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Author Topic: I think I know what's wrong with my hive, but I need confirmation  (Read 370 times)
New Bee
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Gender: Female
Posts: 26

Location: Prospect, VA

« on: June 09, 2013, 09:29:36 PM »

I have installed three packages this season.  Two of them about 4 weeks ago and 1 about three weeks ago.  The newer one was from Brushy Mountain, the other two from a private seller in Stafford, VA.  I put the Brushy package in mediums and it is doing fantastic. There is plenty of brood, some capped stores and they are taking sugar water well.  The other two from the private seller, not so well.  One of them has some capped brood and stores, drawn wax and about 5/10 frames drawn.  The other has almost two full frames of drone brood, hardly any stores and some of the frames look almost like they were robbed out. I think what I have is a laying worker.  I think the solution is to give them a frame of capped brood and stores from the better hive.  All of the hives have been taking sugar syrup slowly until the last few days(it has rained about 8 inches in the last three days), and they have started taking it faster.  I'm using 1:1 sugar syrup with some HBH.  I've noticed some water bugs on the inner cover, but no hive beetles and no wax moths. What do you think?

Galactic Bee
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Gender: Male
Posts: 6310

Location: Randleman, NC

« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2013, 09:47:28 PM »

I think you may have a drone laying queen. I would call the supplier and ask him if he will replace her.

"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
House Bee
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Gender: Male
Posts: 106

Location: Bossier City, La

« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2013, 10:27:45 PM »

I had a similar issue when installing a nuc once. I dropped the queen and I think I killed her. The colony tried to prodice a queen so I let them do their bee thing. Well either she didn't turn out right or never made it back from her mating flight. After a few weeks, I noticed really patchy brood that was all drones. Pretty much pointed to laying workers.
 The only way I have heard of (and what I did) to resolve this issue it to.
1. Go buy a laying queen
2. Put her somewhere safe when you get to your apiary.
3. Take the entire hive 50+ yards from it's original position
4. Shake, brush, blow all of the bees out in that spot.
5. Reassemble the hive in it's original location add a frame of brood to support the bees while the new queen comes up to speed
6. Place the caged queen in the hive and let the bees release her.
7. Watch and make sure you have a good laying pattern in a few weeks.

The reason this supposedly works is the laying worker (s) are too big to fly that well so they can not make it back to the hive.
The new queen's pheromones permeate the hive and the hive returns to normal...eventually.

I have done this and it worked for me. Good luck with that hive.
If you do have a great brood pattern and they are all drones then likely you have a drone laying queen and should replace her, hopefully with a free one from your supplier.


Michael Bush
Universal Bee
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Gender: Male
Posts: 13989

Location: Nehawka, NE

« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2013, 09:33:05 AM »

>The reason this supposedly works is the laying worker (s) are too big to fly that well so they can not make it back to the hive.

This is simply not true.  The only reason that it SOMETIMES works is because of the total confusion that it causes.

A queen cell would be the simplest solution, but open brood is always helpful.  Once will improve queen acceptance significantly.  Once a week for three weeks will fix the problem completely and they will raise their own queen, or at that point you can introduce a queen.

Michael Bush
My website:
My book:
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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