Beginner mistake with laying workers?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Victor, New York, USA
    Posts
    36

    Default Beginner mistake with laying workers?

    I decided to combine my queenless colony with a healthy colony but neglected to consider the possibility of laying workers. The weak colony has been queenless for about 2 months and I noticed spotty capped brood on one frame when combining so I'm thinking I have laying workers. I removed that frame three days later and it had several small supercedure cells on it. I'm guessing I should go back in and look to see if the original queen is still there, but any advice on what to do if I cannot find her? Will the continuing presence of laying workers doom the colony?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Hillsboro, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    1,688

    Default Re: Beginner mistake with laying workers?

    The spotty brood will be drone brood if it is a laying worker problem. I would look well for the queen, but also, I would take a look at the eggs in the cells. If it is a failing queen, there will be just one egg in each cell; but if there is multiple eggs per cell, you definitely have a laying worker problem.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    10,200

    Default Re: Beginner mistake with laying workers?

    Yes, what Benjamin said. Also, don't worry about the "supersedure cells", they will have drones in them and will not survive long enough to hatch. If it's got a drone laying queen you'll need to find and kill her before doing the combine, if it's laying workers go ahead and do the combine using newspaper plus a queen excluder between, the excluder is to stop the queen wandering down into a crowd of unfriendly bees before they have accepted her.

    3 weeks after the combine remove the excluder.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Victor, New York, USA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Beginner mistake with laying workers?

    Thanks, but too late for preventative measures. Guess I will just hope for the best: (1) queen survives any attacks by laying workers and their posse, or (2) queen dies but remaining colony decides to make a new queen in spite of presence of laying workers. Otherwise I'm cooked. This will be an education!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    10,200

    Default Re: Beginner mistake with laying workers?

    Oh, you already did the combine.

    OK well you don't say what method you used, but the majority of the time it works, even if not quite done right. Just, don't disturb them leave them alone for a good couple of weeks from when you did the combine, to sort themselves out, nothing you can do to improve things.

    Come back and report once you've discovered how it went just so we know.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

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