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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Springfield, MO. USA
    Posts
    284

    Default Laying worker destroy cells?

    I pulled a frame out of one of my big colonies that had 5 capped swarm cells on it with little to no other brood. I stuck it and a frame of honey/pollen in my queen castle. I waited around 12 +/- days to check on them. I found four cells chewed opened from the side. The remaining cell had not yet emerged. Upon closer inspection, I found one of the chewed cells had 5-6 eggs in the bottom.

    Is this a problem with a laying worker? Will a laying worker destroy queen cells? Since my parent hive hasn't swarmed (marked queen still present), and if the last queen cell isn't successful, can I return these bees back to the parent hive?

    I really didn't do this for increase. Just to control swarming of the parent hive and to safeguard against my parent hive being queenless if they did swarm. Thanks, for your advice.

    Thanks, John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Default Re: Laying worker destroy cells?

    Generally, a split without brood is not going to take, especially if left in the same yard. For the split to be successful, you needed to make sure you have some open and capped brood to hold the bees to. The pheromones must keep them in there. Then you would have needed to also shake enough bees in there to keep the swarm cells at 92 degrees F until they were fully incubated, and then emerged. Also, need enough bees to keep the brood warm, after all your field bees fly back to the parent colony.

    Not sure exactly what happened, maybe the cells died and the bees chewed them down, or maybe you somehow placed a virgin in there, but either way sounds like they aren't going to make it. You could give them some more time. I give splits about 3 weeks with a fully incubated cell before calling them out completely, but if you didn't start with some brood, they may be done. 12 days isn't long. Sometimes young queens lay multiple eggs, but still doesn't sound good.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Laying worker destroy cells?

    >I pulled a frame out of one of my big colonies that had 5 capped swarm cells on it with little to no other brood.

    As MichaelW said, it's hard to do a split with no brood to speak of.

    >I stuck it and a frame of honey/pollen in my queen castle. I waited around 12 +/- days to check on them. I found four cells chewed opened from the side. The remaining cell had not yet emerged. Upon closer inspection, I found one of the chewed cells had 5-6 eggs in the bottom.

    12 days of broodlessness could cause laying workers. It's not how many days they are without a queen, it's how many days they are without open brood.

    >Is this a problem with a laying worker?

    Probably.

    > Will a laying worker destroy queen cells?

    I have introduced queens to laying worker hives, but I also put a frame of brood in at the same time. Sometimes they destroy the cell and sometimes they don't.

    > Since my parent hive hasn't swarmed (marked queen still present), and if the last queen cell isn't successful, can I return these bees back to the parent hive?

    I would move the equipment and shake them out in front of the other hive on the ground. Let them join the hive as outsiders begging for a home with the guard bees to sort things out, instead of just putting them in.

    >I really didn't do this for increase. Just to control swarming of the parent hive and to safeguard against my parent hive being queenless if they did swarm. Thanks, for your advice.

    Next time find another frame with some brood and honey to go with the one with the queen cells and hardly any brood. It should work for getting a queen. I would expect to have to remove more than two frames from a hive, though, to stop swarming. I would expect to have to remove at least half.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Springfield, MO. USA
    Posts
    284

    Default Re: Laying worker destroy cells?

    Thanks, for your thoughts. I learned a new lesson!

    I actually removed 4 frames from the parent hive. Two of which had many swarm cells on them. I stuck one frame with swarm cells (no other brood) and a frame with honey/pollen in the side of my queen castle. I stuck the other frame with swarm cells (mixed with some brood) and a frame of honey/pollen in the next compartment. The frames on the side are the ones with the problem. However, the other compartment has all emerged and is showing more promising activity. Can I seal the entrance to the side compartment, pull out the divider, and combine the two compartments as is? Should I find the second compartment's new queen first? What will the laying worker/s think about this? Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate it!

    Thanks, John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Laying worker destroy cells?

    >Can I seal the entrance to the side compartment, pull out the divider, and combine the two compartments as is?

    Of course.

    > Should I find the second compartment's new queen first?

    That's up to you. Probably only one queen will survive.

    > What will the laying worker/s think about this?

    They will tend to kill the queen. A lot of smoke may help. I would move the entire setup, shake the laying workers out nearby and then combine the space and plug the entrance the laying worker part was using. Then they have to enter as outsiders.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Springfield, MO. USA
    Posts
    284

    Default Re: Laying worker destroy cells?

    Thanks, Michael. You're a real help! I'll do this tomorrow and keep you posted.

    Thanks, John

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