.
Think all the scenarios you’ve suggested will work. You don’t need to wait for a split to become hopelessly queenless, they will know within 20 mins and readily accept a new queen over newspaper. As you’ve suggested you can put her in a cage for extra protection and if you select a split with sealed brood only, that will help too. Be good to help this small colony quickly
 
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Think all the scenarios you’ve suggested will work. You don’t need to wait for a split to become hopelessly queenless, they will know within 20 mins and readily accept a new queen over newspaper. As you’ve suggested you can put her in a cage for extra protection and if you select a split with sealed brood only, that will help too. Be good to help this small colony quickly
Thankyou for your reply.

I will let you know what happens. I know some "seasoned" beeks wouldn't have tried, but I cant ignore the fact they're trying... if it fails at least I tried and can merge any remaining bees with another colony. I won't go in now for 10 days to let them settle.

Fingers crossed.
 

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I caught a small swsrm
Of around 50 bees. I made a nuc up and introduced the queen in a cage. The rest of the bees were sprayed with syrup and tipped into the nuc.
 
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I caught a small swsrm
Of around 50 bees. I made a nuc up and introduced the queen in a cage. The rest of the bees were sprayed with syrup and tipped into the nuc.
Dani,


Thats exactly what i have done. I gave them a 2 shook frames of nurse bees, a full brood frame of capped - emerging brood and a frame of stores including pollen. Caged the queen and sprayed all of the bees with syrup.

Fingers crossed and check in 10 days.

Thanks.
 

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