Queen loss in winter, laying workers
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Queen loss in winter, laying workers

    While in my hive yesterday, it appears that my queen is gone and I have laying workers. I base this on the broad pattern and swore I saw a few drones. Based on it being only January, what would you recommend I do with this situation. Any input is greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,793

    Default Re: Queen loss in winter, laying workers

    Drones can be in a hive at any time of the year, just in small numbers in the winter. Did you see multiple eggs in numerous cells,many on the sides of the cell? That more than pattern is the indicator for laying workers. Lots of drones being raised in worker cells indicates a laying worker. When is spring for you? As soon as possible arrange for a new colony of bees. You may have old bees already that are hard to get to take a new queen. Then you can shake your existing colony out on the ground several yards away and install the new one and let the geriactric old ones beg there way in. Good luck.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Egg Harbor Township, NJ
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Queen loss in winter, laying workers

    I don't know if its the warm winter so far, but I have drones still in a booming hive, and on one of our state message boards on facebook, members from northern new jersey have said the same.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,778

    Default Re: Queen loss in winter, laying workers

    > I base this on the broad pattern and swore I saw a few drones.

    What do you mean by "the broad pattern"? Are there multiple eggs? A few scattered drone cells and a few scattered larvae?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Rome, GA
    Posts
    369

    Default Re: Queen loss in winter, laying workers

    I had some drones flying in and out of one of my hives this past Sunday.
    Let's Eat Grandmaw ........... Let's Eat, Grandmaw.......Grammar Saves Lives

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,509

    Default Re: Queen loss in winter, laying workers

    A few drones present in a hive in January in Georgia is not uncommon and would not, standing alone, make me believe I had laying workers. I would be looking for capped drones on my brood frames. Where a worker brood is capped roughly level with the cell, drones laid in worker comb have a bulbous appearance that mushroom well above the standard height of the neighboring worker brood cells. If you are seeing scattered patterns of this type, then you likely have a laying worker or drone layer.

    I would be careful of shaking them out at this time of year. You could overwhelm a neighboring colony in your apiary that might not have the provisions to support an immediate increase in population. I would likely ride it out and hope that you are wrong.

    Here is a picture of capped drones in a laying worker hive

    Drone-Brood-from-Laying-Worker1.jpg

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Durham, North Carolina
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Queen loss in winter, laying workers

    I lost a queen in December my first year as a beekeeper. I fortunately took the advice of locals and had two hives. I ended up taking frames of uncapped brood from the queen right have and swapped them with empties from the queenless hive. It took several frames, warm weather, and patience but the hive eventually made a queen. I learned all this from Michael Bush and his website.

    Do you have another hive to borrow from?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Queen loss in winter, laying workers

    Scattered drone cells with no sign of regular brood is what I have observed.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Queen loss in winter, laying workers

    Regarding another hive to borrow from, yes I do. That is good advise. Thank you.

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