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Author Topic: 2 queens and egg eating workers  (Read 841 times)

Offline goertzen29

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2 queens and egg eating workers
« on: August 14, 2010, 02:58:19 PM »
I went to split a hive today that was crowded and about to swarm I'm sure (there were 5+ swarm cells).  I read up about a flying split so went in search of the queen.  2 supers in I found her, much lighter in color than I remembered, but I set the frame aside.  I decided to finish looking just in case she was a newly hatched queen, though she wasn't small and skiddish as I have experienced with virgin queens before.  2 frames later I found another queen, much darker and more slender (the one I thought was in there). 

So here I have two queens, I couldnt find any queen cells that had recently hatched, and both were moving calmly about the hive. 

I went ahead and did my flying split with the dark queen. Then returned to the nuc to watch the other queen to see if I could watch her lay.  After a bit of watching I witnessed the queen on the bottom bar opening her tail end and the the nurse bees smelling?? (it appeared) maybe releasing pheromone, but then an eggs came out, right on the wood and the nurse bees quickly ate it! 

I think I have heard of this before somewhere but I can't remember where.  Is this normal, or a bad sign? 

Offline fish_stix

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Re: 2 queens and egg eating workers
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2010, 03:57:08 PM »
Completely normal! How would they raise a larva on the wood frame? Some believe that bees can move eggs around, I don't. Bees eat eggs frequently, such as when the queen lays an unfertilized egg in worker cells. Also, if you move eggs from worker cells into a queen cell cup they'll eat them, as many have found when trying to move eggs with the Nicot and other queen rearing systems. It also stands to reason that they'll eat them in times of low resources when they don't have enough honey and pollen to raise larva.

Offline goertzen29

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Re: 2 queens and egg eating workers
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2010, 10:48:46 PM »
That is interesting. 

About the 2 queen thing, I just read that when there are two queens in a hive that one is usually a failing or older queen who wont live much longer.  Since it is already mid-August should I be weary of letting this older queen go into winter?  I'll wait to see how that split builds and watch the laying pattern, but if the laying pattern seems good would you all just leave her alone going into winter?

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: 2 queens and egg eating workers
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2010, 12:33:26 AM »
She has to lay the egg in the cell for it to get glued to the bottom of the cell.  If it is somewhere else they have to clean it up.  They can't move it.
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Offline FRAMEshift

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Re: 2 queens and egg eating workers
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2010, 03:27:39 PM »
She has to lay the egg in the cell for it to get glued to the bottom of the cell.  If it is somewhere else they have to clean it up.  They can't move it.

So maybe this is a new queen who hasn't learned to get the egg inside the cell yet? 
"You never can tell with bees."  --  Winnie-the-Pooh

Offline goertzen29

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Re: 2 queens and egg eating workers
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2010, 09:06:45 PM »
well I do think she is a new(er) queen but I guess I just always assumed they layed eggs only in cells....I guess was I was stuck on was more that it appeared that the nurse bees surrounding her were forcing(?) her to lay and then waiting to eat them up, as if that was the purpose, rather than a misplaced egg.

Offline hardwood

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Re: 2 queens and egg eating workers
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2010, 11:48:34 PM »
I feel that egg laying is an continuous event while she's in that state whether she's azz down in a cell or not...of course I've been wrong on occasion :-D

We were splitting just this last Sat. and I watched as a queen walked around a frame spitting out an egg every  30 seconds or so wherever she was. There was always a bee right behind her to take the egg from her. I can't really say that I noticed them actually eating the eggs, didn't stay that focused on it, but I thought it was pretty cool being able to witness it.

Scott
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