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Author Topic: Possible laying worker?  (Read 783 times)
Spear
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« on: April 19, 2014, 01:33:36 PM »

As mentioned in another post I have one hive that might have a laying worker. Today we gave them a virgin queen that is mentioned in my thread on swarm cells. (I just hope she is accepted - they seemed to ignore her as she walked into the hive.) We also decided to take a frame of strange looking brood away. The cells are capped but they seem to me to be too big to be normal drone cells.
Here are a few pics I took - Looks a bit like an alien land scape - in some pictures there are a few drones emerging, there were a few lava in cells that were being built up really high:












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sc-bee
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2014, 01:47:10 PM »

Definitely drone cells. Typical laying worker pattern or maybe just a drone laying queen. Also looks like an attempt at a failed queen cell. If you watch the virgin move in and they did not start harassing her...... it sounds pretty good. Ho[e she takes a good mating flight. Maybe two weeks +/- few days will tell the story.

Just curious.... what is the population (bee density of the hive)? They probably could benefit from a good solid frame of brood oif you have one to spare and enough bees in the hive to tend to it. How are stores on the hive? You may have answered these questions in other post....
« Last Edit: April 19, 2014, 03:01:26 PM by sc-bee » Logged

John 3:16
Spear
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2014, 02:38:14 PM »

This hive seems to be working just as hard as the other hives and has good stores, they are even back filling some old brood comb (I gave them a super so they have more space to build). There is some capped worker brood from frames that I gave them a week ago. I was standing watching the hives and see no difference in activity from this hive and the other 9 hives around it - loads of pollen coming in and even some orientation flights. If they haven't killed the queen I gave them yesterday about how long before I should expect to see brood from her? - she is a new hatched (Friday) queen from a swarm cell from another hive.
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Wolfer
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2014, 04:32:16 PM »

Laying workers is something I've never had so I have no expierence in such matters.
I generally don't post on matters that I don't have actual hands on expierence with. But here are my thoughts.
If you didn't give them a frame of brood a week for two or three weeks to suppress the laying workers your new queen is probably dead.

I hope I'm wrong, I often am.
Woody Roberts
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sc-bee
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2014, 05:34:12 PM »

If they haven't killed the queen I gave them yesterday about how long before I should expect to see brood from her? - she is a new hatched (Friday) queen from a swarm cell from another hive.

Two weeks +/- few days as long as three weeks
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John 3:16
Spear
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2014, 03:11:13 PM »

Now this (for me) really strange: Took a peek a the suspected laying worker hive to see if the new queen I gave them was ok. Didn't find her but did find some capped brood - worker - and a few queen cells. There was also a fare amount of drone brood still and what looked like more than 1 lava in a few cells. I'm hoping that this a sign that the problem is a drone laying queen and the girls have taken matters into their claws and will have it fixed before to long.
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AliciaH
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2014, 09:58:40 AM »

Several years ago, I went through a season splitting like crazy in an effort to eliminate swarming (cough, cough).  I trashed my honey production, but the trade off was learning about splitting, how long it takes for new queens to mate, and most importantly - laying workers and how nasty they are.

In several hives, for various reasons, the virgin queen was delayed in mating.  I witnessed the virgin queen start to lay eggs on one side of a hive at the same time laying workers kicked in on the other.  In every case that year, the laying workers tracked down the new queen and killed her. 

My biggest lesson was the value of pheromones from open larvae to deter the laying workers and buy my new queens some time.

There are exceptions to every rule, and I can only hope that your new queen is okay.  But what I worry about is that, like my hives that summer past, she got to lay a few eggs before the laying workers got to her, which is why there is some worker brood. 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2014, 02:27:24 PM »

Classic laying worker.
http://bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm
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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
Spear
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2014, 04:29:25 PM »

Checked on my hives again today. The one with the possible laying worker still has a fair number of bees but is definitely dwindling and has almost no drone brood - the laying workers are dieing? I found a frame of capped brood in another hive that had a queen cell attached to the side so I gave it to the 'laying worker hive' along with a 2nd frame of capped brood and all the bees on both frames.
 
I then went into another of my hives that need to be completely moved into their new hive and found that the queen had finally moved into the top box so I could remove the bottom box and shake all the bees out the bottom box into the top box that will now be the bottom box of the new hive. As I was shaking the bees into the new hive I found there was still some capped brood in the old bottom box. Now the frames are too small to fit in any of the other boxes so I cut the comb out and used elastic bands to hold it into the bigger frames. These 5 frames of capped brood (some of it already emerging) I put into the 'laying worker hive' after removing some empty frames to make space.
I hope that the additional bees and the queen cell have saved this hive... only time will tell.
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