Laying worker and queen in the same hive
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  1. #1
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    Jun 2017
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    Default Laying worker and queen in the same hive

    Is it possible to have a laying worker in one part of a hive co-existing with a good queen in another part?
    I added a medium super for honey to a two deep hive in May. Yesterday when I inspected the hive, first time in about two weeks, they'd filled out several of the medium frames with honey but the two in the center were filled with solid drone brood. After I got down into the brood supers, there was excellent brood pattern and I saw the queen, so I know she's doing her job. I didn't see any drone brood cells any other place in the hive except on the frames covered with them. The drone frames also had a lot of what I call practice swarm cells.
    I don't use queen excluders. Maybe Dadant sent me a couple drone wax foundations? I'm puzzled or is this just something I've never seen in my beekeeping experience yet? What should I do? Thanks

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  3. #2
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    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Laying worker and queen in the same hive

    The answer to that would generally be no.

    Drone brood is desirably raised in purpose built drone sized cells, by choice, by a normal healthy queen; from your description I think that is what you are seeing. A queen who is running out of sperm (drone layer queen) will fail to fertilize eggs but they will be laid in worker sized cells. Laying workers will lay drone producing eggs, usually many per cell, higgledy piggledy all over. Both laying worker and drone laying queens brood will have bullet nosed cappings in worker size cells.
    Frank

  4. #3
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    Apr 2018
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    Default Re: Laying worker and queen in the same hive

    A queen will lay some drones in worker foundation if she/the hive feels that they need drones. Worker foundation contains less drones, but it will still have drones in a strong hive.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Laying worker and queen in the same hive

    Quote Originally Posted by elmer_fud View Post
    A queen will lay some drones in worker foundation if she/the hive feels that they need drones. Worker foundation contains less drones, but it will still have drones in a strong hive.
    Yes, I have seen scattered drone cells on worker foundation but usually around edges and bottoms and around the ejection dot flaws in plastic foundation. It wouldnt usuallly be solid drone though would it? I have had the workers tear down comb in centers of honey super frames, draw it out drone size and the queen will lay that solid.

    What is your thoughts re; laying worker and queen together?
    Frank

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Laying worker and queen in the same hive

    Are you seeing multiple eggs per cell? If so you may have a laying worker, but I think that would be really odd if you have a good queen.

    I think I have seen groups of drone cells on foundation, but at this point I have a mix of foundation and foundation less so I am not going to say that I have definitely seen this.

    Bees are animals, and like humans they do stuff we don't understand sometimes. I would be sort of inclined to keep an eye on the hive and see if it returns to normal.

  7. #6
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    Jun 2016
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    Geauga, Ohio
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    Default Re: Laying worker and queen in the same hive

    Bees want 10% + of the hive to be drones. So... that's at least 2 frames in a 20 frame. When you give 20 frames of worker-only sized, they get creative. Drone brood that is laid in continuous patches in _drone sized_ cells is a sign the hive is strong.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Laying worker and queen in the same hive

    Quote Originally Posted by CDaveH View Post
    Yesterday when I inspected the hive, first time in about two weeks, they'd filled out several of the medium frames with honey but the two in the center were filled with solid drone brood. After I got down into the brood supers, there was excellent brood pattern and I saw the queen, so I know she's doing her job. [...] I don't use queen excluders.
    Seems clear enough. For me the key phrase is "solid drone brood" - that's an indication that this was laid by a healthy, functioning queen. Drones from laying workers (in my experience) tend to be more scattered and thus more erratically patterned.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    erie, pa
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    Default Re: Laying worker and queen in the same hive

    As a rule, Without going into the there are always laying workers in a hive discussion. If there is brood in the hive Even if a queen is not present there will not be a exuberant laying worker. Pheromones emitted by the brood keep the laying worker in check. That combined with the fact it is a solid pattern would lead me to suspect a normal queenright drone fulfilment.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Laying worker and queen in the same hive

    If you have a layig queen and open brood you won’t have a layng worker problem but every colony has a few laying workers.

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

  11. #10
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    Mar 2018
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    Greenwood, MO, USA
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    Default

    What does the hive do with the cells with multiple eggs when it is Queen right? Do they remove all the eggs or do they allow it to develop into a drone?
    Started in 2018 2 nucs zone 6b

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
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    444

    Default Re: Laying worker and queen in the same hive

    Quote Originally Posted by CDaveH View Post
    Is it possible to have a laying worker in one part of a hive co-existing with a good queen in another part?
    I added a medium super for honey to a two deep hive in May. Yesterday when I inspected the hive, first time in about two weeks, they'd filled out several of the medium frames with honey but the two in the center were filled with solid drone brood. After I got down into the brood supers, there was excellent brood pattern and I saw the queen, so I know she's doing her job. I didn't see any drone brood cells any other place in the hive except on the frames covered with them. The drone frames also had a lot of what I call practice swarm cells.
    I don't use queen excluders. Maybe Dadant sent me a couple drone wax foundations? I'm puzzled or is this just something I've never seen in my beekeeping experience yet? What should I do? Thanks
    "I don't use queen excluders." so there is your answer, she went up and laid a few drones. Do or do not do?? What would you do?. If the queen has "access" to drone comb she may choose to put eggs in some. This is normal behavior. For info you could open some at the purple eye stage to see if they have mite in the cells. they will either back fill the cells with honey or lay them up again, once hatched.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,582

    Default Re: Laying worker and queen in the same hive

    >What does the hive do with the cells with multiple eggs when it is Queen right?

    Multiple eggs are a result of half of the workers in a colony laying at once. When here are only a few laying workers there are no multiple eggs. Drone eggs in worker cells are removed by the “egg police” because they are the wrong gender. Queens often lay double eggs that are also removed.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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