Queen present, multiple eggs per cell, what to do
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Australia
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    33

    Default Queen present, multiple eggs per cell, what to do

    I have a hive where I am seeing multiple eggs per cell, lots of drones, but the marked queen is still present. What should I do? Will this resolve itself?

    We had the warmest winter on record, the other week (the end of winter here) I inspected the hive and noticed a lot of drones and a lot of drone brood. There were many cells with 6 or 7 eggs, and cells with larvae and eggs. I assumed the queen was dead and workers were laying. The next day I inspected the hive again for a better look and I found the queen, she is the same queen from last spring.

    Last week I inspected the hive and there is new worker brood and there doesn't appear to be any more drone brood, or if there is there isn't a significant amount more. There were many cells with multiple (7 or 8) eggs, and cells with larvae and multiple eggs. Again I saw the queen so know she is still alive. The bees have stored a lot of honey over the past week and are very active.

    When the queen was new she often laid 2 or 3 eggs in cells, but she stopped doing that as the season progressed. I was planning on requeening but it is another month or two until I can get a new queen.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,722

    Default Re: Queen present, multiple eggs per cell, what to do

    I'll hazard a guess but have not seen this myself. You are well past your winter soltice when the queens will typically start brooding up. I suspect your queen was slow to get started and the lack of brood pheromone during the lengthening periods of daylight resulted in a laying worker hive with a viable queen still present. Since the queen started laying, the open worker brood will cause the laying workers to stop and the multiple eggs and drones in worker cells should cease. Again, just a guess.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
    Posts
    1,485

    Default Re: Queen present, multiple eggs per cell, what to do

    Ive seen queens do multiple eggs, even one dropping them as she walked across the comb. She might have a infection in her plumbing and it popped up during the winter lull (if it was in the spermatheca that would be the reason for the drone brood), it seems like if there was too terrible wrong the colony would supersede her. Maybe she’ll straighten up till you get a new one.
    Rod

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,741

    Default Re: Queen present, multiple eggs per cell, what to do

    I had one incident that if I can reconstruct correctly where a queen became quite quickly drone laying. The workers commenced supercedure but if my interpretation correct, using unfertilised eggs. Marked queen was present, apparent supercedure cells.

    Could this scenario also progress into laying workers? Can you get your head around the presence of queen cells, laying queen and laying workers at the same time?

    Sometimes difficult to figure out the bees game. If you are dealing with different colonies simultaneously without good records of dates and actions it is easy to get muddled and assume incorrect explanations.
    Frank

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,363

    Default Re: Queen present, multiple eggs per cell, what to do

    Drop a frame with mixed age brood from a hive you like and see what more the bees can tell you. do your other hives have drone brood?
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Queen present, multiple eggs per cell, what to do

    There is a lot of worker brood and some drone brood now. I am still seeing multiple eggs per cell, eggs in cells that have larvae, and even eggs in cells with honey. It looks like everything should go smoothly enough between now and when I can requeen.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,768

    Default Re: Queen present, multiple eggs per cell, what to do

    Usually it takes care of itself. It's usually not enough space for her to lay or she is new and hasn't got the hang of things yet.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Nacogdoches, TX, USA
    Posts
    161

    Default

    I had a similar experience this past Spring. New queen laid great for about a month, and then I started noticing multi egg cells. Several days went by and they killed her. The laying worker continued until I absorbed the resources into adjacent hives.

    Are the multi eggs all located on the deepest part or on the side wall of the cell? Also, you could pen her up in a push in cage to see if she will lay inside of it.

    Good luck, Ryan

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,768

    Default Re: Queen present, multiple eggs per cell, what to do

    There is never "the laying worker" or "a laying worker". Half the bees are laying workers...
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm#multiple

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00299895
    "More than half of the bees in laying worker colonies have developed ovaries (Sakagami 1954)..."-- Reproduction by worker honey bees (Apis mellifer L.) R.E. Page Jr and E.H. Erickson Jr. - Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology August 1988, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 117-126
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Nacogdoches, TX, USA
    Posts
    161

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    There is never "the laying worker" or "a laying worker". Half the bees are laying workers...
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm#multiple

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00299895
    "More than half of the bees in laying worker colonies have developed ovaries (Sakagami 1954)..."-- Reproduction by worker honey bees (Apis mellifer L.) R.E. Page Jr and E.H. Erickson Jr. - Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology August 1988, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 117-126
    Agreed. Thank you for correcting me on that.

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