Laying workers question
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  1. #1

    Default Laying workers question

    I'm new to beekeeping and this is my first year. Recently caught a local swarm and put them in a nuc (April 7th) so almost a month to the day. At first everything seemed to be going ok, but then I noticed there was no brood like my other two hives. Then sporadic drone cells only. Then lots of dying bees outside the nuc. Lots of eggs per cell. I gave them one frame of eggs, larvae and capped worker brood from my other hive. I will post pictures but would like someone to confirm my suspicion.

    The real problem is they never made a queen cell, so I decided to shake them out. And in that process found a queen sitting on the bottom of the nuc... I found 3 queen cups, but none were drawn out and they were not on the new frame of brood I gave them, only old cups on drone comb. So I'm lost... Am I crazy?
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    431

    Default Re: Laying workers question

    Wondering your location. It helps a lot to help diagnose some of these things. I'd think maybe you caught an afterswarm with a virgin, then the weather turned bad and she didn't get to mate?

    Usually the presence of a queen is enough to suppress laying workers, but no question that first pic appears to be exactly that.

    Do you have any hives nearby? Coulda been a virgin (well, not anymore) from another hive that returned to the wrong hive after a mating flight.

    I'm not completely convinced that second pic is all drone brood.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    I always have an idea what I shouldn't have done after the fact.

  4. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bdfarmer555 View Post
    Wondering your location. It helps a lot to help diagnose some of these things. I'd think maybe you caught an afterswarm with a virgin, then the weather turned bad and she didn't get to mate?

    Usually the presence of a queen is enough to suppress laying workers, but no question that first pic appears to be exactly that.

    Do you have any hives nearby? Coulda been a virgin (well, not anymore) from another hive that returned to the wrong hive after a mating flight.

    I'm not completely convinced that second pic is all drone brood.
    I'm in northern California. I figured I either just didn't get the queen, or she was a virgin and died trying to mate or something along those lines. The pictures don't seem to be the best quality, might be easier to view this way. No particular order. http://imgur.com/a/yXyD3HJ

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    4,208

    Default Re: Laying workers question

    You did the right thing. I hope you pinched the old queen. Clearly that girl has had a hard life. The worst thing you could do was pour more good resources at this situation.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: Laying workers question

    Yep, the first pic looks to be laying worker, and the excess drone cells go with that. i would not waste any more on this colony, shake the bees out and move on.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,582

    Default Re: Laying workers question

    I'm not sure what the last picture is supposed to be. If you think that black bee is a queen, it's not. Yes, you have laying workers. And they often build queen cups and even often build queen cells.

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

  8. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I'm not sure what the last picture is supposed to be. If you think that black bee is a queen, it's not. Yes, you have laying workers. And they often build queen cups and even often build queen cells.

    http://bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm
    That is what I thought it was... What is it then? Thanks for the reply, I've learned most of what I know from your site and videos! Really appreciate all the information you've put out for us.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,582

    Default Re: Laying workers question

    The black bee is a hairless bee. Probably a virus.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    5,453

    Default Re: Laying workers question

    Yep, no queen there.

  11. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The black bee is a hairless bee. Probably a virus.
    Oh no... Yeah I looked that up and that explains a few symptoms that hive was having.

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