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Discussion Starter #1
Will a laying worker always lay multiple eggs in a cell? I have a couple of nucs from my last round of splits that appear to have laying workers but some cells have a single egg laid right where it should be. I had a new queen in one of my previous splits that laid multiple eggs per cell till she figured it out but I've been through both colonies a few times and can't find a queen in either. Wondering how long to give it before I try to fix the issue and combine. Thanks.

Hunter
 

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LW'ers will get the odd egg in the right place, but most of them in the wrong place.

You do not say why you think the hive has LW'ers, could it be because there is drone brood in worker cells? If so, you could have a drone laying queen. Drone laying queens get the egg in the right place.

And yes, newly mated queens will sometimes lay multiple eggs in a cell for the first few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
They are new splits made with capped queen cells. I haven't seen queens yet but am seeing eggs. I'm good at finding queens but sometimes they're good at hiding. I have queens in all other splits made at the same time. Odd thing is, one of the two I suspect of having a LW had eggs before I saw queens in any of the others. I don't know how long it takes a queenless colony to have workers start laying but it seemed premature to me. Unless the queen didn't make it back from her first mating flight so her pheromones weren't present.
 

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Will a laying worker always lay multiple eggs in a cell?
It's not "a laying worker". At first it is a few laying workers and they will be single eggs and most of the eggs they are laying are simply being removed. A good hint is that those eggs are scattered and not in a good pattern. Often, at this point in the process, you will see queen cells with eggs and larva and an occasional larva in a worker cell. Again, scattered and not in a good pattern. Later in the process as you get more and more laying workers you reach the point where the egg police can't keep up and you see multiple eggs. At this point half the bees in the colony are now laying workers.



"More than half of the bees in laying worker colonies have developed ovaries (Sakagami 1954)..."-- Reproduction by worker honey bees (Apis mellifer L.) R.E. Page Jr and E.H. Erickson Jr. - Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology August 1988, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 117-126
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So in that case does the shake out method work to fix a LW colony? Or being that there are many are some of the laying workers light enough to fly back?
 

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Yes they can fly back. There are several myths around the shake out method.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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One way to fix a laying worker colony that has often, but not always, worked for me is to give them a frame of open brood. Do not expect them to make a queen cell. Instead, a week later install a capped queen cell or virgin queen with the cell she emerged from. Not only is this easy, but in the event you are wrong about the LW problem, you have not lost anything but a queen cell or virgin. I hate losing mated queens because I jumped the gun.
 

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One way to fix a laying worker colony that has often, but not always, worked for me is to give them a frame of open brood.
Anytime you give them open brood it will contribute to the success of whatever method you are using. The longer they are exposed to it the better. A cell often does work. It also often fails, but if you have cells to spare, you don't have much invested.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Most of my colonies are fairly small since I focused on expanding hive numbers and made a few rounds of splits. I may not have too many brood frames to spare. If not is the best remedy to shake the bees out and let them find homes in my other colonies?
 

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If you are absolutely sure you are queenless, and do not want to mess around with them much, that is a good solution also. Really depends on your goals and where you are in the learning process. For me now, I will make one attempt and if they stay LW, shake em out. But earlier, I wanted to learn how to save the colony if it was possible and spent more time and resources than I should have. Bottom line, if you are willing to use up to three frames of brood to save an LW hive, you might as well make a nuc and shake the other bees out. Just not on the same day.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Gave it a few more days. One has a new queen cell built with a larvae so there was a queen, can't believe I couldn't find her. I also saw several single eggs laid properly and it looked like all the multi egg cells had been cleared out. The other one has drone brood and cells with a lot of eggs still. Shaking them out tomorrow and taking their home away, I don't have enough brood frames to try to turn them around. I'm going to go ahead and see what happens with the queen cell, and will combine it later if it fails. Hopefully I will catch it in time. Thanks for all the feedback.
 

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One thing to watch for are false queen cells. These occur sometimes in a laying worker hive and are built around a drone larva. The cells tend to be rather elongated and are usually torn down by the bees before the cell is due to emerge. So, mark your calendar and check on the cell in 9 days from now. If it is still there and capped or already properly emerged, chances are it is a real queen. You do see drones in and about your yard, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, there are still drones around. I was not aware of false queen cells, thanks again.
 
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