Laying Worker Hive - Status update and question
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Plainfield, Illinois
    Posts
    27

    Default Laying Worker Hive - Status update and question

    On June 29th we inspected our hives and came across one that had a laying worker. This hive was a package introduced in April that had a marked, laying queen. They superseeded her about 8 weeks after the installation and it looks like she never made it back to the hive, which resulted in the 2-3 weeks without the right pheromones to suppress the LW.

    We disassembled the hive, shook out all of the bees, reasembled, added two frames of eggs and young larvae, and introduced a new (proven layer) queen. After 5 days in the cage, we released her and the hive accepted her.

    We performed another inspection yesterday, (about 1 week after the release of the new queen) and I still see multiple eggs per cell, so I thought that they killed the queen. I was surprised to see her just fine in the lower brood chamber.

    Occasionally I did see some single egg cells, along with bees bringing in pollen, but I am still concerned with the sight of multiple eggs.

    When I found the Queen, I removed her frame, and moved it to the center of the lower brood chamber and added drawn empty frames on each side of her frame, with the thought, that she will be able to lay in un-adulterated cells. I also added a Queen excluder (thinking) that maybe that would isolate the LW from the Queen. After a night of further thinking upon it, I believe that the thorax is the only portion of the Queen that cannot pass an excluder and a LW should be able to still fit, so I am opting to pull it tonight.

    Now for my questions:
    If the hive isn't feeding an egg (most of the cells with multiple eggs look dry) will it change into a larvae? (my thought is that I may have succeeded in removing the LW, but I still see eggs, so maybe they are dead eggs that haven't been removed)

    IF the above thought is incorrect, returning to what I have read and been taught : It takes 3 days from egg to larvae stage, so if I am still seeing multiple eggs per cell, my next thought is that implys that I still have a LW. Correct?

    If the above thought is correct, then : In my past reading, it was mentioned that the LW would kill the Queen, however, it doesn't seem to be the case. Am I correct to assume that the LW will eventually die (assuming she is aging like any other worker 42 days typ. life span) and my Queen will ultimately gain the upper hand?

    Will adding more frames of nurse bees and proper eggs and larvae ultimately correct the imbalance, or should I just consider this a dying hive and save the marked queen for a split or near-future queen replacement?

    Has anyone ran across this as well?


    Thanks,
    Chelle
    3H Apiary - Youtube Channel :
    [URL="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiJWeyUX6PXKfNqOEAGTrhA[/URL]

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    683

    Default Re: Laying Worker Hive - Status update and question

    Hives which are queenless have many laying workers, not just one. Queen excluder is pointless.

    1 week after the queen introduction in a cage is a little too early to see lots of eggs, i've only done one split with a caged mated queen, and she didn't lay properly for about two weeks. I think it takes some time for them to get the brood frames ready.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,942

    Default Re: Laying Worker Hive - Status update and question

    >On June 29th we inspected our hives and came across one that had a laying worker.

    A booming queen right hive has about 50-60 laying workers. A "laying worker" hive has thousands of laying workers.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm#multiple

    > We disassembled the hive, shook out all of the bees, reasembled, added two frames of eggs and young larvae, and introduced a new (proven layer) queen. After 5 days in the cage, we released her and the hive accepted her.

    Lucky.

    >We performed another inspection yesterday, (about 1 week after the release of the new queen) and I still see multiple eggs per cell, so I thought that they killed the queen. I was surprised to see her just fine in the lower brood chamber.

    Queens often lay multiple eggs.
    http://bushfarms.com/beesfallacies.htm#doubleeggs

    >When I found the Queen, I removed her frame, and moved it to the center of the lower brood chamber and added drawn empty frames on each side of her frame, with the thought, that she will be able to lay in un-adulterated cells. I also added a Queen excluder (thinking) that maybe that would isolate the LW from the Queen. After a night of further thinking upon it, I believe that the thorax is the only portion of the Queen that cannot pass an excluder and a LW should be able to still fit

    Correct. But the source of your multiple eggs is the queen.

