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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday I combined a queenless but worker laying one-super split on top of a strong hive, and put newspaper in between, but maybe 2 sheets is not enough. This morning there was a whole clump of bees surrounding the top entrance to the strong part of the hive. What's that about?
 

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Iam new so hopefully others will offer their advice also but for what it's worth, I did the exact same thing a week ago. I combined a week hive with a strong. I used a single sheet of newspaper with a couple o slits in it and walked away. The bees did the same thing , all crowded around the entrance ( looked like bearding) . I was worried at first cause like you iam new but they were fine the next day and now buisness as usual .i have read that you can suffocate them on hot days without slits or holes poked in the paper and have also read about ventilating the top box for the same reason. It's been in the 80 s here and the bees did fine. As far as you having a laying worker hive I don't know if alls well, I guess you will find out soon! I think the bees will sort things out just make sure they get through the paper , I've read six hours and their acquainted and my bees spit out all the paper in three days .cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ah, thanks Pinchecharlie. I forgot about the slits, but both colonies have entrances so I think they'll be okay. Here's hoping they all get along. Maybe the clump was the welcoming committee. :)
 

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That clump of bees may not be so welcoming. A laying worker hive doesn't know it's queenless and may not be accepting of the queen below but see her and her hive as intruders. Hopefully you will not lose your queen as a result. I'd pull that whole box off now and read up on dealing with laying workers.

Wayne
 

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Yeah he's right,I didn't want to be negative about your situation. There are many posts about laying worker hives and the associated problems/solutions. There are however references to combing hives and maybe your queens pheromones will set them straight. There are others who recommend shaking out the hive a good distance away, theorizing that the offending worker not make it back. Sadly some consider them a lost cause but as waynesgarden has instructed, do some more research and the best you can and make it happen. Maybe the extra newspaper and no slits/ holes was a blessing and slowed down the introduction enough to work? Only the more experienced can tell you and or time. Here's hoping it goes your way!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hmm. I knew the laying workers think they have a queen and would see a new queen as a threat, but I figured by putting the super on top of a strong hive, they wouldn't have access to the queen right away, after they get through the newspaper. There are only about 3 frames of bees in this super, v. a full hive of about 15,000 in the colony.

I'll look at them tomorrow, if they haven't gotten thru the newspaper maybe I'll just shake them out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update: I separated the 2 hives. They had not gotten through the newspaper, but it still looked like WWIII on the front of the hive, so I took the super of laying workers off the top and put it back where it used to be, on a hive stand. I want to take a closer look at them before I shake them out, and today is cloudy and muggy and they are all super stressed, so I'll look tomorrow before deciding to shake them. They are so intent that I want to make n^100th sure that there is no queen in there.

There was no peace pipe happening between those 2 hives. So protip: don't put a layer worker tiny hive-in-one-super on top of a productive hive because they will probably not mesh. Just shake them out or leave them where they are to die out.

Another lesson learned. Yeah, yeah, I had already read in the books that the best way is a shake out, but sometimes you have to see for yourself.
 

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There are others who recommend shaking out the hive a good distance away, theorizing that the offending worker not make it back.
There isn't a single offending worker but likely dozens, hundreds or more.

Glad you nipped it in the bud, NIH. I've somehow been blessed with not having had to deal with laying workers, but if I were in the position but not 100% sure there isn't a queen in there, I might take my shaker box (a hive body with a queen excluder stapled to the bottom) and shake the suspect hive through that. If there was a new queen in there, I'd be able to reconstruct the hive, though the bees might be less than appreciative.

Wayne
 

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IMO the best way to deal with a laying-worker hive is to give them a frame of open brood/eggs (some emerging/capped brood also helps). You may need to do this once a week for a few times -- eventually they get the idea to start queen cells. Be sure to feed the receiving and donating hives 1:1 and some pollen if not in a flow. I've done this many times and usually end up with a good hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yah, but earlier in the season. Our northern seasons are so short, no time to try for another queen cell. Well, at least we don't have as big of a problem (or any problem, mostly) with hive beetles, so that's a plus...
 

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Rehabing a laying-worker hive is definitely resource and/or time dependent. I follow the Palmer model for a sustainable apiary (ref Michael Palmer's talk on the sustainable apiary on youtube?) and keep several "brood factory" NUCs. When the laying-worker hive realizes it needs a queen (ie. starts queen cells) I would give them a ripe queen cell or introduce a caged (laying) queen. Also a newspaper combine with a stronger queen-right colony would probably work (after removing any queen-cells).
 
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