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  1. #1
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    Question Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    (This is a repeat of a thread I just started in the bee-forum - since it is related to queen cells, I thought it woul be appropriate to post it here as well...)

    I am trying to help out a fellow beek who has probably developed laying workers (just developing now - sounds like something happened to the queen about three weeks ago).

    I have some queen cells on the way and will end up with more cells than I plan on mating.

    The backup plan will be to raise a new nuc to replace the entire hive in April, but in the meantime, I am wondering if it is worth inserting a queen cell into this newly laying-worker hive.

    Does anyone know what happens when a queen cell is inserted into a hive with laying workers?

    Will the laying worker(s) kill the queen cell before emergence just as a newly-emerged virgin queen would?

    Will the queen cell be allowed to emerge and the new virgin queen killed by the laying worker(s) shortly thereafter?

    Is there any chance that the queen cell will be allowed to emerge and the virgin queen will be allowed to mate?

    Is there any reason not to give this a try?

    thanks,

    -fafrd

    p.s. this is the only hive in her apiary and there are no nearby hives to steal frames of open/capped brood from...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    It is one of those iffy doings

    It will some time works and some times not if you have extra q cell it is worth a try it has worked several times for me

    feed them also

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    Thanks Velbert.

    I just (today) grafted 20 cells using my Nicot Cage and I only have enough mating nucs for 10 cells, so I am likely to have a few extra cells a little over a week from now...

    If it has even a chance to work, I think I should give it a try. On the other hand, a post on the same thread I started on the Bee Forum suggested that the chances of the virgin being accepted will be better if the LW hive is shaken out before the queen cell is inserted. Do you agree or are the chances of success about the same whether the LW hive is shaken out or left alone?


    -fafrd

    p.s. this is for an elderly female beekeeper in a relatively urban setting, so I am not sure she will be able to manage shaking out the hive by herself nor whether it is something she will be able to do in her surroundings. For these reasons, I only want to advise her to shake out the hive if that is really going to significantly increase the chances of the queen cell being accepted...

  4. #4
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    Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    I posted a response on the Bee Forum version of this thread, but figured I should try this one as well... shaking them onto the ground away from the hive just before daylight while setting up the hive in the same place with a caged queen will yield the best results overall... there are a few other methods listed on my site that may help as well... wouldn't worry about the urban issue when shaking them out, the foragers will return to the hive, find a mated mother, and revert to the necessary jobs to make the hive work again... the others will drift around a bit, most will find their way back to the hive soon enough, but by the time they do, the new queen will already be accepted.
    russellapiaries.webs.com/apps/forums/topics/show/4380935-queenless-hive

  5. #5
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    Cross County, Arkansas, USA
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    fafrd, is there any way to put some frames with uncapped brood in this hive?
    If there is you can put 1 frame per week for three week, by that time they normally get rid of the laying workers and start making there own queens from the last frame of brood.

  6. #6
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    Heavener Oklahoma
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    I have seen laying worker hives construct queen cells and feed them only to tare them down I think they can tell they are not queens

    I have used the nicot to raise queens
    I also have found in early spring when the queen likes to lay drone brood they will do it it in the nicot system

    If you were check the cell diamenter it is bigger than a worker cell but smaller than a drone cell

    One Spring about the 20th March the queen laid in several of the cell cups I put them on 2 cell bars of about 16 each the started about 90%
    Before they were sealed had maybe a little better than Half of them sealed they were very nice large cells

    Made my nuc up a couple of days before the hatch date and when I went to put in the q-cells the next morning they were all torn up

    Had more coming off they were doing them the same way so i examined one of them It was a drone pupa so i ck a few more same thing and they ended taring them down. boy was that a set back they did it to 3 grafts before i figured it out

    the cells were bigger than a worker but smaller than a drone so she went ahead and laid drone eggs

    what i did was found a pop straw that fit just right into the cell and cut me 110 sleeves to fit (cut shot enough they are just about flush with the top of cell) into them and it works every graft, no more drone eggs laid in the system

    So if they happen to real large q cells and they start tearing them down 2-3 here and there check one tear it open and see before you make up your nuc to put them in.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    If its just starting, I'd get a frame of eggs in there right away. Try to change their mind.
    3 weeks, could be a new queen learning how to lay.
    Dan

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    Velbert,

    thanks for this heads-up - I will definetly keep this in mind!

    It's my third time using the Nicot Cage and I have never had this issue before, but I have never used it this early in the season before and the most recent brood in the hive before I caged the queen has been half drone...

