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Opinions from the group please. What is your preferred method for strengthening nucs, populations wise that is? Adding capped brood is a given, but do you leave nurse bees attached or shake em off. Would you (have you) just shake nurse bees into a nuc to increase population? What would be the downside to adding capped brood with nurse bees.....obviously fighting, but what else?
 

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I for one have never transferred a frame of capped brood with bees attached for fear of fighting. Many times I have read, however, that this may be an undue fear. I guess the question of nurse bees not fighting is something that hasn't penetrated my thick skull. The odd time I have experimented with joining colonies with anything other than the newspaper method has resulted in finding dozens of dead bees at the entrance the next day. :cry:
If I was convinced it wouldn't happen I would probably do it more simply cause to give a weak nuc a frame of brood doesn't always mean they have the numbers to care for it.
 

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I prefer to swap locations with the weak hive and a strong one. Let the foragers return to the opposite hive.
 

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Iddee said:
I prefer to swap locations with the weak hive and a strong one. Let the foragers return to the opposite hive.
I agree. You won't think its the same nuc tomorrow.

If I add a brood frame, no bees on it.
 

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I agree swap the weak ones with the strong ones while the foragers are out. I have seen and heard of people adding frames of brood with nurse bees to a nuc to boost it. But the down fall queens can quite runny and hard to spot on a frame full of nurse bees. You may end up with a queenless hive if your not careful.
 

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Swapping hives works very well to boost the numbers plus it gets more pollen and nectar coming into the hive, just what they need for the maturing larva. If you have a frame of foundation in the weak hive swap it out with drawn comb if you have it. Will give the queen extra room to lay and new returning foragers someplace to put nectar and pollen. Saves the bees the time and energy of drawing out new comb.

If giving a frame of brood I always shake the biggest part of the bees off, but then get to thinking if the receiving hive is already low on bees that is just more that have to give up foraging to stand on the brood.
 

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Flyman writes:
What would be the downside to adding capped brood with nurse bees.....obviously fighting, but what else?

tecumseh:
I suspect this is a temperature dependent behavior. In hot enough weather this is without a doubt not a good strategy. At cooler temperature you can do this with little problem.

An unmentioned method of adding bees is to just dump some 'bulk bees' in the box and temporarily close the entrance. Some addition of sugar sprayed on the bees with a bit of wintergreen to mask smells would be how I would accomplish this task. Again there would be some temperature dependence to how you accomplished this task.. ie in cool enough weather the syrup and wintergreen would be unnecessary.
 
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