    > If the hive isn't feeding an egg (most of the cells with multiple eggs look dry) will it change into a larvae?

    If it is kept warm and humid enough all the eggs will hatch.

    > (my thought is that I may have succeeded in removing the LW, but I still see eggs, so maybe they are dead eggs that haven't been removed)

    The egg police will remove all drone eggs found in worker cells unless there are too many for them to keep up. They will also remove duplicate larvae. I would not worry about it.

    >IF the above thought is incorrect, returning to what I have read and been taught : It takes 3 days from egg to larvae stage, so if I am still seeing multiple eggs per cell, my next thought is that implys that I still have a LW. Correct?

    Incorrect.

    >If the above thought is correct, then : In my past reading, it was mentioned that the LW would kill the Queen, however, it doesn't seem to be the case.

    It's only when there are too many laying workers that this happens.

    >Am I correct to assume that the LW will eventually die (assuming she is aging like any other worker 42 days typ. life span) and my Queen will ultimately gain the upper hand?

    Any significant number of laying workers will be suppressed after three weeks of exposure to open brood pheromones.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingw...htm#pheromones

    See page 11 of Wisdom of the hive:

    "the queen's pheromones are neither necessary nor sufficient for inhibiting worker's ovaries. Instead, they strongly inhibit the workers from rearing additional queens. It is now clear that the pheromones that provide the proximate stimulus for workers to refrain from laying eggs come mainly from the brood, not from the queen (reviewed in Seeling 1985; see also Willis, Winston, and Slessor 1990)."

    There are always a few laying workers in any hive:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm#multiple

    See page 9 of "The Wisdom of the Hive"

    "Although worker honey bees cannot mate, they do possess ovaries and can produce viable eggs; hence they do have the potential to have male offspring (in bees and other Hymenoptera, fertilized eggs produce females while unfertilized eggs produce males). It is now clear, however, that this potential is exceedingly rarely realized as long as a colony contains a queen (in queenless colonies, workers eventually lay large numbers of male eggs; see the review in Page and Erickson 1988). One supporting piece of evidence comes from studies of worker ovary development in queenright colonies, which have consistently revealed extremely low levels of development. All studies to date report far fewer than 1 % of workers have ovaries developed sufficiently to lay eggs (reviewed in Ratnieks 1993; see also Visscher 1995a). For example, Ratnieks dissected 10,634 worker bees from 21 colonies and found that only 7 had moderately developed egg (half the size of a completed egg) and that just one had a fully developed egg in her body."

    If you do the math, in a normal booming queenright hive of 100,000 bees that's 70 laying workers. In a laying worker hive it's much higher.

    >Will adding more frames of nurse bees and proper eggs and larvae ultimately correct the imbalance, or should I just consider this a dying hive and save the marked queen for a split or near-future queen replacement?

    You have a laying queen. In three weeks everything will be normal.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,313

    Default Re: Laying Worker Hive - Status update and question

    What I do when I get a laying worker hive I just take a nuc that is queen right and slap it on top and it as work every time I had to do this.
    First I cut a piece of plywood to fit over the DBBL. deep with a hole the size of the nuc

    then I put down paper.

    And ad nuc

    Works every time.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    2,080

    Default Re: Laying Worker Hive - Status update and question

    I think your hive is going to be ok, if the queen you put in there is there and alive after that much time you should be ok. I would stay out of the hive for a couple weeks until she gets some brood laid up. You may still have some laying workers in there but, once the brood from your new queen starts hatching things will start to turn around. I have been able to save a few laying worker hives by slipping a ripe queen cell in on them. When I have done this it takes several weeks for things to completely get back to normal. A lot of the drones the workers laid will end up hatching but, as the new bees from the queen starts hatching they will get rid of some of the drones and things will get back to normal.

    What Glock posted is good advice too. Its one more reason to always keep at least a few nucs around.

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