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Author Topic: Laying worker curse  (Read 829 times)
fcderosa
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Location: Elizabethtown, Kentucky


« on: May 17, 2006, 09:17:06 AM »

I put in a couple hives of carnolians last year with four frame NUCs.  One hive thrives while the other I’ve had nothing but problems with.  The queen disappeared and a laying worker emerged.  After a long battle I got a queen established in enough time to survive the winter.  I checked the hive in early spring during a warm snap and it looked fine.  Checked it this spring, couldn’t find a queen, lots of drone cell, and more than one egg in some cells.  Also allot fewer bees then when I checked earlier while its sister hive had already started its build up.  I called the state inspector and got inspected – he couldn’t find her and suspected the same thing, He recommended combining hives or pull a couple brood frames from the existing hive and attempt to requeen as Kelly Bees is twenty minutes from the house.  I ordered a queen and the lousy weather hit again, 50’s and rain all day – for 3 days.  He said to let the frame w/bees to go queenless for a couple days and then introduce the new queen.  Well I ordered her and then the weather turned ugly.  I ended up taking the hive down piece-by-piece, walking about 100 yards and brushing all the existing bees off into the woods in an attempt to rid myself of the laying worker.  I did notice that due to the rain and temp (53 degrees) the procedure ended up being much easier than last time (0 stings).  I put in three frames of brood w/bees from the good hive and intend to introduce the new queen today.  I had to get a Russian queen as trying to get a Carnolian queen here this time of year is like next to impossible.  I hope this resolves the problem. This is the second problem with this hive and laying workers in less than a year.  What keeps happening to the queen and why won’t they make their own?

On a side question, I did see evidence of skunk early this year; which was quickly resolved with #2 steel traps.  How much damage can a skunk do to a hive?  It couldn’t have gotten the queen could it?
 huh
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The good life is honey on a Ritz.
Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2006, 09:06:07 PM »

From their perspective they have a LOT of queens (a lot of laying workers actually).  It takes several times of putting a frame of brood in to snap them out of their course of self destruction.  The pheromones from the open brood will finally kick in to supress the laying workers and then they will rasie a queen.  In my experience this usually takes about three times a week apart of giving them some open brood.  They will let you know if it worked by raising a queen.  Tyring to requeen them is usually a waste of money and time.  The easiest solution is just move all the equipment, shake off all the bees and put the boxes and frames on your other hives.  The laying worker hive bees will move into the other queenright hives who will take care of the laying workers.  Then you can do a split and get a good hive again.
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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
fcderosa
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Location: Elizabethtown, Kentucky


« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2006, 11:29:27 AM »

Thanks Michael,
   If it doesn't work this time that's exactly what I'm going to do. Smiley
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The good life is honey on a Ritz.
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