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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a bit confused. I "think" I have a hive with lay workers. Its a weak 5 frame nuc split about three weeks ago. I can not locate the queen despite the nuc being weak. Not all cells with eggs have multiple eggs and not all cells with eggs have the eggs located on the side wall. But there are cells with multiple eggs and eggs on the side wall. The brood pattern is ok, but the capping is slow in progress.

So here is my confusion. I recently placed a grafted queen cell in a cell protector in the Nuc. The bees don't seem to be trying to attack it. I think they have accepted the cell. It's due to emerge tomorrow. Today, I checked for the emergence and now I see there are queen cells being built in area's in the hive that suggest supercedure.

I didn't think a hive with laying workers would build queen cells? Am I wrong? Maybe I don't have a laying worker nuc after all?
 

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A laying worker hive will attempt to build queen cells with drone larvae. They rarely make it to the capping stage before the bees tear them down again. I would risk one more frame of open brood in the nuc before the virgin queen emerges. May help with acceptance and will help with suppressing the LWs. New queens often lay multiple eggs in a cell but always on the bottom. Drone eggs laid in worker cells will cause the bees to extend the cell before it is capped. If you see that, you know for sure, even before they are actually capped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thats easy, I will do that right now. Thankfully, my front porch is my split nuc yard...LOL
 

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You have been given good advice.

Strange thing, although LW hives will not accept adult queens, they readily accept queen cells and the virgins that emerge from them. You have good odds of success.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So, an update. Queen Cell has not emerged while 4 others of 6 (Didn't need many so I grafted 14 total, got 6 in the batch) from the same graft have. I hope this one isn't a dude. Anyhow, as JWPalmer said, if they are LW's they will start tearing down the QC's they are making and sure enough, they are. Still have about 3 more they are attempting to make. Lets see what they do with them and lets see what happens in the next day or so with the grafted QC
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, Update. The grafted queen cell was a dude. As I put up to the light I could not see anything in it. I tore it down and indeed the queen in it was dead.

So what I did with the nuc was took it a ways away and shook all of the bees off the 5 combs and destroyed queen cells that were being built. I returned to the original location and placed the empty box of combs on top of a neighboring queen right hive. No bees were transfered.

So now I am wondering what the new hive will do with the eggs, larva and brood that was in the nuc from the laying worker? Will the workers know enough that the eggs are useless and destroy them making room for the queen to lay? Or will they be allow to hatch as drones?
 

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If there are enough bees in the box they will raise those LW drones. What i often do is run my hive tool over the capped ones to kill them and let the bees remove them.
 

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If there are enough bees in the box they will raise those LW drones. What i often do is run my hive tool over the capped ones to kill them and let the bees remove them.
Why? Are LW drones genetically inferior to drones laid by a mated (or unmated) queen?
 

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Not genetically inferior, but their lower body mass results in them being shouldered out of the most favored zones of the drone congregation areas. Their mating success rate is considerably lower than queens offspring from the larger drone sized cells. There are links on the forum to some fairly comprehensive study on this.
 

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Not to mention that LW drones raised in worker cells are malnourished and 1/2 the bodyweight of normal drones. They have around 1/2 the semen volume but only an 1/8th of the sperm count.

Highly unlikely to outcompete normal drones and actually achieve a mating, but if they did, your queen would have to mate with a hundred and sixty of them to be equal to mating with 20 normal drones.

The idea that hives go laying worker to perpetuate the genetic line is a nice story that some people want to hear, but it's a myth. In the wild and pre varroa, laying worker colonies almost never occur, and in a rare instance if one did, what is the point of perpetuating genetics from a failed hive? Laying worker colonies are almost always in kept hives, and caused by a beekeeper mistake.

Other than that, the LW drones are a waste of space and resources in a hive, and in enough numbers can be disruptive and hinder recovery attempts by a weakened hive.

However if you love them, keep them. Their only value is as pets. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Not to mention that LW drones raised in worker cells are malnourished and 1/2 the bodyweight of normal drones. They have around 1/2 the semen volume but only an 1/8th of the sperm count.

Highly unlikely to outcompete normal drones and actually achieve a mating, but if they did, your queen would have to mate with a hundred and sixty of them to be equal to mating with 20 normal drones.

