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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my hives was looking a little lethargic, so I opened it up this morning to take a look. Sure enough, they've got a laying worker. I could see multiple eggs in the cells, clear as day. No capped brood at all. I can't get a new queen until Tuesday afternoon, but I doubt a few days more will make much difference. Clearing out the hive is going to be a chore, though.

And, to top it all off, I got stung. :( Thank goodness my other hive is going strong.
 

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Laying worker hives don't always mean multiple eggs per cell. That can be the work of a newer queen also. The key thing to look for in a laying worker hive is that the eggs are NOT in the center of the cell but instead on the walls or even the corners of the cells. Were you able to find your Queen in this hive? If not and the eggs were NOT in the centers of the cells, I'd suspect laying workers, however if the queen was there, she may just be a new queen. Give her an extra week and check again in that case.

However, if you find that it's a laying worker hive, the best way i've found to fix it is a shake out and rebuild with another hive nuc and let them queen theirself.
 

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Laying worker hives don't always mean multiple eggs per cell. That can be the work of a newer queen also. The key thing to look for in a laying worker hive is that the eggs are NOT in the center of the cell but instead on the walls or even the corners of the cells. Were you able to find your Queen in this hive? If not and the eggs were NOT in the centers of the cells, I'd suspect laying workers, however if the queen was there, she may just be a new queen. Give her an extra week and check again in that case.

However, if you find that it's a laying worker hive, the best way i've found to fix it is a shake out and rebuild with another hive nuc and let them queen theirself.
Laying workers does always mean multiple eggs per cell, but multiple eggs per cell isn't always due to laying workers.

But there is "multiple", and there is "multiple". A few cells here and there with two eggs is probably an issue with the queen, which might sort itself out. Nearly all cells with 4-6 eggs each is most likely laying workers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Laying worker hives don't always mean multiple eggs per cell. That can be the work of a newer queen also. The key thing to look for in a laying worker hive is that the eggs are NOT in the center of the cell but instead on the walls or even the corners of the cells. Were you able to find your Queen in this hive? If not and the eggs were NOT in the centers of the cells, I'd suspect laying workers, however if the queen was there, she may just be a new queen. Give her an extra week and check again in that case.

However, if you find that it's a laying worker hive, the best way i've found to fix it is a shake out and rebuild with another hive nuc and let them queen theirself.
I couldn't find a queen, but they had built several new queen cups that were empty. All the cells that I could find that had eggs had them widely spread out, on the sides, two or three to a cell.

My gut tells me this hive is queenless. There's a flow on and they're not working like they used to (although I did see one bee fly in with a little pollen today). I'm fairly certain they swarmed a few weeks ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The tried and true test for a laying worker hive is ALL drone brood....

What do you mean by clearing out the hive? Drawn comb is worth it weight in gold and then some...

You got stung...?? :lpf: ...welcome to beekeeping! ;)
By clean out, I mean brush the hive out to get rid of the laying workers before I requeen. I'm keeping the comb.

Well, I didn't get stung at all last year. I was hoping to keep it up this year. Right now my foot is really swollen and it hurts to walk.
 

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I had the same problem with a package install this year. They did not accept the queen that came with the package and I tried a nuc combine with a laying queen and the colony killed her. So, I tried giving them a frame of brood once a week for 3 weeks as described by Michael Bush and the colony raised their own queen…Just observed her today for the first time. Its a little bit of work but worth the time and effort…!

Here is the link: http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm

Good luck!

Tommy
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
...as described by Michael Bush and the colony raised their own queen…Just observed her today for the first time. Its a little bit of work but worth the time and effort…!

Here is the link: http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm

Tommy
Thanks, I think I'll give it a try. My hives are right in the backyard, so it won't be much work. It's cheaper, too.

Did you shake the hive out to try and get rid of the laying worker, first?
 

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Shaking the bees out of a colony having laying worker problems, does nothing to eliminate the problem or the laying workers. Laying workers can fly and they usually know how to find their hive.

Now, if you shake all the bees from a laying worker colony, removing their hive from its location, take all their combs containing brood or eggs, and freeze them overnight, then thaw them out and use them in other colonies. That works too, because the bees from that colony, including the laying workers, beg their way into all of your other colonies, and usually don't continue being a problem, since it's likely your other colonies have viable brood nests with brood pheromones that inspire the nurse bees to police the work of laying workers. So, even if some of the laying workers that were a problem in that queenless hive, were accepted into other hives, they wouldn't likely be a problem, there. Most all colonies contain laying workers, but they're usually only a problem when their colony has become queenless/broodless for an extended period of time.

A very successful alternative is described by Michael Bush, where giving the problem colony a weekly frame of open brood with eggs, donated from a healthy colony, can remedy the situation. Tommy Hodge has already provided the link to Michael Bush's web page describing the remedy.
 
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