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How long can a colony remain queenless b/f laying worker develops?

7192 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Jpryce
So we are about 100% sure our 4 week old colony (from package) is queenless...no new eggs, no tiny larva, all capped brood. We also found 3 supersedure cells which we promptly removed BEFORE we realized we were queenless (oops! we are newbies). We have ordered a queen and she should be here by Tuesday at the latest. However, our concern is with only capped brood and a few more days waiting (and the fact we screwed up the "emergency queens" they were obviously rearing) are we gong to end up with a laying worker? I am assuming they have been queenless for 8-10 days based on what we are seeing....will nearly 2 weeks all told of being queenless create a laying worker?
I know that moving brood has been suggested but we simply don't have another hive to do this with:-(
Many Thanks for your time!
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7 Hives of Apis mellifera with some Africanization
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The official research word is that most all hives have laying workers all the time. Hives with mated/laying queens and active brood nests generally mask the problems that laying workers can create - those problems can and do develop in colonies without mated/laying queens and active brood nests.
 

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I'm with fatscher on the wonder of growing your own nucs and queens.

Partially :eek:t:

I have been a beekeeper since the late 1960's, then recently my wife got sick with MS and I had to quit my regular job in order to be her full-time caregiver. Now I spend almost all-day, every day with her (she is my very best friend). I also spend more time gardening and tending our bees. Before my wife became ill it wasn't too much of a problem to keep those frustrating AHBs, but now that she can't run away (she's in a wheel chair, especially when she's outdoors) if the bees become grumpy. So I decided to see if I could economically requeen our hives with a gentler strain of bee and keep them gentle. Our budget allowed for us to buy four queens about every four years. Then I would pick the best of those four queens to be my MQ (Mother Queen). I would move the MQ into a two-super stack of 5-frame medium nucs, that made it easier to keep her supplied with empty frames to lay in so there would always be young larvae ready to graft.

Anyway, I started a few nucs, at first, so I could more easily introduce the imported queens, then I added more nucs so I could mate the queens I raised. Eventually I added even more nucs so I could keep plenty of extra queens and bees to straighten out full-size colonies that were having problems. If you have a colony that becomes overrun by laying workers, it can often be corrected by combining a strong nuc (with young laying queen) to them, especially with using a double-screen board for a few weeks first. Nucs are an excellent management tool, that can be used in many different ways.
 
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