How long does a laying worker live?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 27
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,108

    Default How long does a laying worker live?

    I'm not sure what to do. The hive next door propped them up with lost bees til I merged them. I dumped the laying worker or poorly mated queen hive about 50 feet from the hive stand, and set the boxes back up when I finished, newspaper combining the one with a queen on top. Except I'm not sure it still had a queen. The 2 frames I robbed from my good hive have hatched out, not loaning them more comb and currently not feeding as stores were adequate and my big hive has their number for feed drips. Went back through last week there was some uncapped brood but in large drone cells. Will check later today. If those are capped drone, well I don't have the freezer space to hold 20 frames and keep hoping for a cutout I can use the frames with.

    My question is: how long does a laying worker live? because this has been going on for a while. If she dies will another worker take her place laying drones? I would like to order a queen for them
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Powhatan, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    400

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    It's not just one. When the pheromones get out of balance many workers start laying. The hive is satisfied and will reject a new queen. If some of the laying workers made it back from the shake out they may also kill the queen in the newspaper combine. Keep looking at the egg laying, a single egg in the bottom of each cell and you should be ok. Multiple eggs some on the sides of the cell and you still have an issue, also drones capped in worker size cells. Some times you can turn them around by adding a frame of open brood and eggs each week for several weeks. When they start to make queen cells on the added frame they should accept a queen or raise their own. Takes resources from other hives to do this, sometimes not the best choice. If you shake them out take them a couple hundred yards away to minimize the chance of laying workers getting back.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Sandy, OR
    Posts
    498

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    Finally had a LW earlier this Spring. Resolved it with a few frames of mixed brood (2) and another frame after a few days with a new queen in an introduction cage. Released her after 4 days and the hive "righted" itself beautifully. Much more effective than the "shake" method.
    Zone 8a - Elev.~ 1,100 ft. Sandy, OR.
    Apiculture: A culmination of animal husbandry and alchemy.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    john's answer above is accurate. all normal queen-right hives likely have a couple of laying workers this is normal. more than a few is a big problem. recent research suggests that up to 1/3 of workers could become laying workers [article, bee culture on-line]. the laying worker tendency is repressed by the presence of a queen and normal brood. we have known this but, the way this works is a recent discovery.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    your title question "how long does a laying worker live? " ...answer: too long.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    2,426

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    Laying workers are a drag.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,108

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    this nuc started with a hatched queen cell. I keep saying laying worker because I only see drone brood and I have failed to find a normal queen BUT I have never seen 2 eggs in a cell, only one and centered. The brood however has been all drone. It got hot on me today too early, will try to check the hive tomorrow morning and see whether last week's uncapped is drone or worker. . The hive with the queen who was laying was overrun by shb (I have since cut some trees down) and I did not see their queen when I merged them but I also did not conduct a search and risk damaging her. Will take a look and maybe take some pics. Thank you for the information.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,942

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    A laying worker hive has thousands of laying workers. Any that are not, will get converted as the others die off until all the workers are all dead of old age. It's the lack of worker brood pheromones that causes them to become laying workers. It is the tiny bit of queen pheromones multiplied by thousands that keeps them from accepting a queen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
    Posts
    1,770

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    The error was that you put the hive back in it's place. The layers go back and still consider it their home, so they will kill any "intruder" queen. Laying worker shake out requires that you eliminate their home hive so they beg their way into a different existing hive in a different location, which hopefully won't allow laying workers to take over it. Doesn't always work that way though, especially if you shake out close by.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,108

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    I may have had an entirely different error. I know that the bottom 2 nuc boxes, the hive I assumed was laying worker, started out with a queen cell, who may or may not have ever gotten mated.

    The top 2 nuc boxes had a purchased queen, but apparently her offspring all liked the corner hive better, she kept laying, they kept hatching, wax got drawn but foragers ended up next door. I found their population extremely low on the day I went out to combine them. (July 12th) and shb had nailed 3 frames. I put them in the freezer did a quick swap out for good drawn frames, threw newspaper in the middle and stacked the hives. I had shaken out the laying worker hive (bottom) first.

    So I went in this evening after the foragers got in, and I found a queen cell, uncapped, with a larva in it. Will a laying worker lay in a queen cell? will the bees even draw one if queenless? I tried to get a pic of the larva but failed for the most part. 8_7_16queencell_nuc.jpg This was the 3rd box up in the nuc stack, where I found this frame and where most of the bees seemed to be. Again I did not find a queen, but if there was one I would bet she was buried under the clump of bees. IF there is a real queen in that cell, I am very happy with the genetics, these bees are productive, their work force was bolstered by a couple of frames from my larger hive 2 weeks ago, to see if they would make a queen. But the age of the larva in that queen cell is wrong. They are just a packing in nectar from some source, I'm not feeding them, and pollen and just as gentle as I could wish. I took a pair of 9 year olds in suits to the apiary last weekend and we went through all 4 boxes.

