If a queen is gone from the hive for an extended period (at least a couple of weeks), one or more workers may begin to lay. However, the eggs they lay will not have been fertilized and so they will all develop into drones.
Well, I'm not the most knowledgeable one here, but I'll try to answer both questions.
First, if a laying worker has laid eggs in the comb, when the bees emerge, they will be drone, but that does not make the comb drone comb. It is the size of the cells that make it drone comb. So, if it was worker comb to begin with, it will still be worker comb when a queen lays eggs in it. Bees will not rework drone comb to worker comb, that I've ever heard of.
Second, if a hive is queenless for a length of time, I'm not sure how long, workers can start laying eggs and become 'false' queens. They will be treated like queens by the other bees, but since they have never mated, they will only lay drone eggs. (There are exceptions to this rule, but I won't go into them.)
If there are laying workers in a hive, the bees will kill a new queen, as they think they already have one. There are different ways of dealing with the hive. To get it queenright, you can add a frame of open brood once a week for three weeks. The pheromones put off by the open brood will suppress they laying workers enough for the bees to figure out they are queenless and start a new queen. When that happens, you can let them raise a new queen, or introduce a mated queen in the usual method.
Others advice dumping the bees out of the hive 20 feet or more from the hive. Tear down the hive and give any frames of nectar/honey/pollen to other hives. Freeze the comb for 24 hours to kill the drone brood, then give those frames to other hives so the bees can clean them up and reuse them.
Still other advice shaking out the bees, and then letting them return to the hive under the assumption that the laying workers won't find their way back to the hive.
I should have kept my mouth shut, metaphorically speaking, no pun intended.
Here is part of what I PMed someone else who asked me that.
I'm talking about thelytoky. " ... The honey bee rendition of this is territorial incursion by Apis mellifera capensis, the native bee of the South African Cape of Good Hope, into AHB country. Unlike other honey bees, the Cape bee has a high degree of thelytoky. This is the capacity for laying workers to produce fully functional queens from unfertilized eggs. Although rare, it is present in other stocks as noted by G. DeGrandi-Hoffman and colleagues (Bee Science, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp 166-171, May 1991)."
-------------------------------------------------------------- end of my quote ---------------
So, in rare cases, it is possible for a laying worker's egg to not be a drone and for the workers to raise a supersedure queen from it.
Did you take a close look at your frame? Are the cells the drones are coming out of any wider than the usual cells?
A healthy hive will have drone-sized cells out along the edges of the brood pattern, and regular sized cells on the inside. From what I read, a laying working INTENDS her eggs to be workers, but she just dosn't have the equipment for it. So I'm pretty sure the bees don't rework the comb--the drones from a LW are just smaller.
Take a look and get back to me. I'm curious--it would be weird if the colony deliberately made all drone comb in the hive.
The drones produced by LW will be smaller if the eggs are laid in worker sized cells. Just had an example of that yesterday as I was going through some new splits about 2 months old. Lots of small drones crawling around in one of the hives! The bees don't make worker sized cells larger to accomodate drone eggs laid by LW. So you can reuse the frames for normal brood once the LW problem is solved, which can be an impossible mission. The best and only way that I've found is to give them a frame or 2 of eggs and young brood, and keep doing it as long as it takes to get them to build queen cells. If they don't succeed in about 3 weeks we take them out and shake them out and remove the boxes so they'll scatter out among other hives.
Saw a program on killer bees on tv in the past couple of weeks. The AHB and Cape bees do not get along very well, the cape bees will enter an AHB colony and fool the workers that she is a queen and they will protect and care for her. She will lay eggs and eventualy she and her offspring will take over the hive and it will die out. It was thought that this mightbe an answer to the AHB over here but luckly it was found out the Cape bee will kill out any other type of honey bees colonies it comes in contact with. Jim
thanks for all the feed back! I was under the assumtion that once a drone was laid in a cell, drones would always be laid in that cell. I was thinking of the next generation queen always laying drone eggs in the same cells......I have tried to queenrite this hive,with brood from other hives too, but they really did not like the new queen. I pulled her out today and am trying her in another split.
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Beesource Beekeeping Forums
A forum community dedicated to beekeeping, bee owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about breeding, honey production, health, behavior, hives, housing, adopting, care, classifieds, and more!