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Author Topic: Multiple eggs in cells, but queen is present  (Read 4081 times)
kate
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« on: April 10, 2006, 06:20:36 PM »

General info tells me that multiple eggs per cell is a sign of a laying worker, but my queen is definitely present. I've seen her. The eggs are at the bottom of the cells, contrary to what I've read about laying workers. There is also capped brood and larvae, but not very much of either.

It's early April, and I expected to see more brood present, but the colony struggled through the winter and she may just be getting a slow start. I've tried to supplement the small population of this hive with a frame of brood, honey and pollen from another, stronger hive.  The colony seems stronger, but these multiple eggs are perplexing.

Is the queen simply not up to the task? Should I replace her at the earliest opportunity?

I'd appreciate any input.
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Kate in WNC
mat
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2006, 07:07:38 PM »

I think you need to replace the queen as soon as possible. Where are you located?
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mat
manowar422
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2006, 08:00:29 PM »

Hi Kate,
Please put your location in your profile and try to tell the history of
this queen, i.e. has she been laying up to this point in your season?
How many hives do you have? Any nucs you could re-queen with?
Could you do a split and raise a queen? The more historical/background info you provide with your questions, the more loaded your responses
will tend to be.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2006, 08:32:02 PM »

Sometimes when they first start the queen will lay a few doubles and maybe an occasional triple.  But not more than that.  Laying workers will have cells so full of eggs you think it's crystlized honey at first.  Five, six or more in every cell.
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Michael Bush
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kate
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2006, 08:34:21 PM »

OK - sorry, first time on the forum. Not really sure of protocol. I'm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. and darned happy to be here. My bees are beautiful, Italian girls.

I'm a fairly new beekeeper - 3 springs, but have been attending bee school each January.

I have just two hives currently. I lost one this winter, a Kona queen that never seemed able to establish herself properly, but laid some of the prettiest, most even brood I've ever seen.

My questionable lady - she's a swarm queen from summer of 2004, and was fairly robust last summer, but  the colony barely made it through the winter. Currenty, just two softball sized patches of brood. Other hive is going gangbusters, with 6 solid frames of brood (plus the one I co-opted for the weak hive) and a shallow super full of uncapped honey already gathered.

My thought is to use the brood from my prolific queen to keep the weak hive stable, since there is queen right, until I can procure a replacement queen - which probably won't be available in our area until May.

But my other curiosity is... would a worker begin laying with a queen in place? Could my queen be laying multiple eggs? And, if so, what would be the reason?

Thoughts? Anything else that might help here?

Thanks again!
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Kate in WNC
Apis629
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2006, 09:33:00 PM »

The queen pharamone inhibits worker overy development and therefor, with a queen in attendance, there won't be any laying workers.  Depending upon the age of this queen, she may have exhaused her sperm stored from mating flights and become a drone-layer.  I've inspected a drone layer colony before and there were multiple eggs in each cell 3-8 all placed in the botttom.
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Dick Allen
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2006, 12:01:44 AM »

>But my other curiosity is... would a worker begin laying with a queen in place? Could my queen be laying multiple eggs? And, if so, what would be the reason?

My opinion is that you have a proficient queen that is ready to begin work but there's just not enough young nurse bees yet to keep up.  As Michael wrote queens do sometimes lay extra eggs when they are starting out in the season. Personally, I wouldn't be so quick to dispatch her.  While it is not always a good idea to rob brood from a strong hive simply to give to a weak hive, I think in this case it might not be a bad idea to add a frame  or two of brood and see how it turns out.
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Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2006, 01:36:58 AM »

I have seen this kind of queens. Somethimes I have noticed that one of antennas is rigid. Maybe it got poison to antenna when I offered queen to bees.

Once I met a queen which made this. It had clump of eggs hanging on the tip of abdomen. It coud not control how eggs come out.

What ever it is, it is best to change.
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kate
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2006, 07:11:40 AM »

Thanks to all for your responses. To address Michael's observation - yes, there are two, three eggs per cell at most, and, as I'd noted, they are way down at the bottom of the cell.

Assuming that they are the queen's offspring and are fertilized eggs, will these multiple eggs develop into bees? Can two larvae share a cell and survive, like fraternal twins?
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Kate in WNC
kate
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2006, 07:23:35 AM »

BTW - Forgot to mention that when I added the brood to my weak hive, I also brought along the nurse bees that were attending. I newspapered them onto the weak hive for 8 days before integrating the frame into the new hive. Between the imported nurse bees and the new hatchlings, there should be sufficient support for the queen to begin laying in earnest, no?
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Kate in WNC
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2006, 07:56:13 AM »

It is not that uncommon for a queen to lay mulyiple eggs per cell when she first starts to lay.  I find it most often in newly mated queens, but on ocassion have seen it in over wintered queens.  Give her a couple of weeks and she will most likely straighten out.  I would look at replacing her down the road though. Not because of the multiple eggs, but because of her age.  I wouldn't want to risk going thru another winter with her.

The nurse bees will remove the excess from the cells, only leaving one to grow to maturity.

2-3 eggs in the bottom of the cell is from yhe queen.  Laying workers will have the eggs stuck all over the sides of the cells and cells will be all over. No consistency.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2006, 08:00:06 AM »

>But my other curiosity is... would a worker begin laying with a queen in place?

