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  1. #1
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    Default To Laying Worker Nuc, and Back Again

    Following some lousy weather a while back that never let up for weeks, ended up with a lot of unmated queens in the nucs, and no brood to put in them. Put in another round of queen cells, but the ones of those that didn't mate, mostly ended up with laying workers, or drone laying queens.

    So just for interest, the pics below are of one of those nucs, now.

    The first queen cell put in didn't mate. So around 3 weeks later it got another queen cell which also didn't mate. Around 3 weeks after that it had laying workers, I still couldn't spare it brood so around another week later it got another queen cell. (Virgins hatched into a hive normally hold their own against laying workers). This time, the queen has mated and is laying normal eggs, she is shown in the bottom pic. But her brood, just starting to hatch today, is very patchy because she could only squeeze eggs here and there between the randomly scattered drone brood from the laying workers. The top pic, shows the current makeup of the hive, way too many drones. Brood, some of which is the last unhatched drones, is very patchy. There are now so many drones that the hive can hardly function normally. Temperature is not being maintained and larvae are not being fed.

    If I left the hive as is, it would likely survive but end up with around a fistful of bees only then slowly build from there. Instead, tomorrow I'm giving it a shake of bees, probably around one combs worth. This will be enough to get things working normally with brood being looked after and temperature maintained. With the laying queen, give it another few weeks and it will be a good nuc.






    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    Default Re: To Laying Worker Nuc, and Back Again

    Great pics. Hope your results are better than mine. I lost my queen after killing off a bunch of brood and removing a large section of foundationless comb that was drone cell. I love reading about techniques that are not the norm. Thanks for sharing.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  3. #3
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    Default Re: To Laying Worker Nuc, and Back Again

    Oh yes should say, a mated and laying queen introduced to a laying worker hive will get killed every time. The hive has to be "conditioned" first by adding some brood, long enough for the brood pheremones to suppress the laying workers.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    noth Islan, New Zealand
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    17

    Question Re: To Laying Worker Nuc, and Back Again

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Oh yes should say, a mated and laying queen introduced to a laying worker hive will get killed every time. The hive has to be "conditioned" first by adding some brood, long enough for the brood pheremones to suppress the laying workers.
    Hi Oldtimer,
    How long does this conditioning take, I put a frame of brood into a dronelaying hive yesterday and have queen cells ready to harvest tomorrow, if I put a protected queencell into the hive tomorrow it should be allowed to hatch okay, is that correct?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: To Laying Worker Nuc, and Back Again

    Hi Fieldbee, long time no see! Hope all is well.

    Yes if you're putting a queen cell in what most people do, if they can, is put some good brood in and the cell at the same time. Mostly works.

    The longer period of conditioning is for introducing a mated queen to a LW hive, it has to be conditioned for two weeks, which is a frame of young brood, anothet frame a week later, then laying queem intrduced a week later.

    How's the pollination been going for you guys this season?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    Default Re: To Laying Worker Nuc, and Back Again

    Ok, NOW that all makes sense to me. Thanks for the clarification, OT.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  7. #7
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: To Laying Worker Nuc, and Back Again

    neat thread, thanks delber.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #8
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: To Laying Worker Nuc, and Back Again

    oldtimer, are saying that you will likely have success introducing a capped queen cell into laying worker hives?

    just nucs? or, would it also work in a larger colony?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  9. #9
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    Default Re: To Laying Worker Nuc, and Back Again

    Can't give a good answer to that I've almost never done it to a full colony. This spring I had cells in the truck & came across a LW hive (failed requeening attempt), I was in a hurry so split it into two single box hives & gave each one a cell, neither worked out. But, only two hives, could have been bad luck who knows?

    As a general principle though, a full hive has a lot of resources compared to a nuc and it's rather wasteful to risk it all on the success or failure of a single queen cell. Those resources (of a full sized LW hive), could be better used by combining those bees, in some way, with a queenright hive so they can get right to productive work, rather than languishing while waiting for the success or otherwise of a single queen cell.

    A beekeeper with just a few, or one only hive thinking of trying it, would be better, if he had several queen cells, to break the LW hive down into several nucs and give each a queen cell, so the chances of getting at least one good queen are much enhanced. Best of all, would be to give each of those nucs a frame of good brood from a different hive, at the same time as the queen cell.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #10
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: To Laying Worker Nuc, and Back Again

    many thanks for your thoughtful answer oldtimer.

    i had my first laying worker hive. it was a failed hive because it swarmed in it's first year, and failed to requeen itself.

    there weren't many good bees left anyway, so i shook them out. the drawn comb and honey was just what the doctor ordered for two other establishing hives that were glad to get the resources.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: To Laying Worker Nuc, and Back Again

    Sounds like you made the best move, at the time, with the resources you had available. In such circumstances those bees you've shaken out give the other hives a boost and if you wanted to get back to the origional hive numbers there is the option to split later.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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