Laying worker question
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN
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    1

    Default Laying worker question

    I had a booming hive early in the season and did an artificial swarm removing the old queen. The old hive built QC's but I never saw evidence of a mated queen returning. I now have a hive with lots of spotty drone cells scattered about. I think I have laying workers and not a drone laying queen. I added a frame of brood every week for 4 weeks but that did not correct he problem. At this point I am tired of adding resources to the hive. Without brood, they have bringing in quite a bit of nectar, so I was thinking I would not worry about fixing the problem while the flow was on.

    I am in building mode at this point. I have 1 really strong hive, 1 moderately strong/growing hive and 5 small nucs that are still getting started.

    I thought about putting a double screen on top of the LW hive and then put one of the stronger nucs on top of that to teach them what a real queen and worker brood should smell like. Leave them like that for a few weeks and then combine if the LW's stop laying.

    Otherwise, I was thinking of just shaking out the LW hive 100 yards away and taking down the original stack to let the bees drift into other colonies.

    Will shaking out the LW hive hurt my existing nucs? 2 nucs have recently installed queens that should be laying any day, 1 has a QC ready to hatch. I would love to shake out the LW hive at this point but don't want to do anything to harm the small nucs that I have started. Perhaps I should make sure all of the nucs have queens that are laying strong and then shake out?

    I appreciate any thoughts.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,545

    Default Re: Laying worker question

    A single screen rather than a double would allow more exchange of queen pheremones (feeding through the single screen)

    Because of reduced worker brood production, a LW colony will have a generally older age bee so there is not much value in them; far less than the value of a nuc and its queen, so I would take those bees on a several mile road trip to shake them out.
    Frank

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    wnc
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Laying worker question

    Shake them out. Use the drawn comb to help boost your other hives.

    A laying worker hive is just not worth the effort trying to correct.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Ozark, AL
    Posts
    800

    Default Re: Laying worker question

    Quote Originally Posted by HillBilly2 View Post
    Shake them out. Use the drawn comb to help boost your other hives.

    A laying worker hive is just not worth the effort trying to correct.
    Agree. You can save a hive, sometimes, but it is just not worth the time, effort,and resources. No need to haul the miles away, though. Around the corner of the house will work just fine.
    Last edited by Groundhwg; 06-14-2019 at 08:12 AM.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,545

    Default Re: Laying worker question

    If there are enough other colonies in the area where the laying worker hive was removed then returning laying workers will probably disperse enough to not overwhelm and possibly kill existing queens. If you want to remove any possibility of this, take them a long ways away to shake out. The odds are, you likely would get away with it.
    Frank

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Hartford Ohio
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Laying worker question

    These are a pain. If you only have a couple hives it is a hard choice, Dawn dish soap works well, then start with new bees

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    408

    Default Re: Laying worker question

    My experience is that if you use a single screen (I use a screen bottom board), after a week half or more of the bees in the problem hive will have migrated to the queenrite colony, attracted by the scent of brood and a strong queen. After the week, I just remove the screen bottom board.

    Only one time has this not worked, and I found a freshly mated queen had started to lay, attracting bees the reverse way I was anticipating. So I removed the screen bottom board and replaced it with a queen excluder to see if I can learn how to run a 2 queen hive.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    I always have an idea what I shouldn't have done after the fact.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    Posts
    194

    Default Re: Laying worker question

    Landi Simone, master beekeeper from EAS, came up with this simple solution for fixing a laying worker hive.
    Pick a strong hive and install a queen excluder on it. Next, stack the laying worker hive on top of the QE. The worker bees from the strong hive will go up into the laying worker hive and kill the laying workers - THEY DO NOT SMELL RIGHT! This works. In a few days you will see dead bees on the ground in front of the hive. You can then combine them or separate them and introduce a new queen.
    It is what it is!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,048

    Default Re: Laying worker question

    I think you could try either a screen or a shake. At this point, you've put a lot of energy into it. If it were me, I'd just screen and combine. I've had some success with that method in the past.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,224

    Default Re: Laying worker question

    Post # 1 Gets you a welcome.

    Between moving a full hive and 5 small nucs I would move the nucs and leave them there if I could find a spot. Less likely to face a rob out when the flow stops.

    Between moving a large hive and moving a single body I would move sections. Maybe two onto your strong and one onto your fairly strong hive. Add a frame of brood to each and give the donor an empty to lay in. repeat in a week.

    You've waited a month, you do not need to finish in an hour. If you were to do a fly back split with the remainder of your LW hive moving all of the remaining you will have only field bees returning. ( At least with the theory that LWs have never left the hive and cannot find their way back, dubious on that one) They, without any LWs or queen may start cells. If not they will raise worker brood and make honey, at least get prepped to be moved.

    Some scattered drone brood does not sound entirely like LW. Not usually any bare spots unless very early LW. Shaking out a queen, even a bad queen is bad odds for a nuc or multiple nucs.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Ozark, AL
    Posts
    800

    Default Re: Laying worker question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bdfarmer555 View Post
    My experience is that if you use a single screen (I use a screen bottom board), after a week half or more of the bees in the problem hive will have migrated to the queenrite colony, attracted by the scent of brood and a strong queen. After the week, I just remove the screen bottom board.

    Only one time has this not worked, and I found a freshly mated queen had started to lay, attracting bees the reverse way I was anticipating. So I removed the screen bottom board and replaced it with a queen excluder to see if I can learn how to run a 2 queen hive.
    Only one time it did not work.....how many time has it worked for you?

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    408

    Default Re: Laying worker question

    Quote Originally Posted by Groundhwg View Post
    Only one time it did not work.....how many time has it worked for you?
    Less than 10 times. 3 or so with laying workers, and 3-4 times with hives that for whatever reason, I could not get them to take a queen with multiple tries. After as much as 6 weeks without brood, they were bound to be at the point of developing lw.

    The time referenced above was this year, the only time I've had a young queen show up. But not a total loss, in fact, I'd say it shows the safety of the method. Both queens would not have survived had i not had the screen in place.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    I always have an idea what I shouldn't have done after the fact.

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