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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Grafton, NY, USA
    Posts
    190

    Default Questions regarding a laying worker hive

    I have read that if you have a laying worker in your hive you will see alot of drone brood being raised in the worker cells and double/multiple eggs in cells.

    Will the majority of the cells have double eggs? Or will only an occasional cell have more than one egg in it?

    I have not found the queen in this hive which I thought was queenless because the queens that I introduced died prior to being released and the one donor queen was found dead outside the hive shortly after introducing her....but I also have been told that sometimes packages will come with an overlooked queen already in the package...Plus I have not gotten down into the bottom deep brood box yet either...only the 2 mediums above it.

    This hive also seems a bit hot, but the donor queen and associates were a Russian/feral cross,which are known to be a bit more testy.

    Unfortunately, I originally was not good at seeing the eggs, but after taking an apprentice beekeeping workshop this weekend, I have a better idea of what I am looking for, and can see eggs as well as larvae in this hive now... but, occasionally I see 2 eggs in a cell which makes me wonder if I could have a laying worker. I do not see a large amount of drone cells at this point and 2 eggs in a cell were not noted as being predominant.

    So... should I be concerned about a laying worker ...or just wait it out and see how it goes for a little longer...and only be concerned if I start seeing more drones being raised and still can't locate the queen?

    Unfortunately, I have not yet found the queen in this hive , which is why I am confused as to what course of action I should be taking at this point in time. But, this hive seems stronger than the one next to it which I had to steal the queen from my weak overwintered hive to fill in until I can get a replacement queen. I even put some undrawn frames on this hive as it seemed strong enough to warrant adding them.

    I also have a strong hive that overwintered that I am hoping will not swarm on me, but I do not want to split it too soon either. I reversed the boxes and added space above in the supers, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

    I'd love to rear some queens from that hive! It wintered well and is extremely strong.

    So I may soon have some options regarding new queen possibilities (either ordering some as they should be available now as well as attempting to raise some from my strong hive.)

    Anyway, just thought I'd ask and see what info I could find out regarding laying workers.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,557

    Default

    So you have drone brood, but it sounds like you've got worker brood also? If so, only a queen can lay fertile eggs which become worker brood. Sometimes a freshly mated queen will lay some drone eggs as well as double eggs in a cell here and there. It's like she's learning as she goes. If it is a laying worker hive, then you'll have more than one worker laying.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tulare County, CA USA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default

    Also look for eggs in funny positions like halfway up and on the side of the cell and eggs laid on top of pollen stores,etc. = laying workers.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Grafton, NY, USA
    Posts
    190

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    So you have drone brood, but it sounds like you've got worker brood also? If so, only a queen can lay fertile eggs which become worker brood. Sometimes a freshly mated queen will lay some drone eggs as well as double eggs in a cell here and there. It's like she's learning as she goes. If it is a laying worker hive, then you'll have more than one worker laying.
    Ray,

    Hi! Yes, so far that is what it looks like using my limited knowlege. There are some capped drone cells, but not really in the middle of the brood area. It is off too the side and bottom where it has been noted. There is also brood that is uncapped too though, so not sure what it will look like after they cap it (worker vs. drone). I also noted what appeared to possibly be a swarm cell cup at the bottom of one of the frames. But I did not remove it in case they needed it (as I still have yet to see the queen if she really is there.)

    Maybe if the weather holds I can look into that bottom deep on Saturday and see if I can find her hiding out there...although with my luck if I start searching in that one, if she is actually in there, she'll be in one of the top boxes.... I need to keep it fun, right!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Grafton, NY, USA
    Posts
    190

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cow pollinater View Post
    Also look for eggs in funny positions like halfway up and on the side of the cell and eggs laid on top of pollen stores,etc. = laying workers.
    Ok, I'll look and try to note if I see any that are in funny positions, sides of the cells, etc.... but I'm not sure I would be able to see if it was laid on a pollen store!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,557

    Default

    Yes, keep it fun! When it doubt, don't do anything. Sounds like you may have a new queen getting started.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,329

    Default

    Laying workers don't lay two eggs per cell, they lay 5, 10, 15 scattered all over the cell. Double eggs sounds more like a young queen finding her way...

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