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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's the story,

In the Spring i hived an overwintered nuc that was booming. I had it in a deep and medium. In no time the first medium was packed with honey and i was seeing several swarm cells. I made a few nucs with the swarm cells and added another medium. In june the 2nd medium was full of honey so I extracted some and put the empties back on. Then I started to see some supercedure cells and decided to leave them alone. Shortly after it became obvious that the hive had swarmed. I left the 2nd medium on and left the hive to see what would happen. The hive never recovered and i ended up putting some brood back in from one of the nucs. Still no queen and I ended up with a laying worker, and I removed the 2nd medium that was still untouched.
My plan was to dump the hive to get rid of the laying worker, let the hive sit for 24 hrs then introduce a caged queen.
Well last week i carried the hive off about 300 yds and dumped it and put it back in its origional position. After 24 hrs I checked the hive and noticed a decent population, so i added a frame of brood and some bees that were on the innercover of another hive and introduced the caged queen with the cork still in. I would wait a day and remove the cork so hopefully the bees would have time to accept the queen.
well when I inspected the have after a day, I immediately noticed that there were no bees. upon inspection, i found several dead bees on the bottom board, and the queen was dead inside the cage with her attendants and all stores were gone. It looked like a clear robbing situation.
Looking back it seems apparent that I made several mistakes, and to me this was definitely beekeeper error.

#1 I should have removed the 2nd super earlier when in noticed it wasn't being used. too much space, saw signs of shb after the fact.

#2 I let the hive get too weak, especially after dumping. I should have gone to just 1 deep, or even a nuc.
#3 Not sure of this, need some input: but when I added the extra bees that were on the inner cover of the donating hive I think they were adult bees and they in turn returned to the parent hive and induced a robbing situation.

I'm gonna chalk this one up as a learning experience, so any advice on this would be appreciated.

Thanks
DD
 

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DD,
im in the same boat. 2nd year beek and i had 2 strong hives that made it through the winter. Did a cut-down split on both of these first of June. Both hives started queen cells and I thought all was good. Well, for some reason, the queens never materialized..weather, no mating, died, who knows but both hives establised laying workers. made me sick. there was a lot of honey in these hives that i decided to leave for them to cap. Well, to make a long story short, last week i went to pull the honey and it was all gone...practically all of it and no bees. in addition, one of the splits didn't take either. the other i think is going to be ok. At least i have a lot of frames with built comb that i can use to help the other hives. Lots of learned lessons here this year but man, i hated to lose all that honey

tim
 

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The only thing you did wrong was worry too much about saving that particular hive. You have others assuming that some of your nucs made it, so mostly you just lost the caged queen. The robbers took the honey home so it isn't lost. If you save the comb and redistribute it then no great loss at all. I've shook out 2 hives in the last few days. When I see shotgun drone comb in mid summer I don't even care what the deal is - failing queen, laying worker, whatever - I shake it out before the beetles take over.

The key is making those nucs in the spring so you have those backups ready to take over the comb and expand into it. Which it sounds like you did, so good job.

Yesterday I counted about 7 more queen right units than I plan to go into winter with - that gives you the ability to combine, shake out, or requeen pretty painlessly when needed.

I don't know how people get by that don't make nucs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
When I see shotgun drone comb in mid summer I don't even care what the deal is - failing queen, laying worker, whatever - I shake it out before the beetles take over.

The key is making those nucs in the spring so you have those backups ready to take over the comb and expand into it. Which it sounds like you did, so good job.
Thats a perfect description, Shotgun drone pattern is exactly what I was seeing. And yep, I will be installing one of the swarm cell nucs back in this equipment once I freeze all the frames.

Another question, do you think adding the adult bees had any influence on the robbing?

Thanks,
DD
 

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Another question, do you think adding the adult bees had any influence on the robbing?
Maybe, but it probably wasn't the main thing that caused it. Just opening the hive can set off robbing, and a weak queenless hive just won't put up much of a fight. I put robber screens on every at risk hive - small, weak, queenless, or being fed - any of those get them once the flow ends around June 1. They are cheap and easy to make and don't do any harm, so why not?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
"I put robber screens on every at risk hive - small, weak, queenless, or being fed - any of those get them once the flow ends around June 1. They are cheap and easy to make and don't do any harm, so why not?"

Crap!! never even thought of that, and I even built a real nice robber screen this winter too.


Actually when I think back on it, things are becoming clearer.
1st, some of the honey comb was damaged during dumping and there was some open honey.
2nd, the next day when I went to check on the population of the dumped hive and add the queen, I was somewhat surprised at the activity and the amount of bees in the hive.
3rd, when I added the queen cage i noticed what appeared to be orienting bees outside the front entrance.

I bet the hive was actually in the beginning stages of being robbed when I added the queen..
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
What exactly does"shake out" mean? Sorry Iam new
When you have a laying worker, it is very difficult to determine which of the 20,000 or so bees is the culprit(s). A laying worker will also kill a new queen, so it is imperative to find and remove them.
Laying workers are younger nurse bees that have never been out of the hive, so they have never oriented to the hive.
So the theory is, you take the hive some distance off, say 100+ yards and shake out all the bees and return the empty hive to its original location. All the older bees will be able to find their way back to the hive, and the younger nurse bees (and hopefully the offending laying worker) will not know the way back to the hive since they have never been outside the hive.

Hope this helps.

DD
 

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DD, Being reflective is part of the learning process... I know I'm going to monk something up, so I try to have 2 more than my goal. If my goal is to have 10 hives, I'll have 12 or two extra nucs just for back up. Same thing with boxes have extra so you will be able to make that split when the opportunity arrises. It took me a long time to get to a point that I was proactive instead of reactive. It's all ways better to fall back to a strong position...SF
 

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I've killed lots of hives but I try to learn something from every one I lose. I love making nucs so it's never a real problem.

