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Howdy folks.
I was asked to retrieve a small swarm last night, and it was actually perfect timing for me. Turns out one of my hives is queenless and appears to have gone laying worker on me. To remedy the problem, I'm looking to combine the swarm with the laying worker colony and hopefully have a happy and productive hive. I plan to shake out the laying workers 15' or 20' in front of the existing hive, put the swarm into the existing hive, close it up and walk away.

Does this plan stand a decent chance of success in remedying the laying worker problem, or is the swarm (and accompanying queen) doomed to failure from fighting with the laying worker colony as the field bees come back home?

TIA
 

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If you have another box you c an put the swarm in it and let them get organized for a few days. Shake the bees off some of that bad brood and give it to the swarm to anchor them. Shake the bees off some of the other combs too. In a couple days do your shake out and put the frames in the swarms hive just as you planned. The doomed colonies bees will beg there way in and will be prevented from harming the queen.
 

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I thought this was a classic case for a newspaper combine. Over the several days it will take to chew across the newspaper, the real queen scent will remind the other hive what a "real" queen is and thus by the time they finish with the chewing, they are ready to accept her.
 

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To answer your question. <Best option for getting a laying worker hive to accept a swarm queen?>

[Your plan sounds good, but for one issue -> I would not leave anything, but the bees from the laying worker hive, at their present location. Do not give the laying worker hive an opportunity to destroy a potentially perfectly good queen.]

Others, have posted good plans in this thread, before me.

Set up a new bottom board and empty super at a new location, shake the bees off the laying worker hives combs, place the combs (now vacant of bees), into the super at the new location. Introduce the swarm to the empty combs, add a cover - done.

Remove the old hive from its location, leaving the bees at the old location, to beg themselves a new homes. Most often, any laying workers that have too strong of queen characteristics will be rejected and killed by any colony they attempt to enter.
 

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I was under the impression the best way to suppress the laying worker(s) was to add open worker brood, once a week for three weeks or so. Then when they start pulling out queen cells they are ready for a new queen.
That or combine them with a screen bottom/top board on another hive with worker brood, combing them when they are ready.
 

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I took a laying worker hive 30yds away from where they were at and dumped them all out. Bought a $25 queen and caged her for 1 week in the hive then let her out. They were accepting her and everything looked good 'til I checked back a week later and she was nowhere to be found and no brood at all
I read a thread here a week or so ago where a guy experienced the same thing as I did and then tried mdax's method, 1 frame of open brood per week for 3 weeks, and it worked. I like the idea of combining them after they start drawing queen cells, you would think they're ready for a queen then. Good luck, keep us posted. Bret
 

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One thing I don't understand.
I've heard all sorts of experienced folks advocate shaking off the frames in front of the hive under the impression that a laying worker can't find her way back.
I understand shaking off the bees and putting frames in other hives, essentially telling them to find a place to live; however I'm talking about the advice of shaking them in front of their own hive and keeping frames in place.

Why would this approach ever work? Since it doesn't seem to remedy anything it seems odd that it'd be recommended so often.
Wouldn't it always result in at least one laying worker making it back to the hive for business as usual?
 

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The fastest way to suppress laying workers is to take away any place to lay. This means removing any open comb.
This is what I would do in your situation. (It kind of depends on how big the swarm is and how big the laying worker hive is.) I assume since you mentioned it is a small swarm a sudden combine would likely overwhelm the swarm colony.

Move the laying worker hive onto a cart and place a new hive body on the bottom board in the original location.
Put one frame of brood from another hive in the center. Be sure all cells are filled with brood or/& feed so the is no place for laying workers to continue to lay.

Add all new, undrawn frames to fill the remainder of the box.
Now shake the bees into the newly reassembled hive. No need to shake them on the ground. Use another hive body to direct the bees into the hive if you wish. A quick shake and then light brushing gets them all off the old frames. There is no place for laying workers to lay..not even one egg. The colony now immediatly focuses on rearing the brood and drawing new comb.

Once the bees are back in the hive & most flying has stopped, top with a double screened inner cover. Place another hive body on top that and install your swarm..on drawn frames if you have them, with a frame of brood & feed too if you have one to spare.

Do NOT use the frames from the laying worker hive. You must chill or freeze them to kill all the eggs and larva, or they will continue to grow and will ruin your good worker sized cells. After chilling overnight, you can safely use them again. The bees will clean out the dead larva. If the drone cells are already enlarged your only option is to scrape them off or let chickens clean them up for you.

Let your new combo-mentally retarded bees below and new swarm above- live together/but separated by the screen for a week, then combine. You'll probably find you have a thriving colony with no issues. They have a new leader and everyone knows their job once again.

Below you see what I mean by using a hive body to direct shaken & brushed bees back into the hive. (This is a starter colony I"m freshening) but you get the idea



Best way to simply rectify a laying worker hive is a frame of brood and a capped queen cell. But you still have to take away any & chill frames that have been laid up with drone brood.
You don't want your new queen having to lay in frames that look like this.



I also use this screen divided method for introducing mated queens from mating nucs to larger colonies. Queenless colony below, just enough frames above with the new queen, brood & bees to support her and keep brood warm. I give them about a week with their own upper entrance, then remove the screen and combine. Workes like a charm and keep the queen laying the whole time. (See the green disk? Got to love them, you can see them from a mile away. Don't judge her by the brood pattern. The good brood was left back in the mating nuc with a new cell)



Most of my inner covers are screened so it is easy to combine hives when I want to. They are some of my favorite home made equipment.

 

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imthedude, I did virtually the same thing, had a laying worker colony that I removed from its location and took it 50 ft. away into the yard and set it down. Put a swarm that I caught a few days earlier at another yard onto the original stand that was occupied by the laying worker hive. Shook out the laying worker hive and let them fly back to the original stand and enter the hive of the swarm. No problems at all, queen was not harmed by all the incoming foreign bees. It was quick and simple, no messing around with adding frames of brood to get the laying workers to hopefully raise a queen, they had a new one in two minutes.
 

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>I've heard all sorts of experienced folks advocate shaking off the frames in front of the hive under the impression that a laying worker can't find her way back.

Of course she can. You shake them in front of other hives.

>I understand shaking off the bees and putting frames in other hives, essentially telling them to find a place to live; however I'm talking about the advice of shaking them in front of their own hive and keeping frames in place.

What it does do is create enough confusion that occasionally they will accept a new queen. Usually it doesn't work at all.

>Why would this approach ever work?

Confusion and demoralizing.

>Since it doesn't seem to remedy anything it seems odd that it'd be recommended so often.

I think it gets recommended so often because it's one of those ingrained myths that has been repeated enough that it took on a life of its own.

>Wouldn't it always result in at least one laying worker making it back to the hive for business as usual?

One laying worker is never the problem. A queenright booming has about 50-60 laying workers. A laying worker hive has thousands.

bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm
 
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