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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    430

    Default Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    As a new beekeeper I am struggling with this problem right now. And the old adage is ask 100 beekeepers and get 100 different answers. Well let's see how many I get. I have spent the last 3 hours reading about possible solutions. Some have been successful and others not so much. Let me hear what your experiences have been.

    Thanks for playing.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Lovell, WY, USA
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    Yes it is my worst nightmare. One of my hives ended up with a laying worker late last summer. This put some drone brood up in the honey supers as the laying workers are not hindered by the queen excluder. I took off the supers and any with brood I put on the other hive to let the brood emerge and so the bees could fill those cells in with honey. I then let the hive with laying workers die out and the other hive eventually robbed out the rest of the hive. This spring I split the good hive and ended up with 2 strong queen right hives this year.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Battle Ground , Washington, USA
    Posts
    747

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    I walked the whole hive 300 ft away shook them all out and put it back on its stand. It worked.. there was a softball size ball of bees that just stayed and died where they were shaken.. I have also heard of just doing a newspaper combine with queen right hive..
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Lee County, Illinois
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    I had one laying worker hive this year. added a frame of fresh layed eggs from another hive once a week for 3 weeks. Surpressed the laying worker and had a queen cell started in the first week. The hive should make it through the winter now.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Kannapolis NC USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    Hey I had the same issue and i talked to some of my friends and was told all the same thing.. take the box 25 feet away and empty all the bees out of the box onto the ground. then put the box right back where it came from. turn the box one quarter turn. wait 24 hours then hang a new queen in between two frames and walk away for a week.. remove queen cage after a week. don't worry if they haven't released her yet. go ahead and let her out.... the laying worker will not be able to fly back to the hive.. oh yea when u hang a new queen turn the box back around.

    Dave
    It wasn't me this time.....Dave

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,590

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    If you have other hives, a laying worker isn't a disaster, but it could be late for raising a queen from frames of eggs/ young larvae. I had my first laying worker hive this year and adding a frame of eggs /young larvae over two or three weeks worked for me. I suspect that adding a feeder might help at this point unless you have a flow on. Just my 2…
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Central Valley, CA, USA
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    Well you might get a 100 different answers since there are a 1000 different circumstances to this problem. This time of year I would not try to save the laying worker hive with a new queen - by the time you have introduced her and have new worker brood emerging it is close to september!
    In my case there most probaly would be a queenright hive right next to my laying worker (if you have several hives in one location).
    So I would shake out the laying worker hive, like indicated above, a couple of hundred feet away. The foragers would return to the old hive location and since the hive is gone they will enter one of the other queenright hives right next to it = increasing their number and strength.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,383

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    Do I consider a laying worker hive my worst nightmare, well, its a big problem to me anyhow! Its one that takes time to cure if you want, or you basically just write the hive off as a loss and shake it out.

    If you have the time and resources, adding a frame of brood each week should do the trick, but if your like me and just dont have the time or the resources to do such a thing (or care to anyhow!) I would just shake them out right infront of the other hives and put the laying worker hive boxes away and ditribute the usable frames to the other hives. Ive actually done this to three laying worker hives this year, one was a hive of my own and the other two were either queenless swarms or something happened to the queen. I have not had one problem with the laying workers getting into my other hives and killing the queens.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    If you have another hive, I'd do the newspaper combine, and once they are assimilated, split them again using a bought-in queen.

    It's only your worst nightmare if you've never seen a hive torn apart by a bear....who then put the apiary on his foraging route and returned to hit the hives he didn't destroy the first time.

    My friend had such bear problems that he quit beekeeping and gave his 20 hives to 4H.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    430

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    I agree there are probably many nightmares. A bear being a nasty one. I have bears in these parts as well but I have been lucky. My outyard at a friends property a mile up the road is surrounded by 50" field fencing attached to 4x4s with insulators. The solar fencer is putting out about 7000 volts.

    My other two hives are in my backyard. You got me thinking now...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,042

    Thumbs Up Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    dnichols, it seems to me that the size and condition of the laying worker hive in question (relative to winter stores and bee population) would enter into my plan to fix your situation.

    A small, unproductive hive with little or no stores for winter could easily be dealt with as others here have already suggested. If the hive is otherwise strong and has stores for winter, I'd find a store bought queen or a local beekeeper with an extra queen and requeen it ASAP. With the latter solution, you would have one more hive in Spring, something that could pay off next season.

    You might want to look into a split and overwintering a couple NUC hives.
    Last edited by Lburou; 07-30-2012 at 07:36 AM. Reason: added link
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    430

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    Lee, that is exactly what I am thinking about doing. It was suggested that I use this hive to make some nucs. Now I need to find some queens ASAP. ;-)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,042

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    That sounds good. Do you have some brood frames from another hive to put in the laying worker hive until the queens come?
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,378

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    d, shook my first one out yesterday. for me it made the most sense to use the 10 frames of drawn comb with honey and pollen to give to a very small swarm caught only 2 weeks ago. the small swarm has also received a couple of frames of capped brood from other hives, and it is well on it's way to being a strong colony by winter here.

    the making of nucs idea is a good one, or you could freeze your frames and have them ready to kick-start new hives next spring.

    good luck!
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    430

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    Lee,

    Yes, I have four other hives that I should be able to "rob" from. So far the soonest I can get queens is a week from now. I am still looking. Thanks for the advice!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    430

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    d, shook my first one out yesterday. for me it made the most sense to use the 10 frames of drawn comb with honey and pollen to give to a very small swarm caught only 2 weeks ago. the small swarm has also received a couple of frames of capped brood from other hives, and it is well on it's way to being a strong colony by winter here.

    the making of nucs idea is a good one, or you could freeze your frames and have them ready to kick-start new hives next spring.

    good luck!
    SP, if I can find some queens I will be in business...

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,320

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    Since I'm raising queens, and introducing cultured queen cells of different ages and at different times in the queenless period of my mating nucs, I've had more mating nucs develop into laying worker colonies than ever before (about five, this season). Just recently one of them accepted a cultured queen cell, she emerged, was mated, began laying and now they're a strong queenright nuc. Also, one had become so weak that I decided to just shake them out and replace them with fresh bees and combs (they were one compartment/hole of a 3-frame mating nuc condo). And another was one of my queen cell builder nucs, I suspect that some of the laying workers from the shake-out had taken residence there. They had built two small combs on a cell bar and there were around a dozen eggs laid in each cell of those small combs. I immediately removed a frame of honey/pollen and replaced it with a comb almost entirely filled with just hatching eggs. Apparently this straightened them out almost immediately, as there have been no eggs laid in this nuc since I gave them this comb of very young larvae. Soon after, when the brood in this comb was beginning to be sealed, I removed it and replaced it with a comb of emerging brood and then gave them two cell bars of grafts. About 95% of these grafts were accepted and are now being grown into queens. It's the first time one of my queenless cell builder colonies had gone laying worker, so it was a good test of the young brood donation method to correct a laying workers situation. It certainly was gratifying to be able to turn around a productive cell builder, so quickly and easily.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,378

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    cool cool. see if you can find the video of mike palmer giving a presentation re: overwintering nucs. it's really good and would be relevent to you being in the northeast.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,378

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    jc, very interesting.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    430

    Default Re: Worker laying Hive. Is this a beek's worse nightmare?

    Will do SP! Thanks for the video advice.

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