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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i recently checked one of my hives (that survived the winter here in rhode island) to see how the queen was laying. i did not see the queen--but she may well be there, i am very inexperienced. i discovered that the colony is quite small-maybe a coupla hundred bees and that theres probably equal drone brood (bullet cappings) to regular brood. does this mean i have laying workers? i'm unsure of what to do next. thanks for feedback.


on another note, is it true that bees dont make much honey on a fruit tree and berry farm?
 

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When you say equal drone brood you mean half worker brood and half drone brood? If so then you have a queen, but she's failing. If it's ALL drone brood then you probably have laying workers.

I've never had bees on a fruit tree or berry farm but I'm sure it would help the yield of fruit.
 

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Any worker brood at all implies that a queen
is present. Don't sell her short - a small
cluster of bees can only support so much brood,
and would be foolish to over-extend themselves.

Can you take a few frames of sealed brood from
a stronger hive, and add them to supplement
the colony population? This would help.

> is it true that bees dont make much honey on a
> fruit tree and berry farm

Depends upon the mix of berry plants. It is
true that bees on apples and many other fruit
trees don't gain colony weight (many colonies
loose weight). But raspberry and blackberry
can fill supers under the right weather
conditions when they bloom after a rain, and
the bees have several days of decent foraging
weather.
 

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Also, laying workers will lay three or four or more eggs to a cell and they will lay them on the sides and on top of pollen. A queen will only lay singles and occasional doubles in the bottom of the cell and never on top of pollen.
 

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ok Michael you used the word never and in my case this year i saw it happen...........new package put on 5 drawn frames 1 with pollen.......she got released accidently when i pulled the cork on wrong end......flew off then back then into hive she went.........two days later i check and there are eggs........some on top of pollen (just a few) I did a double take and found her and she was laying.........Russian....weird.......but true
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks JIm and Michael and Flewster-

I just started 9 new packages...so I am very excited but do not have brood yet to give to this weak colony. I have another package on order, so I was thinking I could a) add the 3 lbs bees to the weak colony and give the queen to a friend who needs it. b)if theres laying workers in my weak colony then just start completely fresh.

I will go look again for my queen and for how the eggs have been laid.

I would love to see this colony thrive again- lets hope theres no laying workers.
 

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>ok Michael you used the word never and in my case this year i saw it happen...

Ok. I probably shouldn't have said never in that context. I'VE never seen where a queen laid eggs on pollen.
But I've sure seen laying workers that prefer it.
 

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>....new package....
>there are eggs........some on top of pollen

With a new package and a new queen, could it be that there was a worker, or two, or three that had developed ovaries at the time the bees were shaken?
 

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I had a hivewith laying worker , The hive looked like a popcorn machine went crazy in it. no worker brood at all.put two new frames of brood in it so {I thought} they would make a new queen. all that happened was brood hatched. made the hive strong, but the problem was still there. so I took hive 1/4 mile away dumped it. while my wife placed nuc with new brood frames and wax. the bees beat me back to the yard hope this works
 

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In response to rocky ridge what you did was right because the bees make it back to the hive but the laying worker doesn't.But you best put a frame with eggs from another hive in your nuc or how else will the bees make another queen.
 

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You can take the laying worker hive as little as 30-50 feet away and make sure all bees are shaken out. Put in a couple of frames brood with eggs or sealed brood with a queen and they will take her. I made 180 splits on 3/05/05 and used queen cells. One yard was on the south side of a lake an dthe winds were coming across the water(bad spot for mating queens) and I had 40% failure and had 25 % failure in the other yards (cool, windy weather in Fl this year).. On April 8 I did the above and installed queens in the laying worker/dronelaying queen hives(50)I also started 30 more hives and had the best queen acceptance I could hope for (76 out of 80).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
To followup, I was wrong about worker brood being present in my hive at all...turns out it was all drones and upon closer inspection, no queen was present. She must have died over the winter and they didn't have enough resources to make a new one?

I've shaken out the bees and I'm making a fresh start with a new package of bees.
 

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Gentlemen! It is a myth that laying workers will not find their way back to the hive. A recent article in ABJ with marked laying workers disproves the myth. They were back like a shot. They also have no trouble flying. I'd just shake them out withpout setting up another hive. Maybe spray the bees with sugar water and they'll find a home.

Dickm
 

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On the berry farm question, on my island in Puget Sound, the majority of the flow comes from blackberry bushes which are plentiful.
 
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