Supplementing Weak Hive With Brood From Stronger Hive

I have been told to take full base frames from a strong hive and place into weaker hive to give it a boost of eggs and larvae. The strong hive is 100% Italians and the weaker 100% Carniolans.

Will they work together OK?

Thank You

NAP

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Hi Neil,

Yes, that will work just fine. The fact that the two hives are different strains of bees will make no difference.

And supplementing a weak hive with brood from a strong hive can certainly help to bring the weak hive up to strength. It can also serve as a form of swarm control for the stronger hive.

When I do that, I prefer to add frames of mostly capped brood rather than eggs and larvae, because the capped brood will boost the worker population of the weak hive more quickly.

Also, if the hive is extremely weak, it's possible that it won't have sufficient nurse bees to care for the sudden population explosion of babies. Capped brood places no demands upon the weak hive other than maintaining the proper temperature in the brood nest.

Unless the hive is too weak to care for the brood, though (and that's unlikely though not impossible), either way will work - capped brood or mostly eggs and larvae.

Be absolutely certain, of course, that the strong hive's queen is not on any of the frames you transfer!

One other consideration: Before doing this, it would be good to know why the weak hive is weak. If it's a problem that has been corrected, such as low food stores coming out of the winter, then the population boost will help.

But if it's a problem that hasn't been corrected, such as an under-performing queen, then the brood boost will be for naught. Long term, the weak hive will remain weak if the underlying problem isn't corrected.

Good luck!

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