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Author Topic: Advice requested--laying workers???  (Read 1633 times)

Offline beryfarmer

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Advice requested--laying workers???
« on: May 16, 2013, 04:32:48 PM »
I installed two packages on March 30 with clipped and marked queens on drawn foundation that had some pollen, honey and empty cells.  Both queens released after 3 days.  Saw a small patch of brood in hive 1 but then laying stopped.  There were also supercedure cells.  No evidence of eggs/brood even after 3 weeks for hive#2.  Both hives rather nasty.
Installed new queens from Vermont on April 26th; cut out supercedure cells from hive 1 a few days before installation.  Queen installation with push-in cages over empty comb.  No evidence of any eggs or brood upon installation.
May 1 (Queen +5)
Hive #1-- no live queen or dead body in cage--cage full of about 10-20 bees. Searched the frames and found larvae and eggs. good so far.. wasnt able to find queen but figured at the time that if she is laying i dont really care.

Hive#2- push in cage intact - handful of bees on outside of cage. No eggs laid within cage. Let queen out-- np and went to search other frames...oops.. saw larvae and eggs like Hive#1 but not as many. one or two double eggs but that was rare....was finishing my inspection of the last frame when i saw my released queen again-- scurrying around--bees kind of ignoring her. The push in cage was on the edge of the bee cluster and the bees were clustered around the end frames.-- Didnt see any other queen except the one in #2.  Bees in both hives more calm.

May 10 (Queen+14)
 So per my previous posts went back into hive after 10 days

both hives were the same-- calm bees (didnt use smoke), couldnt find the queens. Tight brood pattern. Saw eggs up through capped brood but....
it seemed to me that a lot (50%! ) of brood was drones!  This was more prevalent i think in the older brood. Each hive with brood about the size of 1-2 hands on 4 frame sides. To me much of it seemed to be larger/domey than typical worker brood. The odd thing is that there were more flatter capped brood on the outside edges of the laying pattern.

Seems odd i would have this on BOTH hives. also find it hard to believe that it could be a worker laying because i did not see that many double layings and the pattern seemed tight 10 days ago and continues to be tight amongst all the brood. ie. age of brood is the same in an area
No supercedure cells.

May 15th (Queen +20)
Went in about midday- not many drones in hives but probably off  somewhere.  Didn’t see queen in either hive.  Not seeing as much brood as I’d like.  Plenty of stores.  Almost think cluster is a bit honey bound since the nectar is restricting eggs laying space.  So since bees occupying first 4 frames I shifted the frames down one toward the middle and put drawn comb on the end
Saw eggs in hive #1, fewer in #2.  I am a bit confused about both these hives.
1)   would have expected to see more brood by this time
2)   lots of “Kix” brood but often see mixed pattern (see photo #1 with drone brood on upper right and normal brood on left.
3)   Single eggs in middle of  cells, no double eggs,  eggs being laid on cells not even drawn out (on an aside bees not really drawing comb but I figured its Spring and I shouldn’t have to feed them but AM worried they wont draw out comb where eggs laid).
4)   Not many drones observed but they could be out mating.

Idk seems worker hive? But don’t understand the mix of capped brood.  Don’t have spare hives to add frames of brood.




comb not drawn out


guess i should have increased the resolution of my images-- sorry that yo cant zoom in but i hope you get the idea

Offline Beeboy01

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Re: Advice requested--laying workers???
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2013, 05:05:22 PM »
Image 396 shows eggs and younger brood in the partially drawn comb. New queens can miss fire while laying during the first month and produce a lot of drones till they get it right. It loks like you are using older brood comb which already has drone cells in it  which can cause the queen to lay drones as she goes by. Even if you can't find a queen some of the pictures show that a queen is there laying in at least one of your hives.

Offline bailey

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Re: Advice requested--laying workers???
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2013, 05:11:31 PM »
The last pic shows a frame full of stores.  Put it in middle of cluster.
All the others looked good.  Your worrying too much.  All frames looked like they were queen right to me.
most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought of as a fool than to open ones mouth and in so doing remove all doubt.

Offline D Coates

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Re: Advice requested--laying workers???
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2013, 05:36:13 PM »
The drones are in there as the comb is a little screwed up there in that first photo.  There's a egg pattern that looks okay in the back ground.  That queen may be hitting her stride.  Are these bees on drawn or undrawn combs?  The one with the low spot in the middle looks like it was chewed down at some point.  Are you feeding them?  The frame with the brood mixed with pollen is indeed odd but I'm not sure what it means.

I'd focus on looking for a stable egg pattern and comb drawing (via feeding if needed).  No need to find the queen if you're finding the eggs.  I don't believe either hive has laying workers.  The queens may be hitting their stride but you need to make sure they have the resources to keep the ball rolling.
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Offline beryfarmer

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Re: Advice requested--laying workers???
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2013, 06:47:31 PM »
Yes you are correct-- i didnt notice the screwed up comb.  Its odd that's where she started to lay.  There are other places where the comb is not screwed up and i have the popcorn effect.

I have plenty of drawn comb in these hives but am afraid of feeding too much now to avoid being syrup bound.  There is nectar in the frames around the brood -- so limited space.  I suppose i could put a quart on this one hive to start them to draw this frame out.  It is true that if they dont want it, they wont take it.

With both these hives- even when i fed the packages when i got them, they didnt seem to draw comb out. Of the 10 frames in the hive- probably 7-8 are already drawn out.

As i said trying to move the cluster to middle of box by shifting frames over by one.  Hopefully this will allow the queen to lay there as well. 

Thank you for all the comments-- it has been helpful so far.  My biggest concern with feeding has always been the syrup bound aspect-- how does one avoid that?


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Re: Advice requested--laying workers???
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 10:39:07 AM »

...My biggest concern with feeding has always been the syrup bound aspect-- how does one avoid that?

I had the same problem/concern....the only way I know to avoid it is to stop feeding.  :)  As with so much of being a beek, I think it's striking a balance and finding what works for you.  I started with two Nucs, one never would touch the syrup and the other never would stop taking it...I finally took it away because they were becoming syrup bound.  I got that Nuc mid January and it's swarmed 3 times on me that I know of....Got two back and lost one. 

I think in a lot of cases the bees are going to do what they're going to do and often don't follow the script we have in mind for them.  :-D