Egg eating bees
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Thread: Egg eating bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Egg eating bees

    New package installed at the end of April. Doing well, lots of eggs brood and stores. Then the wise beekeeper made a split to make queen cells. A month later decided to add the queenless bees back to the main colony, now the eggs are being eaten. Good queen, lays well, but all the eggs are disappearing.
    Now I know I should not have added the queenless bees to the colony. What should I do next?
    Advice?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,260

    Default Re: Egg eating bees

    Nobody answered this so I'll at least ask how your pollen stores in the hive are looking. Typically, when eggs are getting eaten, there is a serious lack of protein in the hive. Try putting in some pollen patty and see if that turns things around.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,207

    Default Re: Egg eating bees

    This doesn't make a whole lot of sense (to me), because if the colony was short of protein, then you'd think that the queen wouldn't be laying eggs in the first place ... But yes - why not ? - try a pollen patty.

    I'm also wondering (clutching at straws here) if Laying Workers might be responsible - although if eggs are being removed wholesale - how could this ever be confirmed ?

    It's very odd, I've never heard of this sort of thing happening before when returning bees from a failed split. Curious.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,260

    Default Re: Egg eating bees

    LJ, I am throwing darts in a dark room. No idea if the additional bees and the egg eating are even related. But if they are, a pollen patty and syrup are like chicken soup when you are sick, may not help, but sure can't hurt either.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,207

    Default Re: Egg eating bees

    Sure - I'm on your side ... This really is a curious one, and anything's worth trying. I agree with your thinking - it may just work and can't do any harm.

    I've done a quick Google, and it appears that egg-eating is a fairly common behaviour within the insect world - but always for 'positive' purposes - such as the policing of worker-produced eggs, or to eliminate eggs of foreign origin. I haven't found anything remotely connected to the OP's current problem.

    There was one reference to eggs which have been laid outside of the 'normal' brood-nest area being eaten, as they wouldn't have been kept warm enough in that position - but that's very much selective egg-eating, which is not the case here.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Egg eating bees

    I am so grateful for your help! The problem has resolved with time. I now have eggs and brood. My thought was that if you add a frame of eggs and brood to a queenless colony (an old cell starter) they will eat the eggs. Well, I added those bees to the colony. Could it be that they ate the eggs and with exposure to the queen pheromone they calmed down or am I way off on my reasoning?
    Also, as a newbie, I wanted to get another colony started before winter. Was I moving too aggressively? Should I leave them alone for a year? The bees are ready to start a “go fund me” to buy another hive so I will leave them alone!

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