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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    243

    Question What is the process for requeening a laying worker hive?

    Noob beekeeper with a question on how to proceed:

    I discovered about 6 weeks ago that I had lost my queen, and then had two failed attempts at getting them to requeen with frames of brood from a friend's hive.

    All I could get at that point was a nuc...put it in but suspect it either had no queen (I now know to ASK to see the queen and have her marked when I buy a nuc...did not find her during transfer but put that down to my inexperience...seller is reputable, but stuff happens!) or she was rejected/killed by my hive. I newspapered the nuc onto my hive and left it for two weeks.

    Returned to find a very small amount of youngish larvae, and no eggs anywhere at all. Gave them time to cap the larvae, turned out to be all drone brood.

    I am thinking I have a laying worker/s...mercifully a bad laying worker (so little brood)!...and have located a queen for sale from a reputable supplier.

    I realize that requeening a laying worker hive can be a tough sell. But I plan to shake out all the bees across the street in an empty lot, take the empty hive and frames back to their original location, give them a day or two and hang the queen cage inside, put on a hive top feeder, and hope in two or three days they will accept the new queen. We are supposed to get a few weeks more of good weather, so she has time to get set up before winter.

    What do you think? Any advice and/or tips on how to proceed most welcome!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Newton, NC, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: What is the process for requeening a laying worker hive?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: What is the process for requeening a laying worker hive?

    That is a wonderful link, but does not work for me as I am a first year beekeeper with only one hive. I have no other hives to add my motherless bees to, no other hives to spring split to make up for the loss of this queen, no other hives with brood etc. ad infinitum. My only options are: requeen this very populous hive (it was massive in the early summer) and hope we get the new queen and late brood she lays through the winter, or give up on this hive and just get a new package next spring. The first option, requeening, holds the hope of being in a position to do an early spring split, giving me what I should have begun with, two hives.

    So can anyone who has gone through the requeening offer advice as I have none of the options available to multiple hive beekeepers.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: What is the process for requeening a laying worker hive?

    You are in a tough spot, and it is getting late to be requeening at your latitude. If you get a queen today and she starts laying in a week, the first new brood will be emerging around October 5, giving them very little if any time to build up for winter. By far the easiest solution is to let them dwindle and restart with a package next spring. (And, if you can, start a second hive as well, so you can do things like moving frames of eggs between hives.)

    Your idea *might* work. I think you would be more likely to succeed with option #2 from Michael Bush's page:

    2) Put a box with some empty comb on the bottom, a double screen on top of that and the old brood nest on top of that. Put the top entrance in the opposite direction. The field bees will leave the top box and return to the bottom one. After a day you have only nurse bees and the laying worker in the top. Remove them and 24 hours later introduce a queen to the bottom box. Then shake out the top box in front of the other hives and give the honey and pollen back to the original hive. Freeze the drone brood and give it to a strong hive to clean up.
    Double screen boards are easy to make. The key is to avoid shaking out the laying workers until the new queen is accepted, established, and laying.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaston, SC
    Posts
    260

    Default Re: What is the process for requeening a laying worker hive?

    I have re-queened a layingworker hive just as you outlined,, but it is getting late in the year,, need to move fast!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: What is the process for requeening a laying worker hive?

    I am indeed moving fast...picking up the queen today, doing the shake as soon as I get home with her, and then I will put her in the hive after a few hours, in a cage, with attendants, give everyone a spritz of vanilla extract scented sugar water, put on a hive top feeder, close things up for a few days and pray!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: What is the process for requeening a laying worker hive?

    When I went in two days after putting the queen cage in, I found the bees had breached it. I was horrified...sure they had gotten in and killed her. All I could do was spritz some more wintergreen and vanilla laced sugar water around the interior of the hive, close it up and hope for the best, give her time if alive to begin to lay and then look for evidence of survival.

    Today was that day, and thank goodness, we found her on the second frame we pulled. Huge, fat and sassy! A massive red rear end! I saw eggs and then quickly shut the hive back up. Will check in a week and hope to see some capped worker brood.

    I am so very relieved! Thankyou all for the advice and support, it was deeply appreciated.

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