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I dumped the hive of laying workers around 30 ft. from my other hives and placed a weak hive with a queen I had introduced the week before where it sat, then it came a torentual rain that afternoon, is it possible the laying workers went into one of my two hives, Can someone explain what happens longterm to a hive of laying workers, where do the foragers come from? Silly questions I know but I am seeking to understand.
 

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A hive of laying workers with no brood is called "hopelessly queenless." Because the workers are not mated (and can't mate), they can lay and raise only unfertilized drone (male) eggs/larvae. Because they cannot lay fertilized (female) eggs, they can't raise new workers nor a new queen.

Eventually all the female bees will age and die, followed shortly thereafter by the younger drones until - dead-out.
 

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I've dealt with a couple or three. It's a good reason to keep some nucs around. Look for the domed caps on worker brood and no normal worker brood. Not all hives that go queenless turn into laying workers, at least not right away. A hive without brood needs a frame of eggs to make a queen. It they don't start some queen cells, you either have a virgin or a defective queen. Wait a week and try again. If it's a virgin, you'll begin to see eggs and larva. If you do find domed worker cells, shake them out and set a queen right hive in it's place.

[ May 14, 2006, 06:58 PM: Message edited by: Ross ]
 
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