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Author Topic: Drone layer... and queen cell?  (Read 7287 times)

Offline Lesli

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« on: May 09, 2005, 08:39:58 PM »
One of my five hives started raising a new queen. This was a good thing, since it looked like brood was spotty with lots of drones.Today, I decided to refill their feeder, and took a peek to see how the queen cells looked. This is what I saw:



The queen cell looks a little weird, but...



Does this mean that they started to raise a queen and developed a drone layer, too? Haven't heard of that.

I did shake the hive out, as you're supposed to, but of course there are a lot of older bees who know where home is, since I hived them a few weeks ago. I decided to let them fly back, and return the frames so that if this is a viable queen cell, they can still raise one.

Has anyone seen anything like this?
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Offline Jerrymac

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2005, 10:44:13 PM »
I can't get the pix
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Offline Lesli

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2005, 06:58:26 AM »
Hmm, showing up for me. First one is a comb with many, many eggs per cell. Second one is a queen cell. Anyone else having trouble with the pics?
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Offline burny

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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2005, 07:19:42 AM »
so you shake out the bees and let them return? is this to get rid of the funky queen in preperation for birth of new queen?
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Offline Lesli

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2005, 07:33:28 AM »
I think usually, you break down the hive, shake them out, and let the foragers head for other hives in the area. Or do what I did and give them a new queen. The idea is that the drone layer is a young bee who hasn't foraged, and therefore doesn't know her way home.
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Offline Robo

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2005, 09:53:54 AM »
Quote from: Lesli
The idea is that the drone layer is a young bee who hasn't foraged, and therefore doesn't know her way home.


That is good in "theory", but doesn't always work that well in reality.   If I were you, I would combine them with another hive and then if you wanted, split them later in the year with a good queen.

Your chances are very low that the queen cell will produce a viable queen.

Emergency queens in general are questionable,  and now your throwing into the mix that it may be from a laying worker.   Not something I would want to put to much faith in heading one of my colonies.
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Offline Lesli

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2005, 10:07:59 AM »
Since I have a few hives, I may let this one play out for another week or so. It'll be interesting to see what emerges from the queen cell. :)
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Offline Michael Bush

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2005, 11:29:54 AM »
You have a queen cell and a mixture of worker and drone brood.  About 50/50 which is too many drone, but not 100% which would indicate a laying worker.  Looks like a poorly mated queen.  The bees are handling the situation correctly.  I'd let them.  I see no reason to shake them out.
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Offline Lesli

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2005, 11:59:29 AM »
What about the top picture, with a gazillion eggs per cell? Doesn't that indicate a drone layer?
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Offline Michael Bush

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2005, 01:27:38 PM »
Sorry, the top picture didn't come out.  You're right they do appear to be full of eggs.

Interestingly, the eggs appear, from what I can see, to be on the bottom of the cells.  Either way they need a queen.  They do sometimes build queen cells on drones but not usually, so it's possible the queen cell is a drone.  But there are some worker cells mixed with the drone which makes me wonder about a failing queen.

There are a few anomolies here.  Multiple eggs (usually a laying worker), eggs on the bottom (usually a queen not a laying worker), a 50/50 mixture of drone and worker brood (usually a failing queen because a laying worker can't lay worker eggs) and a queen cell (usually a sign of an attempt at supercedure to replace a failing queen).

More info about timing would be helpful.  Since there is some capped worker brood, unless that brood is dead (from being chilled or some other problem) then that means those eggs were layed less than 21 days ago.  The queen cell (unless it's dead or a drone) was layed less than 16 days ago. Which means there was a queen then.

Probably the safest, least complicated solution is to shake them out and put the frames in another hive.  But it is still unclear to me what exactly the situation is.

Perhaps a very long bodied laying worker?  Perhaps the workers just won't raise the drone eggs in the worker cells and the queen is laying more drone eggs?
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Offline Lesli

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2005, 01:52:11 PM »
The eggs aren't all of the bottoms of the cells. Some are stuck to sides, others are on top of pollen, and so on.

I hived this package on April 15, and I'd say the queen was released within a day or so. When I checked on the hive 5 days later, all was well and the queen released. At the time, I didn't want to start poking around too much.

So when I saw the spotty, drone-y brood pattern and queen cells on Saturday, I figured it was ok--they'd replace a bad queen. But even them I didn't pull every frame.

I've never heard of a bad queen laying 10+ eggs in a cell.

Well, I figure I'll let it go another week. If they haven't sorted themselves out, I'll shake down and combine with another hive. In the meantime, it's really just an interesting experiment.
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Offline Jay

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2005, 04:51:00 PM »
Lelsi, sometimes a newly mated queen doesn't have control yet and is eager to begin laying and will sometimes lay multiple eggs in cells or sometimes even drop eggs just walking accross the comb! But 10 in one cell sounds excessive! Let us know what happens, I'm interested to find out (if you do figure it out) just what exactly is going on there!
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Offline Michael Bush

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2005, 06:22:18 PM »
>I've never heard of a bad queen laying 10+ eggs in a cell.

Me neither.  But I've also never heard of one laying workers and the picture looks like there are worker cells there too.  I've also never seen a queen lay on top of pollen, but often see laying workers do it.

Maybe there is something more complex than one thing or another going on.  Like a failed queen and a laying worker.  I've never seen it, but if the queen isn't making enough QMP in theory, it could cause laying workers.
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Offline Lesli

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2005, 07:49:42 PM »
Well, I went to Dadant today to pick up supplies and they had extra queens for sale.

I did shake out the hive yesterday, and today they looked better, with more foragers, even some pollen coming in. So I added the new queen, still caged (I gave her and her attendants a drink of room temp water first). Whatever is going on, maybe this will take care of it. If not, I'm out a few bucks, but it's worth a try.
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Offline Lesli

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2005, 07:52:06 PM »
Quote from: Jay
Lelsi, sometimes a newly mated queen doesn't have control yet and is eager to begin laying and will sometimes lay multiple eggs in cells or


That happened to me last year when a queen was superseded. But that was a couple of eggs per cells--this looks really different. As I said, though, with a new queen, maybe they'll shape up. :)
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Offline Lesli

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2005, 12:15:07 PM »
Good news--they apparently accepted the new queen, because I'm seeing lots of single eggs in the bottoms of cells. Interesting that they are also uncapping and tossing what otherwise looks like ok brood--not hard and chalky or anything.

I'm wondering if they are getting rid of the drones laid in worker cells, or if this is hygenic behavior and they're getting rid of mites.
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Offline Jerrymac

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2005, 02:09:39 PM »
What breed are they supose to be and are they on large or small cell?
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Offline Lesli

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2005, 04:39:45 PM »
Small cell, Italian from Buckeye.
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Offline Jerrymac

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2005, 04:43:50 PM »
They mite be digging out mites.
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Offline Lesli

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Drone layer... and queen cell?
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2005, 08:37:21 PM »
Might be. I picked up a couple of the pupae that they had tossed out, and they looked ok, drones at the purple eye stage. Given what happened to the hive, maybe they're just cleaning house after the "drone layer episode."
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