Laying worker?
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Thread: Laying worker?

  1. #1
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    Default Laying worker?

    I'm 99% sure I've got a laying worker or a queen that's out of sperm. I couldn't spot cells with multiple eggs but I did see a few that seemed off center and a few on top of bee bread.

    I couldn't find a queen in the hive but I'm pretty sure this is all drone brood, can anyone confirm?

    https://imgur.com/a/kRNmiJL
    Attached Images Attached Images

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    Had the same issue. If no worker brood then what? You have already said what I think is the only possibility. Now what do you plan to do?

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    About 60% myself . Cannot tell if domed cells or just shallow cells from converted honey cells. Cells are only as tall as bottom bar. Is that the cluster or are there other frames with brood and bees?
    It is hard to design a safety net that some will not use as a hammock.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    pretty sure there is some worker brood in that pic. However the pattern definitely doesn't look all that great. I would say that is from a queen although she might be running out of steam, nutrition could be low in general in the hive (honey and pollen reserves) causing nurse bees to eat the eggs, or possibly Varroa is reaching high levels. Need more info though such as last known mite count or last mite treatment and what you used. Also status of stores in the hive.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    My plan would be to try to introduce a new queen. I know people will sometimes dump the bees about 20 ft away as part of this process.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    About 60% myself . Cannot tell if domed cells or just shallow cells from converted honey cells. Cells are only as tall as bottom bar. Is that the cluster or are there other frames with brood and bees?
    There are 3 frames with brood in the same pattern. It all is domed like in this photo which made me think it was all drone brood.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    Quote Originally Posted by vtbeeguy View Post
    pretty sure there is some worker brood in that pic. However the pattern definitely doesn't look all that great. I would say that is from a queen although she might be running out of steam, nutrition could be low in general in the hive (honey and pollen reserves) causing nurse bees to eat the eggs, or possibly Varroa is reaching high levels. Need more info though such as last known mite count or last mite treatment and what you used. Also status of stores in the hive.
    I definitely don't think nutrition is the issue. The frames on both sides of the brood nest are pretty solidly packed with honey and pollen (six frames of honey at least). I treated this hive with formic acid the first week of September (I live in a warm climate) and the mite counts were at 2/300 following the treatment using the sugar roll method (including a 2 min rest after shaking and dissolving the sugar in water to count mites). They were at 8/300 prior to the treatment. In November I treated them with an oxalic vape without doing a count, just because they were broodless and the risk is low with said treatment).

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    There are quite a few capped cells there which appear to be workers - so I'd suggest you have a queen who's going off the boil very quickly. Whether she's able to keep laying viable eggs until such time as the local drones arrive is anybody's guess. I wouldn't give up on her just yet - but then I wouldn't bet the house on her either.

    It'll be interesting to see how things pan out in the next few weeks.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    That brood pattern is too solid for laying workers. Solid brood patterns like that can be confusing, as the domes can appear somewhat flat. Best way to assure if that is drone or worker brood is to scratch a few caps open and examine the pupa. You likely have a drone laying queen. Possible that they tried to replace the queen after the Formic treatment and she didn't mate. If you can't find her, try shaking all the bees thru an excluder. You'll need to eliminate her.

    At that point, you can correct the problem as you see fit, with a frame of brood with eggs from which they'll pull a queen cell, adding a grafted queen cell, adding a purchased queen, or combining with another hive.

    Ps. There is never "a" laying worker. When a hive goes laying worker, most of the bees in the hive are laying workers.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    As Bdfarmer suggests uncap some brood. You can identify drones by their much larger eyes vs workers. Comparison photo in the link below.

    I agree that such solid capped drone brood will be from drone laying queen rather than laying workers. The drone laying queen scenario would be much, much easier to requeen than laying worker. Dont waste a purchased queen on a laying workers colony: even combining can be risky.

    https://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=...MygPegUIARDyAQ
    Frank

  12. #11
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bdfarmer555 View Post
    That brood pattern is too solid for laying workers. Solid brood patterns like that can be confusing, as the domes can appear somewhat flat. Best way to assure if that is drone or worker brood is to scratch a few caps open and examine the pupa. You likely have a drone laying queen. Possible that they tried to replace the queen after the Formic treatment and she didn't mate. If you can't find her, try shaking all the bees thru an excluder. You'll need to eliminate her.

