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).