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  1. #1
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    Default Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    The way it is now:

    One deep with comb, nector, bees... no brood at all
    One medium with 4 frames drone brood and mostly empties... I took out all else until I decide what to do to it tomorrow.
    Still lots of bees but population was dwindling and there were multiple swarm cells. They brought in a lot of nector, honey and pollen so I guess the population are all workers at this point....


    My questions please!

    1. Do I get rid of the frames of drone brood (4) and just start adding brood frames every week hoping for the best or is it even worth it?

    2. Could I somehow use these bees in a queen castle with brood and other bees to help raise new queens?
    -- how would I combine them?

    I just want to make the best use of my resources. I caught the swarm from this hive which is an old hive and needs new equipment anyway, so I still have the genetics to bring back to it. They are really nice bees....

    thanks..

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    If you have queen cells in there, check in a week to see if any have been opened. Might just be a queen waiting to take over in there.

    I'd give them a frame of eggs and open brood just in case, but even a large amount of drone brood in drone cells wouldn't make me think laying workers. Drones are normal, but if you have spotty drone cells cobbled up out of normal worker brood and scattered all over with multiple eggs in cells, yes laying workers. If there are "swarm cells" it's more likely you have a virgin queen or newly mated one than laying workers.

    Peter

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    All queen cells are open and long gone. No regular brood cells at all.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    In that case if you think the bees will last a month, add a frame of eggs and open brood every week and see what happens. They will start queen cells after the second or third frame, and by then most of the original bees will be gone along with the laying workers.

    Otherwise that hive is a goner and I'd shake them out and do a split with the drawn comb.

    Peter

  5. #5
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    Marshall county, AL
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    510

    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    I had a LW hive that I kept feeding and kept the entrance tight until the population got low. I was trying to get them to draw comb on foundation, because I needed more comb. It didn't work too well, and I wound up putting the remaining bees in the deep freeze after I put a new hive in their place. If I had it to go over again and didn't need the hive spot, I would have taken the bees a 100 yards or so away and shook them out.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    Yes, I think I read your posts from 2012 which made me wonder is it worth it?

    May start a few queen cells on top of another hive and transfer it over with brood...see if that works, or transfer to a queen castle and dump these workers. Would they take care of brood/bees in a queen castle if I dumped them in?

    this is where I need experience to chime in... At least I could recognize what I have!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    I would shake them out 50 to 100 feet away from your other hives, and remove the stand. The bees will beg their way into your other hives. Get your queen cells started and when they are ready, set up your queen castle in the spot where the shook out hive was before you removed it.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    RayMarler should I wait until I have the queen cells and then shake them out? Will they migrate into the castle? Those entrances are pretty darn small.

    How about the 4 frames of mostly drone cells & resources? Should I freeze them overnight to kill the larvae and then use them were needed?

    thanks!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    You could do it that way if you want. I said to shake them out and remove the stand, it would be better, in my mind, to have the bees absorbed into strong laying queen hives, instead of newly made up queen castles.

    You can freeze the frames if you like of drones then reuse where needed, yes. It sounds like it is honey super so you could freeze it and put on top of strongest hive to get a box of honey from them.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Australia
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    I just recently had to deal with this, it took four frames of brood (the emerging workers from these as you go do help too), and a donated queen cell from one of my other hives to after 6 weeks get them to raise a queen. She is now mated and laying a good tight pattern so I'm quite happy the work paid off. (the whole mess was due to my clumsiness in the first place so I guess guilt made me make the effort to set things right)

    The biggest risk with LW hives is they refuse to accept a new queen even the one they raise.....

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    Also, as Peter said above, there may be a virgin in there because it does not sound like it is laying worker yet, for sure, from what you've said so far. Capped drone brood in the first super over the brood nest would be the place for them to be normally, and they would be the last to emerge. IF so, then when the last drone emerges, then 24 days prior you had a laying queen. 8 days prior you could have had a queen emerge. If so, then in another week, two at the most, you should see laying queen eggs.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    Man I love this list sometimes! So I just came back from dumping the bees while temps are tolerable...suppose to be in 90s today, among hives close together next to original hive location thinking they will go in all. Took away deep with comb & resources, took away comb with drone brood. They took it really well and I noticed some clumping, took a look in time to see what I think was the queen scrambling for cover!

    So I reexamined the 5 drone brood combs and yes...they are and no normal larvae so I bet it is a laying virgin queen!

    I have another nuc who failed to create queen combs for me (another story) so I put it down with some of the resource frames and they've already started inside. I'll go away now and tonight evaluate.

    So if I'm right and she doesn't start laying normal soon I could pinch her, put in some eggs and get this nuc to raise some queen cells for me for my queen castle. I want to use OldTimer's "Raising Queen Cells Without Grafting" method.

    I'll add more to this nuc Sunday when I'm in my strong hives if need be.

    What do you think Ray, Peter and all? Am I on the right track? I can post pics later from of P.C. of those drone brood frames; I am putting them in the freezer.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    Yes, I think you are on the right track. I also bet your queen will do fine. Sometimes new queens do lay drones first if the drone comb is available. I think it might be to get her genes out in the area right away, or maybe she's just practicing for the full time job as queen. However, I think your new queen is too young to have laid drones that are capped already, I still think they are the last lays of the original queen. Time will tell the story for us.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    Thank you! How long do I give her to start laying right? I was going to but a frame of brood in there tomorrow... Should I?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    You've never mentioned dates for timing but from your descriptions I'd say she'd start laying within a week or so.

    A frame with eggs never hurts, it's insurance. If you have a good queen they will have added population, if they need a queen they'll make one on the frame.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    Thanks Ray! The only timing I have on this is the Easter swarm which I originally thought was from other hive, hived it and put it next to this one. They were pretty identical and this hive started declining. This was a hive I received from an elderly gentleman early spring. He said it was about 6 years old and wow was it stuck together. I was letting it recover from the move (probably lost workers then as he is up on the ridge from me) and am just now getting into it.

    So tonight there was robbing going on.. I thought the deep nector filled frames were secure but bees being bees got in there (the rest had made it to the freezer before I had to leave this morning). So many bees in the nuc and in the deep I put it on a hive stand next to the nuc and am considering giving it brood frames tomorrow too. I would be happy with 2 good hives out of this by summers end. I'll see what is in there tomorrow morning as well as see how much brood I can spare. If not enough I'll put them back together again and monitor it. I'm pretty sure the queen is in the nuc and kind of want to keep her separate now to see what she does.

    thanks again ... I love the learning mistakes and all. I imagine it was close to 100 today out your way! Too hot!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    Yea, pretty warm today too! Have you done any monitoring yet?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    Yea, pretty warm today too! Have you done any monitoring yet?
    hi Ray!
    No as I work in SF all day and when I get home things are calming down and cooling down. There is very little activity with it... I'll go in tomorrow morning and see what is up. I'll let you know, thanks for asking. It is suppose to get to 90 this weekend...

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Laying worker hive .. specific questions please...

    Hey Ray,

    I just looked in the nuc and there are 4 new queen cells capped in there. They do not look easy to transfer so I will leave these be and let the bees do their job. Thank you again for your help!

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