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Author Topic: Do I have laying workers?  (Read 1511 times)

Offline johnauck

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Do I have laying workers?
« on: December 27, 2012, 07:06:13 PM »
Hi,

I have a hive I suspect has laying workers. This colony was a swarm captured in early October, they were doing well in the first month.

This is what I observed yesterday :

 - patchy brood, some capped worker cells, mainly drone cells
 - all brood frames have a lot of drone cells
 - there were very few drone bees (if any)
 - there were a few queen cells
 - bees were quite calm, able to inspect without smoking
 - some cells had two eggs
 
I did not spot a queen, two queen cells were open, but I could not tell if they had hatched recently.
Three weeks ago, I saw a single queen cell that was almost ready to hatch. I assumed they were superceding the old queen?

This picture shows the brood, the other frames have a similar pattern.



Rather than shake the bees out, I think I will leave them for another week and check them again?
Perhaps they are having some difficulty raising a new queen?
My other hives are still building up after splits, so don't think I can spare frames of brood right now. May be I can spare one.

Any advice appreciated.


regards

john

Offline prestonpaul

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Re: Do I have laying workers?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2012, 08:01:44 PM »
I have a swarm doing the same thing. Mostly drone brood with a little worker brood interspersed. I gave them a frame of eggs to see if they would make another queen but haven't had a chance to check them yet. I'll be interested to see what they've done.

Offline edward

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Re: Do I have laying workers?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2012, 09:00:23 PM »
At the end of her 3rd and fourth year a queen can sometimes lay 2 eggs in the same cell.

It was probably a swarm with an old or failing queen.

When the worker bees lay eggs in cells they are all over the place and with lots of eggs in the cells.

Let the new queen hatch take care not to disturb the queen cells to much.

mvh edward  :-P

Offline edward

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Re: Do I have laying workers?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2012, 09:04:51 PM »
I did not spot a queen, two queen cells were open, but I could not tell if they had hatched recently.
Three weeks ago, I saw a single queen cell that was almost ready to hatch.

A queen that has hatched opens the cell from the bottom.

A queen cell that has been opened and killed by another queen is opened from the side.

mvh edward  :-P

Online kathyp

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Re: Do I have laying workers?
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2012, 09:36:34 PM »
you may also have a new queen that is learning to lay.  they will do the multiple egg thing also.  what concerns me more is that it looks like the only worker brood cells you have there have concave capping.  +  you have quite a few cells that have holes in them.

take a close look at your brood next time you are in there and make sure it's healthy.  see if they are ripping stuff out.  take some shots into the cells if you have questions and let us take a look.  more pictures, the better. 

might be nothing.  maybe just the angle of the photos.
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Offline hunter1

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Re: Do I have laying workers?
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2012, 09:37:48 PM »
I am told  a laying worker is evident when eggs are located on side of cell instead of bottom.Laying worker's tail is not long enough to reach bottom.
Hunter1

Offline johnauck

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Re: Do I have laying workers?
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2012, 09:43:36 PM »
I have a swarm doing the same thing. Mostly drone brood with a little worker brood interspersed. I gave them a frame of eggs to see if they would make another queen but haven't had a chance to check them yet. I'll be interested to see what they've done.


PrestonPaul, please keep us updated, I am interested to see how your colony goes. I won't be adding a frame of eggs to my hive. Should be good to compare notes.


At the end of her 3rd and fourth year a queen can sometimes lay 2 eggs in the same cell.

It was probably a swarm with an old or failing queen.

When the worker bees lay eggs in cells they are all over the place and with lots of eggs in the cells.

Let the new queen hatch take care not to disturb the queen cells to much.

Ed, yes I like your approach, let the queen hatch and see how they go :-) Definately did not see eggs all over the place.

Initially the queen was laying nicely, good pattern, and she filled up 2 frames rather quickly. Then all of a sudden I noticed very little brood and a single queen cell. Makes sense if she was old and failing I guess.

Out of interest, what happens when more than one eggs develops in a cell? Do they both die?



A queen that has hatched opens the cell from the bottom.

A queen cell that has been opened and killed by another queen is opened from the side.

Ahh good to know, I have not observed a cell that has been torn down.


regards

john

Offline johnauck

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Re: Do I have laying workers?
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2012, 09:53:00 PM »
I am told  a laying worker is evident when eggs are located on side of cell instead of bottom.Laying worker's tail is not long enough to reach bottom.

Yep I was reading the same thing last night. First time I've seen this pattern. In this case, seems that its more likely a queen issue.


Thanx KathyP, I had not considered a diseased brood. Will definately have a closer look. I did notice what I thought to be a small amount of wax moth damage, but nothing to get too excited about yet.

Anyway, I will inspect again soon, too windy today.


regards

john

Offline edward

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Re: Do I have laying workers?
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2012, 10:41:10 PM »
Out of interest, what happens when more than one eggs develops in a cell? Do they both die?

 :-D Beemese twins  :-D

I saw this last year in a old queen that we used for breeding, didn't have time to look, could it bee double brood in the drone looking cells?

mvh edward  :-P

Offline edward

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Re: Do I have laying workers?
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2012, 10:46:16 PM »
Many drone cells could also bee due to that the queen was not properly mated and/or her sperm supply is low/failing/ ending

mvh edward  :-P

Offline prestonpaul

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Re: Do I have laying workers?
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2012, 12:00:00 AM »

PrestonPaul, please keep us updated, I am interested to see how your colony goes. I won't be adding a frame of eggs to my hive. Should be good to
Will do John.


It was probably a swarm with an old or failing queen.

mvh edward  :-P
I am hoping that is what's going on in my case.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Do I have laying workers?
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2012, 10:28:15 AM »
Michael Bush
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