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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    North Bend, OH, USA
    Posts
    272

    Default Laying Worker(s) And Requeening The Colony

    So I opened up one of my hives and found laying workers. My first year and I have spent a great deal of time with the bees including swarms and cut-outs but this is my first experience with a laying worker.

    Bah.

    I have two cut outs planned for next week and was wondering if I could simply run a sheet of newspaper on top of the colony with the laying workers and place a box with the cutout hive on top and let them do their thing naturally.

    I have already done this with a queenless hive and it worked great.

    Will it work the same way with workers that are laying? Will they self correct or do I need to do something more severe?

    I have heard of dumping out the house bees a ways off and then letting the foragers back and repopulate (then I'd place the cut-out colony on top and not worry about getting a laying queen).

    Thoughts?
    Richard
    Carriage House Farm, North Bend, Ohio

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Willington, CT USA
    Posts
    414

    Default

    This must be the year of the laying worker - lots of posts on this topic.

    From what I hear and read, the laying worker will kill the queen if you try to introduce one. That is why you hear so much about "dumping" the bees. One option is to find and remove the laying worker then requeen / combine. Another is to add a frame of egg and larvae and see if the hive will rear their own queen. I have not had this situation happen to me ( I thought this was a problem earlier but it turned out to be a bum queen - much easier to fix) so I would solicit a few other opinions.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,401

    Default

    I have a hive that was being difficult to get queenright. I had given them ripe queen cells, three successive times. At least one had emerged and a virgin queen was seen in the hive, but just before I installed their third queen cell, I noticed several patches of drone brood in worker cells and cells with up to a dozen eggs in each (work of laying workers), it had also dwindled down to a single 8-frame super. But, joy-joy, this morning as I was checking hives and removing undesirable queens to replace with ripe queen cells, I discovered this particular hive was finally queenright and apparently with the last queen cell I'd given them. Evidence, to me, that laying worker colonies can be requeened by giving them a ripe queen cell.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Arlington, WA, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Laying worker

    I had this same problem. I bought a nuc that I thought was going to be another hive. Instead I took the laying worker colony dumped them all out across my yard then placed the nuc in the old colony in the original location of the hive. The bees from the laying worker hive then flew back and took up residence with the newly placed nuc. That was about 2 months ago and I still have the original queen from the nuc and a very productive hive.

    Good luck, let me know if you have any other questions.

    Matt

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Starkville,Ms,USA
    Posts
    516

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Benton2569 View Post
    This must be the year of the laying worker - lots of posts on this topic.
    I agree. American Bee Journal should do an issue with "2008: The Year of the Laying Worker" on the cover.

    One option is to find and remove the laying worker then requeen / combine. Another is to add a frame of egg and larvae and see if the hive will rear their own queen.
    I have never heard of anyone successfully finding and removing laying workers. First of all they are virtually indistinguishable from regular workers and secondly there are normally several of them.

    If you combine with newspaper in this situation you will likely trigger a fight.

    Depending upon how much effort you want to expend you could either A: add a frame of eggs/larvae per week and wait until they make a queen cell and then let them raise that queen or requeen with your own mail order queen at that point.

    Or B: Use the shakeout method.

    Most people would probably choose B as option A is much more time-consuming and frustrating.

  6. #6

    Default

    I'd try requeening. Perhaps do the combine but capture the queen and introduce her as normal, see if the bees accept her. Maybe utilizing this the bees will combine and laying workers will accept the queen.

    Just a suggestion, but it's better than losing your queen to laying workers.
    Try to learn something new every day and give thanks for all your blessings.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    310

    Default

    I second the suggestion for the Year of the Laying Worker article. I found one LWH in April, my first one. Full of drones, drones in worker cells all over the place, a real mess. I figured I would learn how to deal with it and started adding a frame of open brood each week. Five frames later and still no queen. I finally dumped them out yesterday. Once they were dumped out I went through my remaining hives and found a second one that had gone queenless and that had laying workers, no brood anywhere, but tons of drones emerging from all over the frames. That one hurt especially since I had given them a Purvis queen four weeks ago. I didn't want to dump another hive in my yard, so I went ahead and did a newspaper combine with a queenright hive that I had created from one of my strong hives. I keep my fingers crossed, I don't want to loose a good queen and another hive in the same process. Crazy year for sure...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,466

    Default

    Sometimes I get laying workers in my mating nucs. Did you ever see one lay an egg? Pretty hysterical. Poor little bee trying to get that abdomen down into the cell. She has trouble fitting her wings into the cell too, so they are usually outside the cell in distorted angles.

    Anyway, I just give them another cell. Today I was catching queens. Of the 6 mating nucs that had laying workers last time, 4 accepted the cell and raised a queen.

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