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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Esperance, New York, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Help! laying worker!

    I went for my standard inspection today, and found a couple queen cells, I was rather confused by this in a first year hive, since they don't typically swarm, but started to cut them off, since that was what I had read to do for swarm control, Thankfully I had only excised one when I noticed two larva in the side of one of the cells. I didn't cut out the other queen cell I found (obviously) But I have no idea what to do now. I know this is just about the worst problem you can encounter, and spells death for your hive if you can't fix it. I'm off to read up in my bee books, but I wanted to post here first, since I don't remember much helpful from the books except that it's really bad, and you can't just introduce a queen because the laying worker will kill her. Any help would be appreciated, I'm in way over my head.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,974

    Default Re: Help! laying worker!

    I don't think two larva in the same cell automatically signify laying workers. Did you see young larvae, capped worker brood? Eggs?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Esperance, New York, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Help! laying worker!

    There was capped brood, and there's some drone comb as well. I didn't get a great look, because the hive was really aggressive today. I got stung twice. They have been drawing drone comb over the last few weeks. I was in a week ago doing the first round of comb correction (I use foundationless and have been having a couple frames that they've consistently refused to draw out straight.) and there was some drone comb, which is the first I've seen that. This week going in to check and see if they were now drawing their comb straight, I saw the double eggs. I didn't look much further, I just kind of panicked, finished what I was doing as quickly as possible, closed up the hive and ran home to consult my books about laying workers. I did notice that a lot of the brood comb seemed empty. I didn't think that queens ever laid eggs on the side wall of the cell though? I thought they laid one egg right in the bottom, and multiples on the side were big bad news?? Maybe I'm misinformed? I guess I should go back in and make a more thorough inspection of the brood comb. Not looking forward to that as nasty as that hive has been the last two times I've been in it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Esperance, New York, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Help! laying worker!

    I should also add that last time I was in I noticed some worker cells with domed caps, that didn't seem normal to me, but I left it, now I'm seeing that can be a sign of drones being laid into worker comb.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,722

    Default Re: Help! laying worker!

    Do you have a second hive, or a friend you can borrow frames of eggs /young larvae from?
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Esperance, New York, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Help! laying worker!

    No. I have only the one hive, and no friends that I can get a frame of open brood from

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,722

    Default Re: Help! laying worker!

    Quote Originally Posted by LadySteelsheen View Post
    No. I have only the one hive, and no friends that I can get a frame of open brood from
    I had my first laying worker hive this year and adding a frame of eggs every week for three weeks worked for me. Michael Bush's website has some nice info on the subject.

    Good luck...
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,974

    Default Re: Help! laying worker!

    Ok, so it was double eggs on the sidewall then? Initial post just said two larvae maybe. Could be laying worker then. Laying worker typically takes awhile though, when was the last time you think you had a queen?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Esperance, New York, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Help! laying worker!

    Sorry, I guess I was unclear. They were definitely on the sidewall, and about the size of a grain of rice, smaller. but not tiny like fresh eggs.

    Also, I've never actually seen the queen in this hive. I started it from a swarm, and she's not marked. I've looked for her a couple times but never found her, just seen larva and eggs. Almost a month ago I had open brood, as well as capped and all looked normal. a week and a half ago I inspected and cut a lot of comb. I noticed then that they had been drawing drone comb and that there were some worker cells with domed caps. I ended up just cutting the crooked comb and getting out as fast as possible because the hive was so aggressive. I thought they were just irritated because I was cutting a bunch of comb. After I'd been stung my goal in life was to finish cutting the crooked comb out and get it closed as quickly as possible before I got stung again! So I guess that wasn't my most thorough inspection ever. My guess is the queen was already gone by then, and maybe the hive has been so rowdy because they're queenless not because I'm cutting comb?? I don't really have the experience to say.

    thank you beecurious! I did go and read up on Micheal Bush's site (always great info) Of course he suggest adding open brood, which is an option I don't much have, or splitting the affected hive between other hives, also an option I don't have.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Deming, NM
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: Help! laying worker!

    Had the same problem. A nasty egg pattern- multiples stuck to the sides of the cells. I took the hive some distance away, out of line of site of the hives original location and shook all the bees out onto the ground. Put the hive back in place and introduced a new mated queen the next day.

    Once I did that, found that she was laying her eggs right in the center all by their lonesome, just like shes supposed to.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh PA
    Posts
    399

    Default Re: Help! laying worker!

    I think we are a little quick to assume that the hive has laying workers.
    You said you see normal brood too mixed with drone brood? And there were queen cells that you were cutting out? There is very little chance that with regular worker brood still in the hive the workers will start to develop ovaries. Also bees remove multiple eggs and only one larva is allowed to develop. Are you sure you saw 2 larvae in the same cell?
    To me it sounds like your hive has a failing queen or a new queen that has just started laying. Give the hive a little time.
    Also it's not advise able to cull the queen cells without making sure u have a queen in the hive.
    Just my 2 cents :-)
    There is no greater satisfaction than the satisfaction of a job well done.

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