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  1. #1

    Default Confirmed laying queen AND laying worker in same hive?

    I saw a similar thread, but my situation is different. I have a laying queen AND what seems to be a laying worker. Both of my hives are package installs with Koehnon and Son cordovan queens. The hives were set up 4/11. The queens have been happily laying and today the first new wave of bees are out and about in the hive. Except in one hive I noticed a single frame with multiple eggs in every cell. Not a shotgun pattern, but every cells radiating out from the center in a solid pattern. The queen is in there because I found her. There are frames with all brood stages including normal eggs. But this one frame, I counted up to 5 eggs in a single cell some attached to the sides. In some of the cells there seemed to be 2 eggs attached end to end like a really long egg but standing up as the eggs do when first laid. I had only been spot checking especially after finding the queen (she is marked so not hard to miss) running around 3 frames over so I went back and look closely at some of the other frames and only see normal egg laying. There are frames that are empty so she isn't out of room. I am not going to shake out the frames because these hives are only 30 days old (25 laying days because it took 4-5 days to let the queen out of her cage). Because I was using drawn comb and had a super of honey for each hive, I put the honey super on instead of feeding sugar to get them going. The queen started laying in the super so I put an excluder on. The first wave of new bees came out of the honey super and there are no eggs, not even multi-egg cells in the super now (still some capped brood). The multi-egg frame is in the brood box where the queen is. I read that new queens sometimes lay multiple eggs in a cell as they first start out, but my queen has been laying for the last 25 days with no issues. As I mentioned, there are empty frames of drawn comb in the brood box just waiting for her. The population is very low right now and most of it seems to be up in the super.


    Suggestions????

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Confirmed laying queen AND laying worker in same hive?

    Hi, there's a number of possibilities, and one is that it's a malfunction of the queen.

    I would not recommend shaking the hive this is not a guaranteed way to get rid of laying workers, and it's also possible you don't have any laying workers.

    For now, leave the hive be. Check it in 10 days and see if the recent combs of eggs you saw, have developed into worker, or drone brood in the worker cells. I'm assuming the new brood that emerging at the moment is worker bees?

    In 10 days if it's normal worker brood let the hive be. If it's not then come back, report what you've found & people can advise you what to do.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  3. #3

    Default Re: Confirmed laying queen AND laying worker in same hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Hi, there's a number of possibilities, and one is that it's a malfunction of the queen.

    I would not recommend shaking the hive this is not a guaranteed way to get rid of laying workers, and it's also possible you don't have any laying workers.

    For now, leave the hive be. Check it in 10 days and see if the recent combs of eggs you saw, have developed into worker, or drone brood in the worker cells. I'm assuming the new brood that emerging at the moment is worker bees?

    In 10 days if it's normal worker brood let the hive be. If it's not then come back, report what you've found & people can advise you what to do.
    Yes, all workers that have hatched....I saw maybe 20 drones but those I believe came in the package. I did see 10 or so capped drone cells at the bottoms of some of the frames.

    I just looked at it again. I only saw 1 other cell on another frame with 2 eggs in the bottom. I did see a few "long eggs" that almost seem like two eggs laid at once stuck end to end. It is getting dark and some of the cells on the other frames of capped worker brood seemed like they had "half" eggs or shorter than normal, but it could have just been a glint off the cell bottom of the garage light...yes I had to take the frame to the garage to see down in the cells.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Confirmed laying queen AND laying worker in same hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    I would not recommend shaking the hive this is not a guaranteed way to get rid of laying workers, and it's also possible you don't have any laying workers.
    I think you gave excellent advice for the OP's scenario, but I was wondering about the above statement as a general comment. Perhaps its about technique, but I advocate shaking out laying workers. Here's how I do it:
    Take the entire colony about 20 yards from the original location. Shake all bees off the frames. Distribute resources to your strongest colonies in that yard. Of course the bees will go back to the location of the old hive, which is now gone, but over a few hours will disperse into the nearby hives. This can pose a problem if you have smaller hives, but if everyone is basically the same strength I've not seen problems. Laying worker colony does no longer exists. For the most part bees are not created or destroyed so things as a whole remain at about the same level, leaving you the resources to make an additional split once things settle out.

