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Author Topic: Laying worker  (Read 1155 times)
WhipCityBeeMan
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« on: August 20, 2010, 12:42:23 PM »

Started nucs several weeks ago.  Had 8 queenright nucs but last week noticed that only 6 were queenright and it could have been so for a while b/c I was away.  Perhaps 2 were rejected.  Anyway, now those 2 queenless hives have laying workers. I am sure because 1) I see no queen , 2) there are 2 and sometimes 3 eggs in each cell, 3) the eggs are not in the center of the cell and 4) some are showing capped drone brood only.

If I just shake the bees out in the yard do I have to worry about the laying worker going back to a queenright hive?  I have never had laying workers before so I am a little nervous about doing this. I dont want to screw up the queenright nucs I have now.  Too late in the year for any mistakes. 
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bulldog
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2010, 12:58:25 PM »

i'm new at this so i'm no expert by any means, but what i've read is that it is the nurse bees that become laying workers. there may even be more than one, but the foragers don't do this. since the nurse bees have never left the hive they won't know how to find it again after you shake them out. you must move the hive a considerable distance away and make sure ALL of the bees are out and then replace your hive. the forager will find their way home but the nurse bees won't. unfortunately you will lose some bees, but it's the only way to be sure. if even one bee is left in the hive, it could be the laying worker and all your efforts would have been for nothing.
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hardwood
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2010, 06:43:40 PM »

Shake them out but do not return the hive...let them join your other hives. True, the laying worker(s) are nurse bees but they can still fly and will eventually find a home. If the hive they find is queenright there won't be problems. If the hive is queenless they will start to lay again. Shake them, remove the hive they came from and split in the spring.

Scott
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2010, 11:06:52 PM »

They all know their way back.  This has been a common myth for many years, but has been disproven by most everyone who has tried it as well as some scientific experiments.  Shaking out is really only useful as a demoralizing move so they are more likely to accept a queen (but it's still unreliable) or just to shake them out as hardwood describes removing the hive.
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Michael Bush
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WhipCityBeeMan
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2010, 04:24:50 PM »

Mr. Bush,

i was hoping you would weigh in. I always appreciate your posts.  So shake them out and even if the laying worker returns to a queenright hive there wont be a problem?? Just want to be clear.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2010, 11:02:02 PM »

No, it's not a problem.  The laying worker is the outsider and will be treated as such.  Not as the queen.
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Michael Bush
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backyard warrior
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2010, 05:01:35 PM »

I have had the same thing happen with several eggs in each cell. The queen was there and she was a young queen without alot of drawn comb to lay into and she was laying drone instead of workers so maybe she wasnt fertilized properly. She wanted to lay but had no space to lay therefore she was laying more than one egg per cell.  Let it be known that she wasnt a good queen i had to replace her because the bees werent drawing foundation and foraging. Just because you see more than 1 egg in a cell doesnt neccessarily mean that there is no queen in the hive.
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2010, 10:29:29 AM »

  Let it be known that she wasnt a good queen i had to replace her because the bees werent drawing foundation and foraging. Just because you see more than 1 egg in a cell doesnt neccessarily mean that there is no queen in the hive.

I would think that the reason that a hive wasnt building or drawing comb would be from a lack of a flow (not enough resources) and not due to the queens performance.
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WhipCityBeeMan
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2010, 07:44:44 PM »

Gotcha.  I checked several times and didnt see her.  I am pretty sure I had a laying worker.  All seems well now after shaking the frames out.
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gardeningfireman
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« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2010, 10:01:27 PM »

Just went through this myself! I took the laying worker hive about 80 feet away and dumped out every single bee behind a bed of tall ornamental grasses. I then moved a young queenright colony that is in a single deep to the spot where the laying worker hive was (about 5 feet away). I left all the frames that had any honey out in the yard to feed the girls as nectar is scarce right now.  There were a few wax moths in the lw hive, so I won't use them again until next spring, after I take care of them. The single deep hive also has a hivetop feeder in place so maybe the girls will be so busy that they integrate without too much trouble!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2010, 10:57:25 AM »

I think it's safest to put NOTHING at the old location.  I have had the laying workers come back and kill the queen.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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