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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Dupage, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    56

    Default New Queen Laying drone brood?

    I made a walkaway split on July 13th. Everything was looking fine over the following week or so. There were plenty of bees in the box, and I noticed three good sized queen cells. On August 6th I looked in the hive to see what was going on and saw a small cluster of eggs and very young larva. I could not find the queen, but I thought everything was okay. The eggs were all the way at the bottom of the cells. I looked again on August 11the and still could not find a queen and all the brood looks like drone brood. All of the capped cells were capped with a typical drone capping. The remaining brood was too young to be capped so I couldn't tell if they were workers or drones. I added another frame of eggs from another hive in case they needed them. I am worried since this is only a 5 frame nuc and I should have been able to find the queen during 2 good inspections. I have a few questions I am hoping someone can answer.

    1.) Does a newly mated queen normally start off with some drone brood? Will she settle in and start laying worker brood?
    2.) What happens if she didn't mate properly? There are very few drones (if any) in my other 5 hives. I assume the girls kicked them all out since it has been so dry and resources were scarce. I would assume other hives in the area have done the same.
    3.) Will the workers raise a new queen with the new eggs I provided them if there is a drone laying queen in the hive?

    I guess I have no choice but to wait and see what happens, but was curious what more experienced beekeepers have seen with new splits.

    Any comments are appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,272

    Default Re: New Queen Laying drone brood?

    1.) Does a newly mated queen normally start off with some drone brood? Will she settle in and start laying worker brood?

    If there is drone comb available, sometimes a new queen will lay some drones to help propegate her genetics into the area. If the drones you are seeing is in worker sized cells then I'd be worried.

    2.) What happens if she didn't mate properly? There are very few drones (if any) in my other 5 hives. I assume the girls kicked them all out since it has been so dry and resources were scarce. I would assume other hives in the area have done the same.

    If she did not mate properly, then she will be a drone layer, and could end up disappearing from the hive.

    3.) Will the workers raise a new queen with the new eggs I provided them if there is a drone laying queen in the hive?

    Yes, but maybe not off that first frame you gave them. Give them a frame with eggs once a week until they raise queen cell for you. Doing this can be quite drawn out and a waste of time if you have other hives, in my opinion. It just can take three weeks or more and that means a good hive gets reduced of future bees right? If you need or really want that nuc to make it then do give frame of eggs each week. If you have other hives that will make it then you may not want to try to save the nuc. This of course will be your call to make.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,286

    Default Re: New Queen Laying drone brood?

    If there is only one egg at the very bottom of each cell then you have a queen that didn't mate properly or not at all. My understanding is that once they lay drone eggs only, they'll never correct it. It was wise to put in a frame of eggs so they make a new queen but I think this late in the season you may want to pinch your drone layer and buy a mated queen to speed things up.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Dupage, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: New Queen Laying drone brood?

    I'm pretty sure its a laying worker(s) situation now. I inspected again today and found no queen. Some of the cells now had multiple eggs. The worker brood frame from the other hive I added looks good, but no new queen cells. I would really like to make this split work since it is coming from a hive that gave me 120+ lbs of honey from the spring flow. My other hives did half that much. The queen in that hive is already 2 years old and I would like to keep those genes going in my yard. I'll try another frame of eggs in a few days. If they don't start any queen cells I will probably just combine them back with the hive they came from and try again in the spring.

    Will a newspaper combine work when reuniting if I end up going that route? If I do a newspaper combine, do I just add them to the top of the hive. It is currently 5 boxes high.....2 deeps and 3 mediums.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,272

    Default Re: New Queen Laying drone brood?

    In my opinion with my experiences, joining a laying worker hive with a queen right hive using newspaper will result in the good queen getting killed or disappearing. Then you've really got probs. I take the laying worker hive and shake ALL the bees out on the ground a hundred feet or more from your hives, then removing the laying worker hive stand completely. The bees that are good will beg acceptance into your other hives, more noticably on the hive closest to where the laying worker hive was. Good luck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,033

    Default Re: New Queen Laying drone brood?

    Ray is right. I try to do the same but occasionally "wimp out" and just settle for having the bees in the good hive outnumber those in the bad one.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Dupage, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: New Queen Laying drone brood?

    I decided to stick with the split and see if I can pull them through. I gave them another frame of eggs two days ago. I checked today and the eggs haven't hatched yet. I looked at the other frames closely to see what was happening and noticed a bunch of swarm cells on the bottom of one of the other frames. There are three capped cells, one larger queen cup with royal jelly in it and a couple of queen cups with eggs in them.....one with a single egg and another with multiple eggs. This frame was a donation from another hive a week or so ago, but I don't recall seeing any queen cups on it at that time. I would have to assume these are drones being raised as queens. I think I might tear one open in a few days to see what is inside. Any other advise?

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