Laying worker vs. bad queen?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    182

    Default Laying worker vs. bad queen?

    Hey all,

    Need some help figuring out next move. I have a 2nd season hive that wintered great but swarmed last month. I have another wintered hive that's doing great and 2 rapidly growing queenright nucs. I requeened the swarmed hive with a mated queen. Took her a while to start laying, and when she did I noted several multi-egg cells. But given the many single-egg cells I racked it up to young queen learning the ropes of laying.

    Today I inspected and was surprised to see LOADS of capped drone brood. There is some worker brood but I'd say 90% is drone. I found the queen (she's marked so it's definitely the original introduced mated queen). There are also a few supercedure cells- one capped.

    So I'm thinking the possibilities are that I've either got a laying worker OR a poorly mated queen who's mostly laying drones. I remember reading that laying workers will usually kill an introduced queen?
    -Do they even co-exist with a queen?

    My options at this point, as I see it:
    1) let nature take its course- if they're raising a queen from one for the few fertilized eggs then great. (Would they ever try to raise a queen cell from drone larva?)
    2) smush existing queen and queen cells and swap in a proven laying queen from one of the nucs. But- if there is a laying worker, would I be back to square one if laying workers can co-exist with queen?

    Here's a few pics of some brood frames.

    Thanks for any input.

    Brad IMG_1473.jpgIMG_2009.jpgIMG_5345.jpgIMG_8945.jpg

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
    Posts
    1,425

    Default Re: Laying worker vs. bad queen?

    There’s worker brood mixed in with the drone, I doubt if you’ve got LW’s. To save the colony and a lot of time I’d do the nuc combine myself.
    Rod

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Laying worker vs. bad queen?

    thanks Rod.

    Yeah I'm really having a tough time figuring out best move here. My fear is that I combine the nuc and then find out that there is a coexisting laying worker (which I understand is unlikely, but possible).. and then I've blown a good nuc as well.

    Maybe best move here is to go sacrifice existing queen. Then check in 5 days-- if there are eggs then there's a laying worker. If no eggs then I squash the queen cells and combine nuc. Ok, I think I just talked myself into it.

    Does this make sense?

    thanks

    brad

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    Posts
    195

    Default Re: Laying worker vs. bad queen?

    There cannot be a laying worker if you have only one regular capped worker cell. I see several in the pics. This is a drone laying queen. No question about it.
    It is what it is!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Laying worker vs. bad queen?

    ok-- that's helpful. I guess best plan is just to combine then. It's a relatively small nuc with a good laying queen (started about 3 weeks ago.. full 5 frame deep, 2 full frames of bees top 5 frame deep). To combine should I dispatch queen in drone hive, and move my best nuc frames into 8 frame deep box and put on top of drone hive/separate with newspaper? Or.. should I cage the good queen from the nuc and sugar spray/introduce the best nuc frames/ and introduce the queen in a cage to be released? HAven't done a nuc combine before

    thanks

    brad

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Laying worker vs. bad queen?

    just dispatched the queen and QC's.. will give them a day of being queenless and then combine tomorrow. I have 2 supers on the hive so I figure I'll condense nuc into single 8 frame deep box and stick this under the drone filled hive separated by the newspaper.. then I can just keep the supers on the hive. fingers crossed

    thanks

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