    However, if the shake out is simply shaking the bees to the ground and allowing the bees to fly back to the same location and hive, then I totally agree that success is far from guaranteed.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Confirmed laying queen AND laying worker in same hive?

    i also had a package with a laying worker from koehnens delivered about a week earlier. No queen found after i released her. gave the package a frame of eggs and some capped brood. They drew out 3 nice queen cells. I split the package into 3 mating nucs with one of the ripe cells they made. One of the nucs had torn out the queen cell at the base. THis one has to contain the laying worker as there is drone brood inside.. the other two queens are doing nicely - have started laying about a week ago. Koehnens also sent me a replacement queen for just a small shipping charge.

    Interestingly enough i have added two frames of eggs over two weeks to the nuc with the laying worker. They have not yet drawn out any queen cells yet but there is also more drone larva. we'll keep adding eggs and see if i can get them to raise a new queen

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Confirmed laying queen AND laying worker in same hive?

    I believe there are laying workers in every hive, the eggs just get policed. Perhaps there just aren't enough bees to do the policing yet. I agree with Oldtimer, just throwing in another theory.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Confirmed laying queen AND laying worker in same hive?

    >I noticed a single frame with multiple eggs in every cell.

    But queens often do this before they get into their groove.

    >Not a shotgun pattern, but every cells radiating out from the center in a solid pattern.

    Pretty much the way a queen would.

    >The queen is in there because I found her. There are frames with all brood stages including normal eggs.

    Capped? What kinds of capping?

    > But this one frame, I counted up to 5 eggs in a single cell some attached to the sides. In some of the cells there seemed to be 2 eggs attached end to end like a really long egg but standing up as the eggs do when first laid.

    The queen may not have gotten the hang of it yet.

    I'd wait until you see some caps. If they are flat worker caps, I would not worry and things will sort themselves out shortly. If they are domed, I would look closely at the queen. If she's kind of fat at the start of the abdomen (at the thorax end) and skinny at the far end (the stinger end) she may be a drone layer. A drone laying queen often lays on the side of the cell because of the fat first ring of her abdomen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8

    Default Re: Confirmed laying queen AND laying worker in same hive?

    Ok so here is an update on this hive. The frame in question ended up producing workers. No drone caps. HOWEVER, this hive is doing nothing and I mean nothing. There was one frame of eggs and two with newly capped brood and larva. The queen was there. She is marked and I found her. It just seems like this hive is as small as it was when I installed the package. The cluster is on 4 frames in the deep and 4 frames in the honey super on top. Just as a reminder, I had supers of honey which I put on as a food source for both of my hives instead of feeding the packages. She started laying in the super so I put an excluder on. This was about a month ago. I ended up feeding 1:1 on Sunday which they have taken completely and will feed them again. I also moved 4 frames of eggs, larva, and capped brood from my other hive into this one to build the numbers. So a split really with the queen already in the hive. I knocked all the bees off so it was just the frames.

    My other hive which was started at the exact same time already had a deep full of all stages and the honey super full of all stages. There was no excluder on that one because I only had one excluder. I added a second brood chamber to the hive one the bottom as well as putting on an excluder to keep the queen out of the super. So this hive in my opinion is doing just great.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Confirmed laying queen AND laying worker in same hive?

    Hi, without seeing the hive it's impossible to say for sure, but one possibility is it's the excluder has caused the slow development of the hive.

    They started brood in the super, then you put the queen below the excluder? There may have only been enough bees below the excluder to support a small brood area so that's all the queen laid. Given time, and once the brood in the super hatched and freed up those bees, the brood area below would expand.

    But again that's all just guesswork without actually seeing the hive.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Default Re: Confirmed laying queen AND laying worker in same hive?

    My biggest mistake I think was adding a super box before they filled out and started using all of the first box. They had filled out 4-5 frames in the first box and I thought I'd make sure they don't put the honey band on top and lock the queen into just the first box, so I added a second box. They did the 5 frames above the original 5 and stopped. They didn't want to fill out the other frames. I waited a month and they didn't do any more. I ended up moving the untouched frames into the brood area and they finally started filling them out and using them.
    Disclaimer: I know enough to know I don't know anything yet.

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