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Caught the world’s smallest swarm; how to best support?

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Caught the world’s smallest swarm; how to best support?

So I put up swarm traps a couple weeks back at a friend's place (non-beekeeper). I was using a full 8-frame deep with a board screwed to the bottom, swarm commander spray, an old comb, and a lemongrass oil lure inside. There was a bee checking out the trap even while I was putting it up. Later in the week my friend called me to say there were "a bunch" of bees going in and out, so I figured there was a swarm in there. I gave it a couple more days to be safe, and went to pick up the trap after dark on Saturday. Given how big the trap was and how quickly the bees found it, I was super excited that there was a great swarm in there.

Cue reality: I opened up the top and shone a light inside just to check before moving it, and while there were bees, it was definitely not "a bunch". I saw just a few bees on either side of the bait frame staring up at me, but they were in there after dark so I assumed the swarm was there, and maybe they were all down in the bottom or something. Moved them to the new location at the apiary and left them for a few days, then went to move them into a nuc yesterday so I could reuse the swarm trap.

Good news is that there is definitely a queen (see video) and they have built some new comb onto the old bait comb, and the queen has definitely laid eggs into the new comb. However, there were literally no other bees with the queen. I saw several going in and out before I opened up the trap, so likely they are all out foraging, but I think this is a tiny tiny swarm. I'm concerned that she doesn't have enough bees to kickstart the colony, but I'm also afraid that there are so few bees that if I drop in another frame of brood they'll all die or they will just gang up and kill the queen. I did give them some 1:1 and pollen patty just to try to encourage them to stay in the nuc more and keep the eggs warm instead of foraging, but I'm also worried that will just encourage robbing from the other apiary hives (seemed worth the risk at this point given that I'm not sure she'll make it anyways.

I did just split one of my other hives yesterday, so I have a queenless hive (5 frames) I was setting up to drop in a new mated queen I ordered, expected next week. My current plan is if the tiny swarm colony can survive another few days, I can pull out a frame or two from the queenless hive this weekend after they've had time to fully forget the old queen, put the tiny queen into a cage, and try to introduce her to the queenless bees. Any thoughts on whether this has a chance? Any other ideas would be welcome, this little girl seems super robust and I'd hate to let her die due to neglect!


submitted by /u/Special_Quantity_834
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