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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    East Falmouth, MA USA
    Posts
    62

    Question

    Hi to all...I have a weak hive with a laying worker, (multiple eggs in the cells). I would like to install a nuc into this hive but I am unsure what to do about the laying worker. What is the best way to proceed?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    I have succeeded by just putting the nuc over a double screen board for a few days and then doing a newspaper combine and doing nothing about the laying workers. But anytime laying workers are involved it's a gamble to try to do anything at all.

    It's usually easier to shake the whole hive out on the ground in front of the other hives and give all the comb to the other hives and remove all of the rest of the equipment to another location so they don't try to move back in. If you wanted, I suppose you could do a variation of it. Put the nuc in a larger box at the old location and shake all the bees off a few hundred yards or more away and let them return to the nuc.

    Usually it's more work than it's worth to mess with them other than shaking them out and letting them drift to the other hives.

    Are you sure you have a laying worker? Some people assume that because they find a double egg in a cell. Queens sometimes lay a double egg, but they will be on the bottom and not on the side of the cell. Usually if you have a serious laying worker problem it's obvious from the four and five eggs in a cell and all the drone capped worker sized cells.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    East Falmouth, MA USA
    Posts
    62

    Post

    * Are you sure you have a laying worker? That a good question...I believe I do since I can see two or three eggs per cell off to one side and not where they usually are. I have done the shake method before with poor results but I generally only go 100 ft. or so to shake out the frames. I just want to be sure that installing the nuc in the same spot is okay. I assume that putting the nuc in with the laying worker is not a good choice. I thought the laying worker might stop laying when a real queen was present. Okay then, shake and bake it is. Thanks Mike...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    I usually just shake them out on the ground and give all their frames to other hives. That way they just disperse into the other hives that won't tolerate the laying workers.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    East Falmouth, MA USA
    Posts
    62

    Post

    Thanks Mike...So...can laying workers fly? An old timer in our bee club said that the reason shaking is supposed to be effective is that laying workers can't fly. Fact or Fiction.
    Thanks Mike...your the man

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    I think it's fiction from my experience that they can't fly but one that is commonly belived. I also think it's fiction that they can't find their way home and that is another that is commonly believed. But shaking them out does seem to demoralized the bees and even shaking them out and then requeening SOMETIMES works when just requeening almost always fails. I've only succeeded by either shaking them out or doing the combine with the nuc I described above without shaking them out. But anytime laying workers are involved it's an iffy, time consuming prospect to requeen that may well cost you a queen or two. It's easier to shake them out and remove their hive altegether and wait a week or two and do a split.

    The laying workers will find their way back to some hive, but they won't be treated as a queen and the queen pheromone will either supress their ovaries again, or they will be killed as a usurper.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,368

    Post

    I believe laying workers have been observed foraging in between egg-laying.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Charleston, WV
    Posts
    172

    Post

    I saw a thing in ABJ within the last 3 months or so where the author marked with paint (much like a marked queen) several laying workers in a hive. He did the shake method some distance from the hive and within minutes he noticed the marked workers were back in the original hive laying again...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    East Falmouth, MA USA
    Posts
    62

    Post

    Wow...Some old stories just keep going around and round. That explains my inconsistent results with the shake method. I will follow Mike's advice and break the hive down. Thanks all,

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

    Post

    All the females have ovaries. Pheremones from the queen (and possibly worker brood) normally keep them from developing in workers. When the queen is lost, the ovaries develop in many of the workers that are, in the end, still workers. They just begin laying eggs all over the place between their other duties. Mark Winston writes that sometimes a laying worker will come to be regarded as a false queen. "...false queens have slightly swollen abdomens and seem to inhibit ovarian development and oviposition of other workers, probably because of andibular gland substances identical to those produced by real queens."

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    >Wow...Some old stories just keep going around and round. That explains my inconsistent results with the shake method.

    Partly the old stories survive because they sometimes work, even if the model isn't true. Shaking them out demoralizes them enough to get them to sometimes accept a queen. So the end result is sometimes is what you are trying to get even if the model for explaining it isn't correct.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Grifton, NC
    Posts
    1,302

    Post

    I had laying workers in each of the past two seasons. The first time, I combined them with another hive(newspaper)and they did OK. The next time, I shook the bees off about 100 yards away and requeened. What excactly happened by doing that I don't know, but the colony did OK.
    Banjos and bees... how sweet it is!

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