Laying worker help
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  1. #1
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    May 2005
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    Default Laying worker help

    So I discovered a laying worker hive 6 days ago. I shook all the bees out about 40 yards away through the woods and installed a mated queen via push in cage the next day. I also installed 2 frames of open and capped brood. 5 full days later (today) I opened the hive and discovered multiple eggs in the open cells. My queen was still in the push in cage, she was fat and walling around the comb. The workers around the cage seemed to be ignoring her. At this point I'm at a loss as of what to do. I left her in the cage and closed up the hive.
    What should I do?

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
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    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    I usually just join a laying worker colony with another colony using the newspaper method, but given what you have done so far, I would add 1 or 3 frames of open brood, place the caged queen between them with the candy end of the cage uncorked so the bees can eat it away, and leave them alone for a week.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  4. #3
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    May 2016
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    Wise county,Texas
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    If you can move the push in cage over some hatching brood/stores ( may need a larger cage) with room for her to start laying, this should give her a loyal, protective following and get her pheromones spreading as she starts laying. Could be a long process, but now that you're there.......I have done this before and it took some "man handling" and time, it worked and I enjoyed the challenge.
    “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic”

  5. #4
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    Jun 2016
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    Geauga, Ohio
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    hmmm, what about a change in tack - put that queen in her own nuc, with maybe 2 frames, maybe 3. Her frame, pollen and nectar too - she won't have foragers at this point. It doesn't have to be in a nuc box, any spare hive. No spare hive bottom/lid? Can put duct tape on inner cover, set that on laying worker hive, and put queen with 2-3 frames (and no other frames) in deep body above. Just for 5 days or so. Oh, and I would release the queen about 24 hrs after doing that.

    And... put in another frame of open brood. Wait 3 days - any queen cells forming? queen cells forming means the hive is ready to accept a new queen. You'll have to cut those out, so mark the frame with open brood that is being donated to that lw hive...

    I have seen multiple eggs after a newspaper comine with a good queen. SHe was accepted and has good capped brood now. I think it takes awhile for the laying worker machinery to be decommissioned. Ignoring the queen is a pretty good sign - they were not balling her, or being aggressive. and the bees in the screen were probably seeing to her needs.

    Then, once the lw hive is making queen cells from open brood, do a newspaper combine to add the 2-3 frame nuc with the good queen to this hive. THat's am 100 pct sure fire way to work.

    But... again, ignoring her may be a good sign, despite the eggs. Try the queen rearing page - same q - see what u get? Or just leap!

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    I believe if you put a queen cell 8n a honey super that will work too.
    Western Catskill Mountains
    Proverbs 16:24

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    Lead Pipe, your experiment proves the fallacy of the idea that laying workers can be got rid of by shaking them out somewhere, and the laying workers are unable to fly back.

    Be nice if it was true, but the idea is one of those urban myths.

    The TRUTH, is that laying worker hives can contain large numbers of laying workers, and other workers in various stages of transition towards being laying workers. A shakeout will not prevent a good number of them at the least, returning to the hive.

    So, it is a good thing your queen was not released which would have resulted in her death.

    Anyhow what to do, you have been given some good suggestions in the other posts. All methods have some degree of risk, requeening a LW hive is a high skill aspect of beekeeping. Giving a LW hive open brood can convert the LW's back to normal in one to two weeks, so if you got the first comb of open brood in (now) 7 days ago you are at least 1/2 way there.

    In my view the very safest way is to make a nuc from another hive and introduce your queen to that. Then remove the LW hive and shake out the bees and let them join other hives. Or combine the nuc with the LW hive once the queen is accepted and laying, however there is a specific procedure to follow to ensure that will succeed.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    Put the queen in her own nuc. Once accepted, place on top of a screen bottom board atop the lw hive. After a week, most of the bees from the lw hive will have moved up peacefully to the new hive. Brood pheromone going thru the screen will suppress lw's. After a week to 10 days, you can remove the screen bottom board from between the boxes.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  9. #8
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    May 2005
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    OK, so I made a split from one of my strong hives and moved the queen into it. I decided cut my losses for the old hive and removed and and started shaking out the frames in front of my other hives. Needless to say there was a cloud of bees flying around. unfortunately they all bum-rushed the hive that was next to theirs and a bunch of bees were trying to get in. I put the old hive back up so they would go back into their hive and leave the other one alone. This is such a hassle. so I guess I will will combine them with the nuk I just made. Do you think I need to wait until the queen is excepted or just do it now. There is open brood in the nuk and the queen has been inside the old hive for 7 days so they must be somewhat used to her smell. What a pain these laying workers are!!
    Thanks for the help!