    So now my question is, hmmmmm is there a real queen larva in that queen cell and can I keep their population up long enough for her to hatch and get mated. I'm guessing 4 or 5 day larva. Cell was not there last Friday I took pictures of patchy drone brood in the frame that had beautifully centered eggs last week when you have seen one patchy drone brood frame you have seen them all. Suggestions?
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
    Posts
    1,770

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    Patchy drone brood is a big sign of laying workers. Laying workers can build a queen cell in an attempt to make a queen, but it will never work since it would be an infertile egg. When you shook out the laying worker hive 50 ft away and put the boxes back in the same place, they all just went back and continued on. It may all be laying workers. There's a chance of it being drone laying queen, but it doesn't sound like it.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,108

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    I have in the past had a queen I could find run out of sperm and produce the same result, but I'm guessing you are right Daniel. I am buying a mated queen to start a nuc from my good big hive with a good laying queen.

    The workers that are wax workers now and are hatching now came from the big hive, they have a couple of weeks before they could fly and join another hive from outside my fence.

    if I can get a queen at bee club tomorrow night I will, if not I will order one, set up that, and hope this nuc can guard and protect its good comb with nectar from shb and moths until I get a queen in and start a hive that needs the comb. My trouble is comb storage. Even with a couple of freezers, I'm short on space since the rooster harvest.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,942

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    >Will a laying worker lay in a queen cell? will the bees even draw one if queenless?

    Yes and yes. They almost always make some queen cells, cap them, and then shortly tear them down. This is an indication, though, that you may have caught things early enough to introduce a queen. They still know they are queenless. Once they have enough laying workers, each making a minute amount of QMP they will stop trying to raise a queen and then they will not accept a queen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,108

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    Well I took a chance today and ordered 2 marked queens. One for this hive, and on for a split off my big hive. If this one fails before they come in week of the 24th, I should be able to sell the extra queen, or maybe I will pick up a cutout that needs re-queened. Thank you for your comments Michael Bush!
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,108

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    so my queens came. The 4 nuc stack that had the laying worker had only 2 drone cells in the bottom 2 boxes, a couple of frames worth in the top 2, also 2 queen cells in the top 2 boxes. I separated the boxes before going through them, moved the top 2 onto a bottom board and put a lid on it, stuck it in my front garden. Gave the caged queen to the bottom 2.
    Hopefully the laying worker will stay with her frames and not return to the old hive position, or the bees in the old hive position, who enthusiastically welcomed the queen, will not let her in.. There are actually a lot of young bees in those top 2 boxes, not sure how to retrieve them as that hive gradually goes down. trying to guard it from ants and moths. When the new queen starts laying in the other 2 boxes, I will probably tear these down and freeze the frames.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
    Posts
    1,770

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    If it is a laying worker hive, more than one worker is most likely laying. It could be many of them. Separating the boxes won't change anything. The whole colony thinks it's queenright. The enthusiasm toward the queen may well be that they enthusiastically want to kill it. Laying worker is hard to fix without other resources and time. Sorry about your situation.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,108

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    I am going to split my large non laying worker hive this morning. I am considering swiping that still caged queen out of the laying worker hive and just making 2 nucs in the split. and taking the bee some distance and dump them.

    There are very few eggs, in all 4 boxes I saw no eggs as a matter of fact. I think the ladies who were most prolifically laying have died. This has been going on for months I quit adding brood in July, there are queen cups now. so... tossup, not sure. There are maybe 30 cells of drone brood about to be capped. my hens would love some drone brood.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
    Posts
    1,770

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    If you are sure it's a laying worker hive, or just not going anywhere for months, then it would be better use for the queen in a split. You need to consider the late season and wintering the splits. I would be extremely careful with those laying worker bees and shaking them out while you are dealing with a split working on queen acceptance. If there were few bees in the LW I personally wouldn't bother shaking them out. And don't put the split on the old LW spot if you do. They could all end up back there, overpower the new split and kill the queen.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,108

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    I have never been sure it was laying worker, only that it was either laying worker or poorly mated queen, started with a hatched queen cell. Will suit up and have a look at things this morning. but there were NO eggs. last time I saw uncapped brood in its first week, or eggs was when there was a larva in a queen cell, August 7th. A few drone cells were purple eye and about to be capped yesterday
    Last edited by Gypsi; 08-25-2016 at 08:18 AM.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
    Posts
    1,770

    Default Re: How long does a laying worker live?

    If all you have found are drones for a long time, the queen cells are probably drones as well in a desperate attempt to have a good queen. The bees are old in the hive too, if no workers have been produced since July. Me, I would abandon the hive if that's the case, and do the nuc with the queen. It at least sounds like a colony that can't get anything together and go forward. I have no idea about what's needed for you to winter colonies, especially nucs, but being in the south should be easier.

    I am curious about your comment that the drones are purple eye and about to be capped. They don't get to purple eye until they've been capped for somewhere close to 2 weeks.

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
  •