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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, a buddy has a laying worker hive that developed very quickly from a package installation. By quickly I mean within a week. We've been providing this hive with one frame of open brood every seven days for 3 weeks and they still don't seem to be getting the hint and have not started any queen cells.

It feels like it's time to try something else.

In one of my bee books (which one escapes me right now) the auther suggested that the laying worker hive be moved approximately 400 yards away and completely shaken out into the grass (tall grass being better) and the hive placed back in the original location. All the field bees will return back to the hive and the laying worker(s) will get left behind as they are likely unable to fly and unlikely to survive a traverse of that distance. The colony can be requeened at this time or combined with another colony (say with the newspaper trick).

Anybody tried this before and feel like sharing?
One issue not discussed in the book (which I still cannot remember the name of) is that of losing the nurse bees. Considering that they have never left the nest, they likely will also be lost or at least less likely to find their way back to that specific hive.
Also, I figure that doing this in the late afternoon might also be to our advantage as the laying worker walking across the grass may not survive the cool night and thus not make it back to the hive.

Any thoughts or considerations would be much appriciated.

~Reid
 

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I dont do the shake out and just do a newspaper combine with another hive. Adding eggs and shake outs have not been that successful for us here, newspaper combine has had a better rate of success.
 

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Unfortunately laying workers are sometimes foragers too.

What has worked for me is doing what has been done already, adding a frame of eggs and open brood about once per week, though I include a ripe queen cell attached to each frame of open brood, usually the second or third queen cell does the trick, but sometimes even the first one will succeed.

If I don't have the patience for that, I just move the hive from its place, leaving that place open for a week or two, shake the bees out a short way from the apiary (20 feet or so). I then place the combs, sans bees, into other hives that can use them. If I wish to restore that hive I just install one of my nucs or make a colony from frames of brood, honey, and pollen - also I put a ripe queen cell on one of the brood frames.
 

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I've read that this doesn't work very well and that there are usually many laying workers. You could move the laying worker colony off to one side while you assemble a new colony in its place with one frame of eggs and brood plus frames of honey, pollen and drawn foundation (no bees). Next, add your drone layer colony on top of a populous colony with the newspaper method (leave a top entrance for the field bees to escape). Now you have all the field bees entering a box with plenty of feed, and young brood but no laying workers. The combined colony has the laying workers, without its field force, on top of a strong colony. The brood pheromones and queen pheromones below should overwhelm the top box.
 

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I've read that this doesn't work very well and that there are usually many laying workers. You could move the laying worker colony off to one side while you assemble a new colony in its place with one frame of eggs and brood plus frames of honey, pollen and drawn foundation (no bees). Next, add your drone layer colony on top of a populous colony with the newspaper method (leave a top entrance for the field bees to escape). Now you have all the field bees entering a box (old location of laying worker colony) with plenty of feed, and young brood but no laying workers. The combined colony (with newspaper) has the laying workers, without its field force, on top of a strong colony. The brood pheromones and queen pheromones below should overwhelm the top box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Good ideas all.
Which of course leads me to more questions . . . bear with me here. I like to take these opportunities to understand more and tend to go crazy with the followup questions.

1) What are the chances of the losing the queen when combining a laying worker with a queenright colony? Any risk there? That would definitely be the easiest solution at this point.

2) If the brood pheromones are that strong (and useful), why not use a double screen board over a queenright colony for a few days to insure laying worker suppression prior to the newspaper combine?

3) Or even better, why don't beeks just set the entire laying worker colony above a queenright colony for a few days and then pull them off while at the same time giving them some open brood and eggs to rear a new queen? Shouldn't they immediately start rearing a new queen and solve the problem in a shorter period of time compared to inserting just one frame of eggs for a few weeks and hoping they'll figure it out? Why not just overwhelm them with brood pheromones the moment you find a laying worker colony?

4) For a more complex idea along the lines of HVH's suggestion, I've got a nuc with a nice queen cell that probably hatched out yesterday. We could move the laying worker colony to the top of the neighboring queenright colony over a double screen board, while placing my 5 frames with the virgin queen where the queenless colony was located. All the field bees would return to the old location to strength that young nuc then we could combine the old laying worker hive (now no longer so *assumption*) with either of the now queenright colonies a few days later.

Is #4 too much? I've never moved a nuc with a virgin queen though. I'm not sure if there is anything I could screw up there as long as she isn't on her mating flight. Yep, that would suck. :cry:

~Reid
 

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I had a bad LW hive last year. 3-4 weeks of open brood and eggs, they were not starting any new queens. I got a new queen and introduced her into the hive with a push-in cage over emerging brood.

