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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 4 frame medium nuc that had a fall queen installed last October. It had a queen a month ago when I checked. Now it has lots of drone brood layed in workers size cells so that they stick up above the comb. There seems to be about 10% of the capped brood is worker sized. There are only single eggs in the bottoms of the cells. The bees seem pretty quiet on the combs, that is, they don't act queenless. They have stored pollen and capped honey/syrup. I have looked 3 times for the queen, but have not had any luck. I would think she would be fairly easy to find in such a small nuc. I could combine it with another 4 frame nuc or just shake the bees out and give the combs to another nuc. I have seen colonies with laying workers before, but the drone brood seemed more randomly spaced on the combs, and there would be multiple eggs on the side walls of some cells, and they act queenless. What do you think?
Ben
 

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Sounds like you have a failing queen and not laying workers. No multiple eggs and the eggs are on the bottom of the cells. If the cell walls are short a laying worker can deposit the egg on the bottom though but usually multiple eggs.
 

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I actually had the EXACT same thing in two of my hives a few weeks ago. I was also perplexed as to what to do & if I had a failing queen or laying workers or what the heck was going on...I went back in a couple days later slowly looked for the queen & used almost no smoke. I did find her, so at least I knew I had a queen. I went back in a week ago & things are much improved- still alot of drone brood, but more worker brood now. She seems to be picking up the pace. I checked around with some other beeks & a couple of long timers said they believe that it is common for queens to lay more drone brood right away when the weather breaks, to prepare for virgin queens. The thought is that we (the beeks) just don't often see it, as it happens pretty early on in the season. They lay in the regular cells because they aren't making wax to make drone cells at the bottom of frames lilke they do later on in the season once the flow is on. The weather has allowed me to get in those hives & do a full inspection much earlier than I normally can. They assured me to just keep an eye on her & see what happens. So-that's my plan. I may re-queen anyway, but so far I'm going to let alittle time go on & see how it goes. I hate to replace a good queen if I don't need to. I bet you have the same situation. Go back in a couple of days & see if you can't find her...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. I think I'll give them a frame of young brood from another hive once a week until they build back up. Maybe they will take some of the young larvae and raise a new queen.
Ben
 
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