Laying worker or new queen?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 24
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Corfu, NY, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Laying worker or new queen?

    Need some more advice;I'm a new beekeeper and I have a 3 week old hive that started from a package. They are in a 10 frame langstroth, foundationless frames. I haven't been able to find the queen since she was released and only two frames are partially (about 40% each) drawn out as of Saturday. The cells have multiple eggs in them- about 2-3 in the center of each cup. I noticed a couple cells had 5 or more eggs. I pulled did a quick inspection today since it was warm and noticed the same thing since Saturday- maybe a little more drawn comb. The eggs did not seem to have grown. I saw some pollen, bee bread (I think) but mostly cells with eggs or nectar. I intended on waiting longer to recheck, but the weather is supposed to get cold again and I might not be able to get back to the hive for another week. Do you think I should try to re-queen? If so, how soon. Or, it is just too late given the age of the bees from this package? Thanks so much.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Baker, FL
    Posts
    470

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    Do you have a mentor or some else you can get a frame of young brood? The only way I've found to rid a laying worker is to put in brood frames. Additionally, if there are laying workers (sometimes more than one) a new introduced queen may get killed. A frame of brood won't hurt if what you have is a rookie queen...the brood will only strengthen the hive.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Newnan, GA
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    More info is needed:
    1. Are you feeding them? if it's all foundationless and they are expected to draw out all new foundation, then they might bee a bit slow in developing/drawing comb.

    2. What does the capped brood look like? Is it flat or are they all bubbled out? After 3 week, they should have capped brood. My experience with foundationless is that they make more drones than i would like and it makes me question the queen. That is, until i find a solid frame filled with worker brood.

    My advice is to feed heavily for another 10 days or so, and then make the determination.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    if they are in the bottom of the cell they are probably from a queen. It is actually more common then many realize in new colonies started without drawn comb. especially if the queen is very prolific. there simply are not enough cells to keep up with her production and a young queen has not learned control.
    Eggs do not grow. they remain the same until they hatch, the larva grows. Odds are the nurse bees will straighten things out just keep an eye on things for now. Or add some drawn frames.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    5,183

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    If this hive was started from a package 3 weeks ago it sounds like it's way behind where it should be by now. If they have been getting food there should be more comb. If they had a mated queen there should be a good bit of brood in all stages. If they came with a virgin queen, and that queen got mated you should still be seeing 10 days worth of brood - some of which would be capped or at least about to be capped.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but without a good queen and an infusion of young bees your package is slowly circling the drain.

    Sorry. I really am.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Corfu, NY, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    If this hive was started from a package 3 weeks ago it sounds like it's way behind where it should be by now. If they have been getting food there should be more comb. If they had a mated queen there should be a good bit of brood in all stages. If they came with a virgin queen, and that queen got mated you should still be seeing 10 days worth of brood - some of which would be capped or at least about to be capped.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but without a good queen and an infusion of young bees your package is slowly circling the drain.

    Sorry. I really am.
    If I can find a new queen within the next few days, do you think it is salvageable? Thanks.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Palos Verdes, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,277

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    I'm in the same boat as you. When I checked my new package at the 3 week mark I also saw evidence of laying worker. Per Michael Bush's recommendation I added a frame of eggs and open brood from one of my other colonies, and I'll do the same on Saturday, at the 4 weeks mark.

    From the article linked above, a queen added to the hive at this point would probably just get balled and killed :-(

    When I first got started almost exactly two years ago my mentor strongly advised me to add a swarm or package so I'd have two colonies. I politely refused, saying that I had my hands full with one.

    Now I see the wisdom of his advice. Having more than one colony just makes everything easier.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    5,183

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leverits View Post
    If I can find a new queen within the next few days, do you think it is salvageable? Thanks.
    I think that most likely you would waste your money at this point. You probably need brood to save this hive.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Corfu, NY, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    I think that most likely you would waste your money at this point. You probably need brood to save this hive.
    I do have another hive, but they were installed at the same time. That hive is just getting started with brood, so I'm not sure I would have enough and I hate to weaken my last hive.

    Thanks!

