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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default laying workers coinciding with a delayed mated queen?

    I made 3 splits on a warm, beautiful day early April. We have had a couple of half days that were pretty decent since. Clearly, I rushed the season and as anyone in southeastern WI can tell you, it's been a miserable spring. I have a queenright hive and a split at my house, hoping to provide the necessary drones. The split raised queen cells and they emerged, so my worry about the awful weather began to fade. Presently, I began to look for eggs. Finding none, my weather worries resurfaced. Still finding none, I was sure the queens either killed each other, were unable to successfully mate, or befell some other misfortune. Today, (an overcast, drizzly affair in the upper 40's) I was going to check one last time and then combine, or give the split a comb with some eggs. Aha! I found eggs! Quite a few, actually. A couple cells had 2 eggs, a couple eggs were on the side of the cell wall, but most were singles and properly positioned. I have read that it is not uncommon for a new queen to do this. I did not see the queen on that frame, so i pulled another. My roller-coaster ride continued, for this frame had 3,4, even 5 eggs per cell, placed indiscriminately. I plan to just observe for awhile. In the meantime, any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,802

    Default Re: laying workers coinciding with a delayed mated queen?

    There are few solutions as universal in their application and their success than adding a frame of open brood every week for three weeks. It is a virtual panacea for ANY queen issues. It gives the bees the pheromones to suppress laying workers. It gives them more workers coming in during a period where there is no laying queen. It does not interfere if there is a virgin queen. It gives them the resources to rear a queen. It is virtually foolproof and does not require finding a queen or seeing eggs. If you have any issue with queenrightness, no brood, worried that there is no queen, this is the simple solution that requires no worrying, no waiting, no hoping. You just give them what they need to resolve the situation. If you have any doubts about the queenrightness of a hive, give them some open brood and sleep well. Repeat once a week for two more weeks if you still aren't sure or you suspect laying workers. By then things will be fine.

    If you are afraid of transferring the queen from the queenright hive, because you are not good at finding queens, then shake or brush all the bees off before you give it to them.

    If you are concerned about taking eggs from another new package or small colony, keep in mind that bees have little invested in eggs and the queen can lay far more eggs than a small colony can warm, feed and raise. Taking a frame of eggs from a small struggling new hive and swapping it for an empty comb or any drawn comb will have little impact on the donor colony and may save the recipient if they are indeed queenless. If the recipient didn't need a queen it will fill in the gap while the new queen gets mated and not interfere with things.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: laying workers coinciding with a delayed mated queen?

    Thanks Michael, that's my plan after today. I'm also going to remove the frames of worker laid eggs, so they don't spend resources developing them. If it is the lack of brood pheremones that stimulate laying workers, then they have worker laid brood, does that inhibit laying workers? I suppose it must be the lack of worker brood pheremones, as the drone brood does not seem to inhibit laying workers? Also, how do multiple eggs in a cell develop? I reckon I could just watch and see.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,802

    Default Re: laying workers coinciding with a delayed mated queen?

    >If it is the lack of brood pheremones that stimulate laying workers, then they have worker laid brood, does that inhibit laying workers?

    Not that I've seen.

    > I suppose it must be the lack of worker brood pheremones, as the drone brood does not seem to inhibit laying workers?

    Apparently not. But then laying worker brood always seems pretty spotty at best.

    > Also, how do multiple eggs in a cell develop?

    They all hatch if they are not removed already, and then they eventually remove some of the larvae.

    > I reckon I could just watch and see.

    That's what an observation hive is great for...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    seattle, washington
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: laying workers coinciding with a delayed mated queen?

    Does giving a queenless hive capped brood do any good? I can't seem to find frames of only open brood. All mine from my strong hive have a mix of capped brood, open brood, and honey around the edges. Will the new hive raise the capped brood?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: laying workers coinciding with a delayed mated queen?

    I added a frame of mixed brood, just making sure I had some eggs in there. The capped brood emerges and adds to the force of the hive. I also removed my frame that was obviously laid by workers. The other frame I left, so could watch. I did not notice any queen cells on my last inspection, I plan to transfer another frame tomorrow. I was able to get out to my other hives and enjoyed the sight of successful splits, so i'm relieved.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,802

    Default Re: laying workers coinciding with a delayed mated queen?

    >Does giving a queenless hive capped brood do any good? I can't seem to find frames of only open brood. All mine from my strong hive have a mix of capped brood, open brood, and honey around the edges. Will the new hive raise the capped brood?

    Nothing in a hive is every "all" anything. It's what it's "most" of that matters. You want mostly open brood and eggs, but you can get by with just eggs perhaps. What is capped will help boost the population, but it will not suppress laying workers. For that you need open brood. It will not give them the means to raise a queen. For that you need just hatched eggs or eggs.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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