The idea that hives go laying worker to perpetuate the genetic line is a nice story that some people want to hear, but it's a myth. In the wild and pre varroa, laying worker colonies almost never occur, and in a rare instance if one did, what is the point of perpetuating genetics from a failed hive? Laying worker colonies are almost always in kept hives, and caused by a beekeeper mistake.

Other than that, the LW drones are a waste of space and resources in a hive, and in enough numbers can be disruptive and hinder recovery attempts by a weakened hive.

However if you love them, keep them. Their only value is as pets. ;)

So all of this said, Why would a solid box of "Normal" Workers keep these drone larva rather than cleaning them out of the new combine?
 

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Straight up, I don't know why. I just know that if they have sufficient bees to do it, they will, eggs may get removed but existing larvae will be fed.

Got to bear in mind here that you have put the bees in a situation they would not have encountered in nature. IE, you have taken a box of LW eggs and larvae, and put it on a normal hive. The bees suddenly find themselves faced with a situation that is caused by a human, and not in their genetic memory.

In the wild, it is sufficient for them to remove unviable eggs or eggs laid in the wrong place. So in a normal hive with healthy queen they do not have to deal with slabs of LW brood, because they dealt with it at the egg stage. Putting a box of already part grown LW larvae on the hive is an aberation the bees don't know what to do about, so (i'm guessing), their instinct to care for larvae kicks in.

Almost all times when people say the bees were stupid, or made the wrong decision, it is actually the result of something the beekeeper did that put the bees outside of their normal conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Straight up, I don't know why. I just know that if they have sufficient bees to do it, they will, eggs may get removed but existing larvae will be fed.

Got to bear in mind here that you have put the bees in a situation they would not have encountered in nature. IE, you have taken a box of LW eggs and larvae, and put it on a normal hive. The bees suddenly find themselves faced with a situation that is caused by a human, and not in their genetic memory.

In the wild, it is sufficient for them to remove unviable eggs or eggs laid in the wrong place. So in a normal hive with healthy queen they do not have to deal with slabs of LW brood, because they dealt with it at the egg stage. Putting a box of already part grown LW larvae on the hive is an aberation the bees don't know what to do about, so (i'm guessing), their instinct to care for larvae kicks in.

Almost all times when people say the bees were stupid, or made the wrong decision, it is actually the result of something the beekeeper did that put the bees outside of their normal conditions.
Great response. I would counter with everything we beekeepers do is an aberration!!!
 

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Agreed. :D

Us taking a honey crop is not a natural thing for the bees, so by definition, we do have to mess with them. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Straight up, I don't know why. I just know that if they have sufficient bees to do it, they will, eggs may get removed but existing larvae will be fed.

Got to bear in mind here that you have put the bees in a situation they would not have encountered in nature. IE, you have taken a box of LW eggs and larvae, and put it on a normal hive. The bees suddenly find themselves faced with a situation that is caused by a human, and not in their genetic memory.

In the wild, it is sufficient for them to remove unviable eggs or eggs laid in the wrong place. So in a normal hive with healthy queen they do not have to deal with slabs of LW brood, because they dealt with it at the egg stage. Putting a box of already part grown LW larvae on the hive is an aberation the bees don't know what to do about, so (i'm guessing), their instinct to care for larvae kicks in.

Almost all times when people say the bees were stupid, or made the wrong decision, it is actually the result of something the beekeeper did that put the bees outside of their normal conditions.
So I think I have found out what they will do with LW eggs and larva. To you intuitive credit oldtimer, you were correct, it appears that the workers eliminated LW eggs, because there are nicely placed single eggs centered at the bottom of the cells all over the old LW comb's. The larva however are being attended too. No more multiple eggs in any cells and this is just 2 days after I combine the two nuc's
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Very interesting. :)
So, I have been thinking about how the workers cleaned up the LW eggs when combined. This also explains spotty Drone brood. I would suggest that even in an active LW hive, the workers are actively cleaning out LW eggs, but miss some before they turn to larva, thus spotty drone brood. It's not that LW's lay in a spotty pattern, it's that Workers are trying to rid the hive of bad drone brood
 

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Sounds a good explanation, here is a pic of a typical comb of LW brood.

 
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