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Thread: laying worker

  1. #1
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    Default laying worker

    ok, with many threads on laying worker hives i have a question. i read something a while back about shaking them out and letting the foragers come back to the hive and the nurse bees cant find there way back. claimed that the nurse bees were the laying workers. is this correct? the reason for asking is i have a laying worker hive. so i thought if i did this that when foragers came back i would then take them and do a combine with them with newspaper on another hive or just shake them all and let them drift and save the step of combining. only difference i see is if you combined the foragers you could put them on a hive you wanted to, if just left to drift the wil go where ever they could gain access
    any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: laying worker

    Quote Originally Posted by billfosburgh View Post
    any thoughts?
    There are a number of limiting factors in beekeeping: my time, hive equipment, money, gasoline, bees, drawn comb, brood, and other things. And a lot of beekeeping is knowing what your most prescious resources or limiting factors are at the current time and expending them wisely. If you have plenty of time and brood, if your hives are handy, and if you want to learn, you might choose to put a frame of uncapped brood in the hive once a week for several weeks to try to recover the hive. Like a lot of beekeepers, I've done that. That is no longer something that I choose to do.

    You could, as you say, leave the original hive in its location, shake the bees out 200 or more feet from that hive, hope that the unoriented laying workers won't make it back to the hive, then combine that hive with one of your choosing, rather than their choosing. In some circumstances that could be a good choice. But there might be a better way to adjust populations between hives, if for some reason you wanted to do that. For example, you could put the hive you wanted to increase where the laying worker hive had been. Then, if you wanted, you could move that hive back where it had been with something in front of it so the bees, including the foragers from the LW hive would "reorient" to that hive's original location.

    If your have the right layout or the time to move your laying worker hive and let them reorient, you could shake the bees out directly in front of one or more very strong hives, but a couple of hundred feet from the LW hive. The foragers would return to the LW hive; the nurse bees would be allowed in the nearby strong hive; and the laying workers themselves would be dealt with by the strong hive if they entered it.

    The best choice in terms of time and resources for me would likely be to break down the laying worker hive, brush off the comb and put it in other hives, and dump the bees out in front of very strong hives.
    David

  3. #3
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    Default Re: laying worker

    good thoughts david

  4. #4
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    Default Re: laying worker

    There seems to be some question about whether the laying workers are oriented bees or whether they are unoriented house bees. Thoughts?
    Frank

  5. #5
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    Default Re: laying worker

    frank, it seems to me that our understanding of laying workers is newer than a lot of other things to do with beekeeping. the main interest is avoiding them and getting the problem gone.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: laying worker

    I know of no study that says the laying workers are young bees that have not oriented on their home hive. The age at which a worker first exits the hive to take a dump and orient is 6 days from emerging. Most queenless colonies that become laying worker colonies will have the brood emerged longer than that before the laying worker eggs are not removed and are allowed to remain in the cells. There are some workers laying in all mature colonies, but their eggs are removed from the cells and eaten by the nurse bees.

    I agree with Riverderwent, the easiest way to deal with a laying worker colony is to just shake out the colony, remove the boxes, and be done with it. You don't have to carry it away any distance to confuse the workers, they will drift into any surrounding colonies that will let them in.
    38 years - 25 colonies, 32 Nucs - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  7. #7
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    Default Re: laying worker

    well i shook them out, with in an hour they were all clustered in a bush. i have not found the queen in about a month with about 5 trys. no capped worker brood only drone brood and iut was spotty. my eyes suck so i cant hardly ever see eggs but i can see larva this is why i think it was queenless. so now the million $ question, do i shake them back into a hive or let it go?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: laying worker

    here`s what i did. went out and set up a hive. i put 3 frames of drawn comb in a 10 frame deep one of them has honey and pollen. cut branch off and shook them in. put a queen excluder on it with another deep on top, put 3 frames of brood in it and the rest drawn comb.
    my hope is they will go up to the top box and if there is a queen i`ll haver her trapped in the bottom . with only 3 frames there i should find her. if i do ill kill her thgen give them more brood and a queen cell if i have one. if not i`ll run monday and buy a queen.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: laying worker

    >ok, with many threads on laying worker hives i have a question. i read something a while back about shaking them out and letting the foragers come back to the hive and the nurse bees cant find there way back. claimed that the nurse bees were the laying workers. is this correct?

    Not correct. Also not correct that laying workers can't find their way back. Shaking out a laying worker hive is calling it a loss. You give the equipment to the other hives and let the bees drift to other hives. The old laying worker hive no longer exists.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #10
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    Default Re: laying worker

    Just had this conversation with Sue Cobey yesterday. Got essentially same answer as Michael. Could also try suppressing the pheromones by adding some mixed brood and start weaning them. Thought I had a "laying worker" last week (had multiple 2-3 eggs) but checked them today and found all single eggs (bottom and centered). Think it was just a very excited young queen getting fired up.
    Zone 8a - Elev.~ 1,100 ft. Sandy, OR.
    Apiculture: A culmination of animal husbandry and alchemy.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: laying worker

    When shaking out the laying worker hive, is there any risk of the laying workers drifting to another hive and taking out its queen?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: laying worker

    >When shaking out the laying worker hive, is there any risk of the laying workers drifting to another hive and taking out its queen?

    Nothing in beekeeping is 100% but I have not seen that happen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  13. #13
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    Default Re: laying worker

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >When shaking out the laying worker hive, is there any risk of the laying workers drifting to another hive and taking out its queen?

    Nothing in beekeeping is 100% but I have not seen that happen.
    I've had it happen repeatedly in a nuc yard and confirmed it as a common enough occurrence with a queen breeder friend in his yards. I suspect (having watched them cluster onto a neighboring hive) that given sufficient numbers they can overwhelm the defenses of a small hive. My current method of shaking out LW hives is to take them to out yards with production size hives and shake them out there (or better shake them out in 2 or 3 yards).

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