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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Racine, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    113

    Question Newbe with laying workers needs HELP!

    Just came in from shaking my third package of bees and doing my day 10 check after queen release on the two hive I started 2 weeks ago.
    C2 looks great! Lots of comb drawn out cells filled with pollen bees on every frame and there are single eggs in cells as well as some capped brood. I think it's to early to tell if it's a good pattern. Even found the Queen doing her thing
    That was the good news. C1 is another story all together. Only had bees on 4 of 10 frames, couldn't locate the Queen...then I saw what was happening there was a laying worker I moved some bees out of the way and could see eggs_2 per cell, then I watched 3 other workers on another frame backing into cells Kind of felt like someone slapped me! I put the hive back together and went and shook the package into their new home.
    Question: Should I do a newspaper combine with the hive of laying workers and one of the other hives? If so which one, the one with the laying Queen or the new package
    "Can't never did do nothin'" Grandma Heltsley

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North Bend, WA
    Posts
    504

    Default

    I don't think 10 days is enough time to get a laying worker. I could be wrong, someone else will chime in. Two eggs per cell could just be your new queen. If they're in the middle of the cells and not on the sides you're ok.
    Last edited by iwombat; 05-04-2009 at 09:43 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Aledo, TX
    Posts
    48

    Default

    very good laying worker information from Michael Bush:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm

    good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Racine, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    113

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    Quote Originally Posted by TXbeekeeper View Post
    very good laying worker information from Michael Bush:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm

    good luck.
    Thanks for the link that is the same information I got from other sources.

    I'm going to take another look in the hive tomorrow with a mentor...may end up shaking em out

    Guess this is all part of keeping bees! I ain't done with'em yet!
    "Can't never did do nothin'" Grandma Heltsley

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    Sometimes shaking them out is the right thing to do, but.... In my opinion it is the last thing to do, not one of the first.

    First off I agree with others that 10 days is too soon for workers to start laying, but it is possible the hive they were shaken from at the supplier was already queenless, so the laying worker syndrome could have gotten a head start.

    Second thing I would do is give them a bit more time. I also agree the new queen might just be having some difficulty getting started. I'd give them to at least the 3 week mark. I would inspect every 5-7 days to try to find the queen or evidence to rule out laying workers. The cappings will give you a clue. Are they all bullets indicating all drones, or are some more normal looking?

    Third, if you finally come to the conclusion that laying workers really are the problem, then shake them out and start over. I think if you make a couple friendly calls to the supplier and tell him what is happening and THEN ask for at least a new queen they'll send one out to you.

    You said this was your 3rd package shaken today, and you started 2 hives a week ago. So you have 4 others to work with. Take one frame from each of the other 4. Give them the best one of each. Try to minimize too much open brood. Sealed brood will help the new split the most. If you get a new queen from the supplier and can give them 4 frames + bees from the others in a new nuc (plus a frame feeder for the 5th spot) you've got a good chance at success.

    I'd spray all the bees with scented sugar syrup so they don't fight. Also, I'd move them to an outyard if you can. Even if it is just to a friends house for 3-5 days, it will help minimize drift losses.

    Good luck. Laying workers is a difficult problem to solve once it starts. In this case it wasn't your fault, but it is still a good learning experience. Next time you'll know what you are looking at right away and it is easier to fix the earlier you figure it out.

    There are other options once you have brood to work with too, so if it happens again, write in again and you'll get advice on that too.
    Troy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Racine, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    113

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    Sometimes shaking them out is the right thing to do, but.... In my opinion it is the last thing to do, not one of the first.

    First off I agree with others that 10 days is too soon for workers to start laying, but it is possible the hive they were shaken from at the supplier was already queenless, so the laying worker syndrome could have gotten a head start.

    Second thing I would do is give them a bit more time. I also agree the new queen might just be having some difficulty getting started. I'd give them to at least the 3 week mark. I would inspect every 5-7 days to try to find the queen or evidence to rule out laying workers. The cappings will give you a clue. Are they all bullets indicating all drones, or are some more normal looking?

    Third, if you finally come to the conclusion that laying workers really are the problem, then shake them out and start over. I think if you make a couple friendly calls to the supplier and tell him what is happening and THEN ask for at least a new queen they'll send one out to you.

    You said this was your 3rd package shaken today, and you started 2 hives a week ago. So you have 4 others to work with. Take one frame from each of the other 4. Give them the best one of each. Try to minimize too much open brood. Sealed brood will help the new split the most. If you get a new queen from the supplier and can give them 4 frames + bees from the others in a new nuc (plus a frame feeder for the 5th spot) you've got a good chance at success.

    I'd spray all the bees with scented sugar syrup so they don't fight. Also, I'd move them to an outyard if you can. Even if it is just to a friends house for 3-5 days, it will help minimize drift losses.

    Good luck. Laying workers is a difficult problem to solve once it starts. In this case it wasn't your fault, but it is still a good learning experience. Next time you'll know what you are looking at right away and it is easier to fix the earlier you figure it out.

    There are other options once you have brood to work with too, so if it happens again, write in again and you'll get advice on that too.
    Only 3 hives total.
    "Can't never did do nothin'" Grandma Heltsley

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,699

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    Ask yourself two questions first:
    1. are you in bees to break even or make money, honey production
    2. are you in bees as a hobby and cost is no object. Make money or not it is just plain fun.
    if your answer is #2 then give it three weeks
    However if your answer is #1 then change your tactics to...

    Give it a little more time yes, but not three weeks. I agree that have your mentor with you to help you decide. Having a seasoned mentor there will speed up the decion.
    If you decide it is a laying worker, shake the bees on the ground. Shake each frame in a different spot within a few inches of the other frame. If you have a queen they will march to her like when Noah filled his Arc. Then gentley find the queen and gentley put her in the hive, the rest will follow. If it is a laying worker, let the bees fly to your other packages, shoring up the hives. Buy yourself a queen if you want to make a split a bit later.

    Always look at the end result.
    The end result for packages is...will they be strong enough to weather the winter where i live.
    The end result of a nuc is...will they be strong enough to give me a bit of honey and winter well where i live
    The end result for a hive should be, will I get an average to above average honey crop depending on weather, and will they go into winter strong enough to make it to spring.
    Just like cows, what you do now affects the end result when you open the hive in the spring. For cows however, what we do now, affects them 18 months down the road.
    Will they have the time to build to go into winter strong and healthy? It takes three weeks for brood to hatch. If you wait three weeks, that will set you back a total of 6 weeks before brood hatches . Taking a frame of bees from 10 day old packages will set those hives back at a crutial time for them to build. Ultimaley you end up losing good ground to build theses hives up for winter. Then your spring post will be....my hives died and i do not know why. The immediate goal is to get strong hives from your packages. Do not pull frames from them to see what your "weak" package will do with it. It will only set them all back.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,212

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    Double eggs would not prove laying workers. New queens often lay doubles and once in a great while triples. Laying workers lay five or more in a cell, especially drone cells. Also, what open larvae you find are scattered as the bees really don't want to raise them. The laying workers also lay on top of pollen (I've seen a queen do it once, but not often).

    A frame of open brood a week for three weeks almost always sets things right.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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