Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?
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  1. #1
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    Default Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    I have a colony which I believe is a laying worker colony. I've tried putting in queen cells and various other possible solutions, to no avail. It's about 5 or 6 frames of bees.

    I haven't been able to spot a queen and believed it was a laying worker colony. But it could perhaps be a very small, weak queen that I haven't been able to spot. The thing that's confusing me is that I'm seeing the start of queen cells, filled with royal jelly. Will a laying queen colony ever try to build queen cells with the drone eggs? Or, do I still have a queen in there? Thanks for your help -

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    I have read that they will sometimes build a queen cell with an un-fertile egg, but i've never seen it.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    it could happen just wouldnt be viable..
    "Anytime you see someone more successful than you are, they are doing something you aren't."

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    advice here:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm
    I don't think just putting in queen cells works. I think you need to suppress the laying worker(s) first. Add a frame of brood each week and eventually the colony will raise a queen from that.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    Some beekeepers believe a laying worker hive might move a fertile egg from another hive to raise a queen.
    Dan

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    Research thelytoky. Sorry they don't move eggs.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    Beepro of Sacramento, CA has a good method for dealing with laying workers.

    He places a mature queen cell in a comb of emerging brood and makes a "Laidlaw cage" out of the whole frame, covering it with window screen. The emerging brood accept her, leading the others to accept her, and then her brood outlive the laying workers.

    It takes a few weeks for things to get back to normal, and I expect the additional drone load on the colony might require feeding if the nectar flow isn't thumping, but this is my conjecture only.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 06-24-2014 at 09:59 PM.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    I've had much more luck introducing queen cells to laying worker hives than introducing laying queens. It often works out well.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    Just got a laying worker colony queen right. The colony killed a caged queen. I gave them a grafted cell it hatched but was lost in mating; when I checked it a couple of weeks after verifying the hatched cell it was full of drone layers. I gave them brood three consecutive weeks but they drew no queen cells. On week two I gave them a three day old cell. They worked on it some then tore it down. I added another frame that week. There were still drone layers at that point. Last week I had some virgins that hatched early so I tried to release one in the entrance but they tried to attack her. I caged her, placed her over the hole in the top cover, placed the lid on and released her the next day. Checked today and she was laying. I have had some success direct releasing virgins after a few weeks of adding brood. Sometimes it takes several tries.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    [QUOTE=Michael Bush;1126771]Yes.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/huber.htm#maleeggsinroyalcells
    Ihttp://www.bushfarms.com/huber.htm#onlymaleeggs

    And sometimes they are even viable, but I would certainly not plan on it:
    https://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...s-mellifera-l/[/QUOTE ] if they got 18 colonies to rear queens from laying worker eggs, why hasn't anyone spent more time on this and try to breed for this trait ?

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    >why hasn't anyone spent more time on this and try to breed for this trait ?

    I suppose if we all left laying worker hives to their demise we would breed for it, but its too long of a shot... Dee Lusby's bees seem to do it the a significant amount of the time. But everyone assumes they are Africanized and don't want to breed from them. I know they are not as nice as what I want... so I'll have to just get by with bees I have to requeen when they go laying worker...

    My guess is that when it does happen we usually miss it as it takes a lot of attention to be sure that is what occurred.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    Earlier this year, I had a friend with a colony that was laying worker for at least 3-4 weeks. I gave it a frame of open brood, and then a queen cell the next day and it worked just fine.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >why hasn't anyone spent more time on this and try to breed for this trait ?

    I suppose if we all left laying worker hives to their demise we would breed for it, but its too long of a shot... Dee Lusby's bees seem to do it the a significant amount of the time. But everyone assumes they are Africanized and don't want to breed from them. I know they are not as nice as what I want... so I'll have to just get by with bees I have to requeen when they go laying worker...

    My guess is that when it does happen we usually miss it as it takes a lot of attention to be sure that is what occurred.

    I've seen some YouTube videos of her, could some of that agrrssion be from the way she handles them ? . She doesn't appear to be none too gentle with them lol

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    One time when we were with a bunch of beekeepers going through Dees yards early in the season.

    There was one hive that looked queenless. A commercial beekeeper from Canada was with us and really wanted to grab a frame of brood from another hive....this was probably early march.

    Dees response was, "no...if I have a high level of thyletoky in my bees, why would I want to select against it?"

    The Cape bee has workers that will lay fertile queens in other hives (including mellifera) in order to supercede/take over...considered a parasite. I've heard a few reports of Cape bee like colonies in florida but we don't officially have them in the states.
    Sometimes the lights all shining on me
    Other times I can barely see. -The Grateful Dead

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    deknow - There is a good chance some Capensis genetics were brought over to South America during the 1956 experiment that resulted in the AHB. Some of those colonies transported to South America were from South Africa (and thus could have been A.M. scutellata crosses with A.M. capensis), others came from farther up the Great Rift Valley.

    This could possibly explain the reports of the Cape Bee-like colonies in Florida, and possibly the thelytoky in the Lusby's bees, if they have some AHB genetics.

    Just speculation...it would take a genetic study to determine if this were the case.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I've had much more luck introducing queen cells to laying worker hives than introducing laying queens. It often works out well.
    Queen cells and eggs and brood are a sure path to success.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Can a laying worker colony build queen cells?

    >could some of that agrrssion be from the way she handles them ?

    Yes.

    > She doesn't appear to be none too gentle with them lol

    She is not.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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