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    You most definately need to wait until the queen is accepted. In such cases for me anyway, i wait until she has been laying long enough to have some of her own brood capped.

    Yes, the wait is frustrating. But not as frustrating as doing all the work, and then losing the queen anyway because you rushed it.

    Also combining to a LW hive has to be done a certain way. First, check the brood you put in the LW hive for queen cells and if any, kill them. Then put 3 sheets of newspaper on top of the hive and poke a finger sized hole in the middle. On top of this put a queen excluder. Then put you requeened nuc on top of that.

    Wait 3 weeks then the hive can be re arranged however you want it.

    The purpose of the queen excluder is to prevent the queen accidentally wandering into hostile bees before they have accepted her. Using this method gives virtually 100% success.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    Thanks! Should I put the nuk on top of the outer cover of the LW hive until she is accepted? That way when I do the combine the field bees will be able to find their way home.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    I usually just join a laying worker colony with another colony using the newspaper method, but given what you have done so far, I would add 1 or 3 frames of open brood, place the caged queen between them with the candy end of the cage uncorked so the bees can eat it away, and leave them alone for a week.
    Arky is on the right track, although I'd not use a candy holed queen cage. A push-in queen cage placed over hatching brood has proven to be the best strategy. I use the largest version of the late Dr. Harry H. Laidlaw's queen introduction cage, although there is now a better one. Someone went and made an entire queen introduction frame for a protected queen to lay eggs on - with this piece of equipment, she continues laying eggs and outlives the LW's.

    And as usual, Oldtimer's advice is pure gold. Good on ya' mate!

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    Update:

    A few days back I removed the frames of the laying worker deep and replaced them with honey/ nectar frames, basically I honey bound them. I did this because the LW were going to produce a lot of drones through this process and they were wrecking my worker brood comb. I installed a wire mesh over the laying worker deep. I released the queen from the push in cage, she still looked good after 9 days, added 5 more frames and moved them to a deep. I then Put the deep on to the wire mesh and gave them an upper entrance. How long do you think I should wait before combining them? What indicators should I look for that they have accepted the new queen?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by LEAD PIPE; 07-20-2019 at 10:28 AM.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    After a week, most of the lw bees will have been attracted to and joined the queen rite hive. If they haven't, something is amiss.

    Putting the honey frames into the lw hive may set you up for a robbing situation as the lw's move up, abandoning those frames. I don't know how lw can wreck brood comb. They just produce smaller drones in it.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    Okay thanks, I reduced the entrance a bit. It is a very strong hive. They extend the comb so the drones can fit it looks all messed up.

  16. #15
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    Feb 2009
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    I have fought a laying worker several times. My only success has been with a shake out or newspaper combine with another hive. Ill do a split off the hive that i do the combine with leaving the old queen behind, and then place the new queen in the new split. I have never had a laying worker hive accept a proper queen.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    Newspaper combine over a strong hive. I wasted money on perfectly good queens trying to straighten out LW hives, drove a mile and dumped the bees. Repeat again a few days, didn't work.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

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

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Michael Bush, in a laying worker hive, do regular workers attempt to clean out LW eggs from the cells which lead to the spotty brood patterns? In other words they can't clean out all of the cells fast enough and some get capped. It's just a theory I have after observing a LW hive in my own hives.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    Default Re: Laying worker help

    Hmmm,

    If I were in your situation, I'd make a bigger screen for the queen. Make the screen an entire deep frame. If I were in your situation, a purchased queen would be a priority. I'd try Screen in a full frame, hopefully with some of that uncapped brood.

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