The 3 weeks of open brood prepared the hive, and the push-in cage introduced the queen safely. Worked well for me.

Grid.
 

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Hi everyone -
I am Reid's buddy, and I am new to beekeeping. He has been kind enough to help me along and let me learn from him.
To answer Chick's question, I did get a queen with the package. We did not direct release her but used the candy trick to try and get them used to each other. But alas it did not work, and the killed her. That is what has led us to the above options. Thanks for all the advise.
 

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First of all; are you sure you have LW? Sometimes a new queen will lay multiple eggs except the eggs will be in the bottom of the cell; LW eggs are usually on the sides of the cell. If you, in fact, do have LW chances are very high they will not accept a new queen or cells. I would do Michael Bush's solution of installing a frame of eggs every week for 3 weeks. Do not try to combine with another hive as they will kill the queen 99% of the time. If the eggs don't work shake them out and spray with Dawn dishwashing detergent and water. Not enough time in the day to mess with LW hives; that time could be better spent making a split and starting a new hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
First of all; are you sure you have LW? Sometimes a new queen will lay multiple eggs except the eggs will be in the bottom of the cell; LW eggs are usually on the sides of the cell. If you, in fact, do have LW chances are very high they will not accept a new queen or cells. I would do Michael Bush's solution of installing a frame of eggs every week for 3 weeks. Do not try to combine with another hive as they will kill the queen 99% of the time. If the eggs don't work shake them out and spray with Dawn dishwashing detergent and water. Not enough time in the day to mess with LW hives; that time could be better spent making a split and starting a new hive.
Yes, the fact that laying workers are in control of the hive not in doubt.
Frames of eggs have been introduced for 3 weeks to no benifit (though a good idea).
Doubtful we'll throw the towel in and kill off the colony. There are too many suggested fixes both on BeeSource and in the literature to not at least attempt some of them as a learning experiment. The scientist in me doesn't allow me to cast aside such opportunities for failure as steps toward understanding.

Option #4 in my post above was initiated this afternoon. JFox and I will updated this thread and let you know if that LW hive responds to the double screen board option better than just inserting a frame of eggs every week (tested by inserting drawn comb to check laying worker existance). If this works, I might even set up an experiment with control hives and intentional LW hives to really test this out.

If this doesn't work that will be great information as well.
~Reid
 

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Bump-

I just found multiple egg cells, a lot of drone brood (bulged out cells), and still didn't see the queen. Up to that point, I had seen a few eggs here and there, but nothing spectacular.

@Camero-
How has the LW worked out with the re-queening process?
 

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It worked to the extent that they accepted the queen [left her in the cage for 10 days before release]. However, when I opened the hive a few days ago there was a capped queen cell and two others being built. The brood was quite spotty. I suspect this queen, which had been banked for a while and then was in the cage for 10 days never really got laying well and they are going to replace her. I'm not going to open the hive for about 9 more days to give the new queen a chance. Then I'll open and see if she got out or if they tore down the cells. I'm not sure it's really worth all the $ and effort I've spent, but it was a good educational experience. Next time I think I'll just shake them out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Placing the LW colony above a double screen board stopped the laying workers within 4 days. Not sure exactly how quick because that was the earliest we checked it. Next time I'll have to try this right away, then insert a frame of eggs after only two days and see if they start making queen cells right away. But this initial result was promissing.

To be scientifically fair, there were no controls and it is quite possible that the LW colony just happen to figure it out at the same time we put them on the double screen board over the QR colony. Thus the usefulness for an experiment in the future. I'm sure I'll get some crap for intentionally making several LW colonies in order to do this experiment.

Camero7 - For what it's worth I've heard beeks complain quite a few times that their introduced queen gets superceded right away. There are all kinds of opinions on why and how to reduce it, but it probably always will come down to the fact that the bees can identify the relatedness of the queen to themselves or to the previous queen, hence the strong suggestion you hear from people like Susan Coby to not bank different races of queens together. Other than this package of my buddy's that rejected the queen, I haven't had a problems with packages (that I observed - meaning that they could have requeened and I didn't notice). So far I've just let them requeen themselves with no problems (discounting the 3 week delay in laying and additional 3 weeks to get a brood nest going again - that part sucks).

-Reid
 

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Reid,

Thanks for the info... the queen was Carnolian and the package was Carnolian. The queen was banked with other Carnolians and Italians, so the hypothesis could be correct. Next time I'll try the double screen board... can't hurt.
 
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