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Newnan, GA
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    SINCE YOU HAVE ANOTHER HIVE, YOU COULD ALWAYS DO A NEWSPAPER COMBINE. THEN SPLIT AFTER THEY GET BETTER ESTABLISHED.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    5,183

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    Your queen that is laying can lay a frame of eggs a day - the reason that she doesn't is that she doesn't have enough comb at this point and if she did there wouldn't be enough adult bees to care for it. If you swap a frame of egg/young brood for a frame of drawn comb you have cost the queenright hive almost nothing - Your queen will lay it full of eggs and they will make it up in a day or three - and you have a good chance of saving the other hive.

    This comes up regularly - trust me, what you should do is give them a frame of brood. If I had 4 such hives and only one of them had a good laying queen I would give all three of the queenless ones brood from the one. I understand it but your anxiety about swapping out a frame of brood is baseless.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    5,183

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbybee View Post
    SINCE YOU HAVE ANOTHER HIVE, YOU COULD ALWAYS DO A NEWSPAPER COMBINE. THEN SPLIT AFTER THEY GET BETTER ESTABLISHED.
    Actually combining a hive with laying worker is NOT a good course of action. There is a good chance that the laying queen would be killed.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Corfu, NY, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    Just so I'm clear, I take a frame of brood from my queenright hive and exchange it for a frame with comb that includes the laying worker eggs AND re-queen, or just swap them and hope they make a queen? Please forgive my ignorance on this and maybe stupid questions. Thanks,

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Newnan, GA
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    David, you are correct. I was thinking of another post and responding to this one. Woops!

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    5,183

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    Take a frame of eggs/brood from your queenrite hive, shake all the bees off of it, put it in the laying worker hive. Take a frame of comb from the laying worker hive - empty comb, comb with stores in it, comb with laying worker eggs in it, it doesn't matter much, but empty would be best - shake all of the bees off of it, and put it in the queenrite hive.

    The eggs from the laying worker will probably be cleaned out by the other hive - if not they will grow into drones. Either way, no harm done.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    5,183

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    BTW, you can usually tell the brood from a laying worker from a queen, because a queen will lay a regular more or less solid pattern, and a laying worker will scatter eggs around and not lay a solid pattern. Sometime a newly matted queen will lay multiple eggs in cells for a few days - dozens even - but she will still lay a more or less solid pattern. A poorly mated queen will also lay a solid pattern, but it will contain a lot of drone eggs scattered about and usually laid in worker comb.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  18. #17
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Corfu, NY, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    Thank you!

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Palos Verdes, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,277

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by IAmTheWaterbug View Post
    I'm in the same boat as you. When I checked my new package at the 3 week mark I also saw evidence of laying worker. Per Michael Bush's recommendation I added a frame of eggs and open brood from one of my other colonies, and I'll do the same on Saturday, at the 4 week mark.
    If I did want to requeen or combine this hive, at what point would it be safe for the new queen? When they start queen cells on the donated frames?
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  20. #19
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Henry County, IN
    Posts
    622

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    I am fairly new and dealt with my first laying worker hive last year. It was two years old and I was having queen problems all summer. What I read was that it usually had to be queenless for a decent amount of time to start going laying worker. Is that always the case or are packages different. My newbie mind didn't think a hive would go laying worker in three weeks?

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    5,183

    Default Re: Laying worker or new queen?

    By the time a hive has been queenless for one month it can develop laying worker within just a few more days. Open brood is all gone in about 8 days after the queen is removed - so yes a queenless/broodless package can develop laying worker in just about that time frame - probably quicker because the population is constantly aging and depleting. A healthy hive that is made queenless still has new adult worker bees emerging from existing brood for 3 weeks.

    When I have a hive that has been queenless for a whole month (as in a failed split) I usually shake it out and freeze or redistribute all of the resources. There is no brood or nurse bees by then and the foragers all beg into other hives - any laying workers will be stopped at the entrances. Then you can put together a nuc from fresh resources within a a few days and put it back where the queenless hive was and it will recover some of the foragers that are strongly oriented to the location. For me this is more expeditious than trying to nurse it back to health with weekly brood frames. Wait 10 more days to deal with it and your comb will most likely be slimed by SHB larva and the hive will be a total loss.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •