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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a hive that I have suspected for more than a month of being laying worker or having a failing queen. I have not seen the queen since last winter but becasue it has not been warm, I have not yet done a thorough inspection.

Upon advice I recieved from the forum, I have been adding a frame of capped brood every week from another queen-right hive I have, and I have done this for three weeks, the last time being on March 6th (12 days ago).

I did a quick inspection today and discovered 3 things:

A/ The new foundationless frame I inserted in the middle of the brood nest is being drawn out as drone comb.

B/ The only open brood I could find in the hive was drone larvae in this new central drone comb (the only other available comb was all drawn worker comb except for another frame of empty drone comb on the edge of the brood nest).

C/ On the last frame of capped brood I moved from the queenright hive to this hive 12 days ago, there is now a beautiful capped queen cell near the outer edge of the frame (where there were likely to be eggs or several day old larvae 12 days ago when the frame was transferred into this hive).

The presence of only drone larvae more or less confirms either laying workers or a failing queen, right?

The fact that a queen cell has been formed more or less confirms that the three weeks of transferring open brood has succeeded to get the hive to realize that they have no queen and to create a queen cell, correct?

So what should I do? Is there a risk that laying workers or the failing queen could kill the virgin queen after she emerges, or can I be pretty confident that since this queen cell was formed by the hive and not introduced, that she will be accepted whe she emerges and make the hive queen-right after mating?

The last time I did a quick inspection on this hive was on March 13th (5 days ago) at which time there was no visible queen cell, so doing the math, the virgin queen is likely to emerge on March 20th to March 22nd. If ti is unwise to leave the queen cell to emerge in a hive with laying workers or a failing queen, I need to decide very quickly so that I can remove her tomorrow before she might emerge.

Is this laying worker hive on the way to being salvaged by having created a queen cell on its own, or should I salvage the queen cell into a nuc, shake out the laying worker hive (or failing queen hive), and start afresh?

Any help from those with experience in this situation would be greatly appreciated.

-fafrd
 

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Leave them alone for the next 14 days. One cell is indication of a supersedure cell. The bees may be doing what nature is intending. On the down side, if the hive is very weak, you don't usually get a very good queen cell, but this time you may be lucky. Were you giving them enough capped brood to get some young nurse bees going in the hive?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
jjgbee,

they have three full frames of capped brood transferred from my other queenright hive over three weeks, so there should be plenty of young nurse bees to accompany this new virgin queen.

My question is that the hive probably has laying workers, so is there any risk that they will kill the virgin queen once she emerges?

Does your comment on supersedure mean that since there is only one cell rather than several, the old queen is probably still in there and failing rather than having laying workers?

If so, a supersedure queen should not be killed by a failig queen, correct?

My concern is what will happen if there are laying workers and is there any way to determine if I have laying workers or a failing queen (short of finding a queen, which I have not been able to do so far)???

-fafrd

p.s. hive is not 'very weak' - full 10-frame medium super with 4 frames of brood and with another 5 frames starting to be filled with nectar and honey above.
 

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Hey Fafrd

I have no experience on this but the common thing to do is to walk away from the hive about 50ft with your frames and shake the bees out onto the ground. If you do indeed have a laying worker, she will not be able to fly back to the hive, whereas the others will. They will be without a queen at this point(or laying worker) and won't kill the new queen when she hatches. Then continue to give them a frame or so. I bet they will build anothe queen cell starting right away.....just a thought.
 

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Upon advice I recieved from the forum, I have been adding a frame of capped brood every week from another queen-right hive I have, and I have done this for three weeks, the last time being on March 6th (12 days ago).
Give them a frame with eggs. If they're not queenright, they'll try to make a queen.
If you have laying workers, you should probably shake all....and I mean ALL of the bees.... out into the yard to get rid of those laying workers.
 

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the bees that themselves decided to supercede their queen with the donated eggs will prevent her from killing the virgin. good luck, mike
 

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I would leave them alone and let the new queen emerge they built the cell for a reason either to supercede a failed queen or rid the laying worker problem, hopefully there are enough drones around by now for her to mate.
 

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Suggest you disregard those who say that shaking out laying workers is a good way to get rid of them. They CAN find their way back and quickly. BTW there are many of them. It seems like you have brought this hive back from the brink. Be happy. The smell of brood has changed the presence of laying workers. That queen now needs to emerge, harden up her cuticle so she can fly, mate on several trips. THEN she lays her first egg. About a month from now you should have your first new bees emerge.

Dickm
 

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Note also that there seems to have been a miscommunication... capped brood can't produce a queen. Only an egg or a hatched larva <3 days old can. You want eggs and OPEN brood for emergency queen rearing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Note also that there seems to have been a miscommunication... capped brood can't produce a queen. Only an egg or a hatched larva <3 days old can. You want eggs and OPEN brood for emergency queen rearing.
I transferred a newly-drawn and filled frame of capped brood from my queenright hive to my failing hive. I did this every week for three weeks (three frames transferred). The frames appeared to be only capped brood, but the edges of the newly-drawn comb could have contained eggs and/or day old larvae (I did not see any open brood and would have noticed it). The queen cell (which is all the way on the edge of the frame, beyond the perimiter that was capped brood when the frame was transferred) has either been formed from a fresh egg or day old larvae that was on the frame when it was transferred, or the hive has a failing queen and she succeeded to lay a fertile egg in the empty cells available at the edge of this new frame.

The only open brood I see now is drone larvae. It is well-laid and in a tight pattern. Does this imply a failing queen rather than laying workers? The pattern is not spotty like it was before.

-fafrd
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I would leave them alone and let the new queen emerge they built the cell for a reason either to supercede a failed queen or rid the laying worker problem, hopefully there are enough drones around by now for her to mate.
Plenty of drones around now. Today I just got first capping on brood layed by an emergency queen I reared a month ago.

I hope you are right that the hive has now recovered and that if I leave them alone they will make themselves queenright from this cell.

-fafrd
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It seems like you have brought this hive back from the brink. Be happy. The smell of brood has changed the presence of laying workers. That queen now needs to emerge, harden up her cuticle so she can fly, mate on several trips.

Dickm
Dickm,

this would be the best situation I could hope for (and the reason I followed the advice to add the frame of capped brood a week for three weeks). I was hoping for comments from anyone who has recovered a hive in this way to be sure that this is what to expect and that letting the bees finish the process they have initiated is the best path forward. It is a beautiful queencell, and I don't want to waste it if the hive may kill her given this situation.

-fafrd
 
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