According to the research I've seen there are always a few laying workers.  When there is a queen, there just aren't very many and they don't lay much.  If the eggs are in the bottom I'd say they are from the queen.  Most of the eggs will be from the queen.

> Could my queen be laying multiple eggs?

Yes.

> And, if so, what would be the reason?

As I said, when a queen first starts to lay again in the spring she sometimes does this.  Finsky is saying some queens continue to do this.  I agree if she continues to do so for more than a week or two I'd be planning on replacing her.

>Can two larvae share a cell and survive, like fraternal twins?

No.  They will both hatch.  The bees will start feeding them.  But eventually the bees will remove one of them.

>I newspapered them onto the weak hive for 8 days before integrating the frame into the new hive.

That must have been hard on the frame of nurse bees.  8 days?  I'd have blow some smoke in and added the frame, bees and all and then another puff of smoke to keep them confused.

> Between the imported nurse bees and the new hatchlings, there should be sufficient support for the queen to begin laying in earnest, no?

I don't know.  How big is the cluster now?
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Michael Bush
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mat
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2006, 08:16:53 AM »

This is very old queen, et least 3 years. Isn't it wasteing of time waiting a week or two? She needs to be replaced.
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mat
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2006, 08:35:08 AM »

Quote from: mat
This is very old queen, et least 3 years. Isn't it wasteing of time waiting a week or two? She needs to be replaced.


Finding a queen this time of year isn't the easiest thing.  My bet is she wouldn't be able to get one within a couple of weeks, by which time this queen will have straightened out.  If she is laying, I would wait  to replace her with a summer or fall queen, which tend to be better queens anyway.
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Finsky
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« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2006, 09:44:38 AM »

Now is spring and queen born last summer. It is not new queen like just mated.
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2006, 08:13:11 AM »

Kate, if in fact you have been attending BEE SCHOOL for three seasons, YOU sholuld be an expert by current standards.

As YOU can see, if you look, most posters on these boards ARE neewbs, including this writer and after THREE seasons YOU should be the one that is the declared expert on all matters big and small concerning BEES and their keeping  smiley

I have one year of beekeeping experience personally.  I got a few years, actually quite a few, in all other matters though.  wink  Beekeeping really ain't no biggie.  

I must give credit and thanks to M. Bush and the man that comes in from the cold, Finsky, for their helpful tips and advice.  

As far as the rest, well they be like me, they be trying. Tongue
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Dick Allen
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« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2006, 11:56:42 PM »

>....if you look, most posters on these boards ARE neewbs....

So, Jack how do you know that   smiley  wink

I, personally have been around bees for quite a number of years and someday I hope to become a beeKEEPER.  Tongue
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2006, 07:26:39 AM »

the list of registered people. Then follow the post.  Newbs come out and post at first. Then new newbs come out and post and... Old newbs never die, they just fade away... Sad  or,  become addled  huh

Three years experience beekeeping  IS  an expert by far IMO.  cheesy
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TwT
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« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2006, 07:56:36 AM »

Quote from: Jack Parr
I must give credit and thanks to M. Bush and the man that comes in from the cold, Finsky, for their helpful tips and advice.  

As far as the rest, well they be like me, they be trying. Tongue



can't leave out Robo and Golfy..... they seam they have some bee sense too!!!!   Tongue   wink  and a few more old Pro's in this forum!!!
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THAT's ME TO THE LEFT JUST 5 YEARS FROM NOW!!!!!!!!

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« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2006, 11:14:42 AM »

Quote from: Jack Parr

Three years experience beekeeping  IS  an expert by far IMO.  cheesy


I'm not sure I'd agree with that.  I'm in MY third year of beekeeping . . .

-- Kris
(getting newbier each passing day)   Smiley
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2006, 12:41:44 PM »

One of the most interesting parts of keeping bees, and actually, the thing that makes keeping them possible, is that they do the same things, most of the time.  So you can get some general "rules" that work most of the time.  Then, you see something new that doesn't fit the rules.  You have to put on the thinking cap, and try to salvage the situation.  Remember, don't work against your bees.  Observe their strengths and make them work for you.  You got bees that make lots of wax... make comb honey.  New swarms... draw foundations,  boomers.. raise a few queens.  Learn your flows, and maximize your harvest (and make increase) with a few cutdowns.  Just be careful.  Beekeeping is addicting, and 3 colonys quickly become 30.
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Virginia Beekeeper
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« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2006, 08:09:19 PM »

I also live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Va. I have been bee keeping over 40 yrs. and I still don't consider myself to be an expert, there is always more to learn, thats the fun of bee keeping.
   A queen that is laying 2-3 eggs can also be a sign of a failing queen. Your bees should be much farther along in there brood rearing this time of year. I started years ago practicing what I call preventive bee keeping, by that I mean trying to stop things before they have a chance to happen. Bee keeping is one place this practice pay off. I don,t thank your queen will get any better,my simple rule is when in dought take her out! There are queens available this time of year try Walter T. Kelly. I am sorry to confuse you even more, but use your common sense your first hunch is most often the correct one.
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