    I've salvaged 5 swarm cells from another beekeepers hive that just swarmed, so I should have some new queens for my mating nucs in any case, but I will watch to see how the Nicot graft progresses and your 'straw sleeve' idea seems like a very good improvement for next time...

    -fafrd

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    Quote Originally Posted by KQ6AR View Post
    If its just starting, I'd get a frame of eggs in there right away. Try to change their mind.
    3 weeks, could be a new queen learning how to lay.
    KQ6AR (and basser59),

    frames of brood is unfortunately not an option - she does not have any other hives and she does not know any nearby beekeepers who can help her. The easy thing to try is inserting a queen cell, and since I have extras, it is basically a free try to save the hive.

    -fafrd

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post

    shaking them onto the ground away from the hive just before daylight while setting up the hive in the same place with a caged queen will yield the best results overall...
    Don't have a spare queen for her right now - will it help them to accept a queen cell as well?


    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post

    wouldn't worry about the urban issue when shaking them out, the foragers will return to the hive, find a mated mother, and revert to the necessary jobs to make the hive work again... the others will drift around a bit, most will find their way back to the hive soon enough, but by the time they do, the new queen will already be accepted.
    My concern was not that the bees would not make their way back, but that she may not have any place 100 yards away from her very small backyard except the middle of the street to shake them out in (which may not make her and/or her urban neighbors comfortable...).


    -fafrd

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    Quote Originally Posted by fafrd View Post
    (This is a repeat of a thread I just started in the bee-forum - since it is related to queen cells, I thought it woul be appropriate to post it here as well...)
    Well then I'll repost here... I get plenty of LW in my mating nucs, especially if the virgin fails twice. I always give them a cell anyway, and often it is accepted without adding brood.

    There was an article in the back of ABJ a few years ago...actually a summary of papers published. They compared LW in Italians and Russians and the % of each to accept cell. Wanted to know if Russian LWs would more readily accept cell. Both were about 75%

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    I was thinking you might think of using some type of cell protector for the cell to keep them from tearing it down.

  13. #13
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    Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    MP,
    We see that too in early springs where the cells get chilled at times...(like the freeze followed by nearly a week of rain in the 40s we just had... ugh...)
    I think in this case he only has one set of cells, all due to hatch at the same time, and no brood to play with... so if there are no mated queens to install after shaking all of the bees out, I would at least go with a virgin queen installed in a cage... also may try a pseudo queen... if there are no virgins... its worth a shot... if you need one, just pm me a mailing address and I will drop one in an envelope for you...

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    try a pseudo queen

    R,
    Mind telling us what a pseudo queen is?
    Old Guy in Alabama

  15. #15
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    Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    Sorry. It's a brand of qmp (queen mandibular pheromone) delivery system that is produced by a Canadian company named Contech... it is sold by Mann lake as "bee boost" (I think)...

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post
    MP, I think in this case he only has one set of cells, all due to hatch at the same time, and no brood to play with...
    Bob, I only add cells and get acceptance in many...not all. Often I see these LW mating nucs trying to raise a cell, but of course only have unfertilized eggs. So, adding a cell is imitating what many of them do anyway. LWs are a pain to deal with, and I usually don't in production colonies. With mating nucs, I have the cells and it's no big deal. I also have frames of brood from strong mating nucs that need to be knocked down a bit. So we usually give them a couple MN frames of brood and a cell.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    I often put one in a laying worker mating nuc (as MP says) and they often accept her. Sometimes they don't. A frame of open brood at the same time seems to help a lot. A frame of brood every week for three weeks is almost guaranteed to work with or without the queen cell...

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

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    Thanks all (and also for the patience with my double post).

    I'm gonna try the queen cell because it is all I have easily at the moment, and it is relatively 'free' since I have more than I can use. At 75% chance of success (or even 25%), I think it's definetly worth a try.

    In response to little55's suggestion, am I better off installing the queen cell in the open (pressed into the side of a comb) or protected by one of my Ncot-system hair roller cages?

    -fafrd

    p.s. I appreciate everyone advice on my question and when the dust has cleared on this, I will post the outcome

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    Quick question for MP and MB (who seem to have the most experience with LW nucs and queen cells):

    Would you install the queen cell protected in a hairroller cage or uprotected and 'out in the open'??

    thanks,

    -fafrd

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Queen cells and laying worker hives???

    Do the hair roller cell protectors allow the virgin to emerge into the nuc, or is it a cage from which she must be released? I'm nof familiar with them...I thought hair rollers were for rolling hair. I would say no if you have to release her by hand.

    I have used regular cell protectors but don't anymore. I have good acceptance without them. I do use them when requeening a queen right colony with a cell, so it might help you a little with acceptance.

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