    At that point, you can correct the problem as you see fit, with a frame of brood with eggs from which they'll pull a queen cell, adding a grafted queen cell, adding a purchased queen, or combining with another hive.

    Ps. There is never "a" laying worker. When a hive goes laying worker, most of the bees in the hive are laying workers.
    I'll see what I can do about finding a queen. I did put a mated queen on top of the frames and they responded positivity to her fanning and such which seemed weird if they have a queen.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    If you’ve found eggs in pollen cells, most likely it’s a LW hive.
    Rod

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    Quote Originally Posted by ErMurazor View Post
    I'll see what I can do about finding a queen. I did put a mated queen on top of the frames and they responded positivity to her fanning and such which seemed weird if they have a queen.
    I do not understand the dynamics of LW prevention in a winter hive. I accept brood in a summer hive prevents LW, there is no brood in a winter hive so more is going on or most hives would come out of winter LW. Not sure how that plays out in the transition from winter to spring.

    I would expect you will find a superceder cell starting soon. Also would not be surprised if my speculation that a hive getting ready to supersede is willing to take a queen. No evidence one way or the other.
    It is hard to design a safety net that some will not use as a hammock.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    I opened them back up today and definitely confirmed the issue is laying workers. Lots of cells with multiple eggs and eggs on the edges of cells. All the brood are drones.

    Based on my reading I think this hive may be a lost cause as I don't want to pull too many resources from my stronger hives so early in the season.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    They say if you give laying workers a frame of open brood once a week for 3 weeks it will often solve itself and raise a queen. If you have drones around it may or may not work.

    My own opinion is that is a waste. 3 frames of brood is a nuc, don’t waste it by mixing with a laying worker colony. We don’t even try rescue a lw colony, I will shake them out and move on before they wreck a pile of good comb by raising drones in it.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    I second grozzies motion.
    Rod

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    Those bees are old so no value there. Make sure you keep the comb from being destroyed by beetles or wax moth. That is where the value is. Personally I would shake them out miles from home!
    Frank

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    Last year on 5/7/19 we found one our colonies had gone LW. To fix it, we removed the honey supers and put a Snelgrove board on top of the LW brood boxes then placed a single queen right box on top of it. ( a swarm we had caught) Opened a top door on the snelgrove for an entrance for the top colony. Left it like this for about 3 weeks to allow the open brood pheromone from the top to drift through the lower LW brood boxes, then opened a door right below the top entrance and allowed the bees to mingle for another week. We then pulled the snelgrove board out and let it be one colony. I've read it takes about 3 weeks with open worker brood pheromone for the LW ovaries to reset.
    Worked great, no more laying workers, got a fair honey harvest and this year it is one of our strongest hives coming out of winter.
    You do need a single QR hive to this but it saves resources from not pulling brood from your other hives for 3 weeks. Probably to cold to do this now but later,you might give it a try.

    Cheers!

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    Yet another good use for a Snelgrove board.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Laying worker?

    Quote Originally Posted by dgservices View Post
    Last year on 5/7/19 we found one our colonies had gone LW. To fix it, we removed the honey supers and put a Snelgrove board on top of the LW brood boxes then placed a single queen right box on top of it. ( a swarm we had caught) Opened a top door on the snelgrove for an entrance for the top colony. Left it like this for about 3 weeks to allow the open brood pheromone from the top to drift through the lower LW brood boxes, then opened a door right below the top entrance and allowed the bees to mingle for another week. We then pulled the snelgrove board out and let it be one colony. I've read it takes about 3 weeks with open worker brood pheromone for the LW ovaries to reset.
    Worked great, no more laying workers, got a fair honey harvest and this year it is one of our strongest hives coming out of winter.
    You do need a single QR hive to this but it saves resources from not pulling brood from your other hives for 3 weeks. Probably to cold to do this now but later,you might give it a try.

    Cheers!
    I've basically done the same thing with a screen bottom board. Use it to separate the bottom colony from the top. After a week, most of the bees in the bottom hive slowly relocated to the top queen rite colony and no issue just removing it. One time they didn't relocate, and I found a virgin queen in there(not sure where she came from)
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

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