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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
One of my hives lost the queen and is now a laying-worker hive (population is quickly crashing, lots of drone brood in worker cells, no queen to be found despite a careful inspection). From past experience, I know requeening a laying-worker hives consumes alot of resources (i.e. one frame of eggs/brood per week for 3 or 4 weeks). I would rather not be robbing eggs/brood from my other hives at the beginning of the Spring build-up

I have another hive that is queen-right but is small.

I am thinking the best thing to do is to cut my losses on the laying-worker hive and help the small queen-right hive by combining them.

I am thinking there are two possible outcomes:

1) The pheromes from the queen and eggs/brood in the queen-right hive will suppress the laying-worker(s?) in the laying-worker hive so that it will be just like a combining a queenless non-laying-worker hive into a queen-right hive; or

2) The laying-worker hive thinks it is queen-right, and the results will be the same as trying to combine two queen-right hives, i.e., it won't work.

How feasible is combining a laying-worker hive with a queen-right hive? If such a combine is possible, what is the best method to use?

TIA.

--shinbone
 

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My last 2 LWs I just did a newspaper combine by putting it on top. No problem. You could throw in an old window screen or get fancy and use a double screen board to add time.
1st hive had not started QCs, from brood tired of trying, 2nd did not even try. saw it was LW and combined 10 minutes later, had to get newspaper or it would have been sooner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I guess I should have done a search before asking my question. It seems that there are two camps:

1) Place the laying-worker hive over the queen-right hive separated by a double screen (not sure for how long, though). Then, do a newspaper combine; or

2) Don't waste time on the laying-worker hive or risk getting the queen killed in the queen-right hive - just shake the bees of the LW hive out (and let them find new hives on their own) and redistribute the combs between the other hives in the apiary.

Dealer's choice, I guess.
 

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I think it is a case of size matters. A large LW hive I would probably still lean MB's method, small is just less to lose, not much to gain.
 

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Time and resources. Mine have been smaller LW hives. I tried adding brood but ran into rainy weekends and weak hives I'd didn't want to rob. It's was easier for me to shake them out and freeze the comb. Use the drawn comb and stores to bolster other hives at my convenience and rob brood frames when I don't have to worry about weakening other hives.
 

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I have put laying worker hives on a queen right hive with just a queen excluder between them and they did fine. Did two last fall. one of the two was a big hive so I put one deep box on one hive and the other a medium box on a different hive but all went well. I got the idea from Dan Purvis's website a couple years ago and thought I would try it and it worked for those hives.
 

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I combined a LW deep on a weaker queen right deep last month. It's very strong now. Lots of brood and stores. I built one of those double screen boards from plans found on this site. Pretty simple and effective. It gave me that added comfort even if it would have worked without it. I left it on for 3 or 4 days then pulled it and put two sheets of newspaper with razor slits. Two days later the paper was almost gone. I removed the rest of the paper. All is well, and now I have this cool screen board to play with.
 

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I had two hives go laying worker last summer.....The way I handled them was: I did a shake out and placed the LW hive back in the original location.....Then I waited about 30 minutes for the bees to return to it. Then I immediately did a newspaper combine with a queenright hive. I did it that way twice last summer and it worked flawlessly!
 

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it is hard to give up numbers but i find it best to shake them out and start a fresh nuc.
Yup, I agree. Adding a frame of brood every week is a waste of time and resources..............you could take those same 3 frames of brood and start a brand new nuc and if you want, make arrangements to get a mated queen, add three frames of mostly capped brood with nurse bees and your nuc will be rolling in no time!!

Just shake em out and start fresh!!
 

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A frame of eggs is very little investment by the donor hive. The queen can lay far more eggs than they can take care of. But yes, laying worker hives are usually not worth any trouble to someone with a lot of hives. It's easier to move the equipment, shake them out, put the equipment on other hives and forget them.
 

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Don't waste time on the laying-worker hive or risk getting the queen killed in the queen-right hive - just shake the bees of the LW hive out (and let them find new hives on their own) and redistribute the combs between the other hives in the apiary.
My method.
 

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SaltyBee is correct size can matter.

My normal method is to put the LW hive straight over a queenright hive, with a queen excluder between just to ensure the good queen will not accidentally wander into unfriendly bees. This is left 2 or 3 weeks then the excluder removed and hive reorganised, I can not remember this method ever failing.

Just, I would be careful putting a strong LW hive over a weak queenright one. In such a case it may pay to put a box of empty comb between the two, just to slow down the introduction, don't want the small hive getting swamped.

It's best to leave the queenright hive where it is and move the LW hive to it, so the queenright hive will retain all it's bees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Shortly after starting this thread in late March, I realized that the suspect hive wasn't queenless. The queen was just taking her sweet time to start laying worker brood after Winter, and laying drones in the meantime.

Since then, I have managed to avoid a laying worker hive . . . until now. I now have a hive that has gone laying worker. I am currently trying the double-screen method using a queen-right hive to suppress the laying worker until the LW stops producing eggs, and I will then follow up with a newspaper combine. This seems like the safest way to solve the laying worker problem without consuming a bunch of resources.
 

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Please keep updated, if the screen method will actually work.
 

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There's usually a whole bunch of them. They cannot be separated, if someone wants to go that route they have to be regressed by exposure to brood.
 

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I just combined a LW nuc from the last stage of a trapout to a queenright nuc, no newspaper, no excluder. There were only a handfull of bees in the LW nuc and the queenright nuc was about to split at the seams with bees and brood so I just combined. The new colony is doing great. It has everything to do with the LW colony size. Usually I do a shake out then redistribute LW resources but in this case I figured it would be a non-issue and it was.
 
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