I believe I've learned more from hives I've lost than I have from the ones that survive in spite of me.

As David said, keeping a few nucs is the key to sustainability.

I never let one die anymore, at the first sign of decline I combine or shake them out and install a nuc in their equipment. Bees are easy to make, equipment is expensive.
 

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So the theory is, you take the hive some distance off, say 100+ yards and shake out all the bees and return the empty hive to its original location. All the older bees will be able to find their way back to the hive, and the younger nurse bees (and hopefully the offending laying worker) will not know the way back to the hive since they have never been outside the hive. DD
Bad theory. The laying workers will be back in the hive shortly after being shaken out! Give the hive open brood every week (from another hive) and see if they'll make a queen. If not, don't waste your time, shake the hive out...
 

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I have also had a similar situation. Made up a nuc, installed a caged Queen. Came back 3 days later...a ton of dead bees on the bottom board, Queen cage candy plug eaten through, dead bees in Queen cage, no Queen to be seen..dead or alive, very few bees, dead larvaen a frame I had given them. Assume they were robbed.

The nuc has an entrance hole mid front face with an entrance disc reducing the hole to less than half.

What sort of an anti robbing device use on nucs with a circular entrance reducer?
 

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It won't be the same laying workers though. I usually don't put the same hive back when I do a shake out. I usually remove the hive setup completely and freeze or redistribute the comb and let the bees beg Into other hives. Then maybe move a nuc into that spot in a few days. Some of the old foragers from the shake out will move into the nuc and strengthen it but not so many all at once.
 

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When you have a laying worker, it is very difficult to determine which of the 20,000 or so bees is the culprit(s). A laying worker will also kill a new queen, so it is imperative to find and remove them.
Laying workers are younger nurse bees that have never been out of the hive, so they have never oriented to the hive.
So the theory is, you take the hive some distance off, say 100+ yards and shake out all the bees and return the empty hive to its original location. All the older bees will be able to find their way back to the hive, and the younger nurse bees (and hopefully the offending laying worker) will not know the way back to the hive since they have never been outside the hive.

Hope this helps.

DD
I have heard much more weathered Beeks say, you never have A laying worker, you have hundreds or more. Once the hive goes laying worker, there isnt simply one culprit. G
 

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What's the difference between regular drone comb and what y'all are calling shotgun drone comb? Whats the visual difference. Thanks!
The pattern is sporadic, and looks sort of like a shotgun's pattern with a mid grade shot. Do a google for "shotgun drone comb" and look at the images you get. Mr. Bush has a nice blurb on his site. http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm
 

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>When you have a laying worker, it is very difficult to determine which of the 20,000 or so bees is the culprit(s). A laying worker will also kill a new queen, so it is imperative to find and remove them.

Actually probably at least 20% of those bees are the culprit. You NEVER have "a" laying worker if you have laying worker problems.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm#multiple

>Laying workers are younger nurse bees that have never been out of the hive, so they have never oriented to the hive.
So the theory is, you take the hive some distance off, say 100+ yards and shake out all the bees and return the empty hive to its original location.

The problem is that even though it gets repeated in many beekeeping books, the whole thing is a theory that has been thoroughly disproven. The laying workers do know their way back and will go back. The only reason shaking out works at all is the disorientation it causes sometimes demoralizes them enough to accept a queen. But often it does not.

The sequence when going laying worker goes like this. Early on you find a few scattered eggs and brood. What is scattered? Let's start with what is solid. Solid brood patters are where most of the cells surrounding a given cell are filled with eggs/brood of similar age. So scattered is an egg or a larvae here and there surrounded by empty cells. You often see a drone cap here and there as well. This can lead you to think, because of the presence of some eggs and the lack of multiple eggs, that there might be a queen. Often at this point there were also be a few queen cells with larvae in them or eggs in them giving you some hope they will resolve the issue. They won't. But at this point giving them some open brood may result in queen cells right away or introducing a queen may work well. In about a week, the queen cells have been torn down, there are a few more scattered drone caps and dozens of eggs in some of the cells, especially any drone cells and on top of pollen. Eggs in worker cells will tend to be more on the sides than the bottom. Eggs in drone cells will be on the bottom. There are probably a lot of drones, not so much because they are raising them, but because they allow them. Drones tend to drift to queenless hives who welcome them more than queenright hives. They are now at the point where it typically takes three weeks of exposure to open brood to turn them around and get them to either raise a queen or accept a queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
>When you have a laying worker, it is very difficult to determine which of the 20,000 or so bees is the culprit(s). A laying worker will also kill a new queen, so it is imperative to find and remove them.

Actually probably at least 20% of those bees are the culprit. You NEVER have "a" laying worker if you have laying worker problems.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm#multiple

>Laying workers are younger nurse bees that have never been out of the hive, so they have never oriented to the hive.
So the theory is, you take the hive some distance off, say 100+ yards and shake out all the bees and return the empty hive to its original location.

The problem is that even though it gets repeated in many beekeeping books, the whole thing is a theory that has been thoroughly disproven. The laying workers do know their way back and will go back. The only reason shaking out works at all is the disorientation it causes sometimes demoralizes them enough to accept a queen. But often it does not.

The sequence when going laying worker goes like this. Early on you find a few scattered eggs and brood. What is scattered? Let's start with what is solid. Solid brood patters are where most of the cells surrounding a given cell are filled with eggs/brood of similar age. So scattered is an egg or a larvae here and there surrounded by empty cells. You often see a drone cap here and there as well. This can lead you to think, because of the presence of some eggs and the lack of multiple eggs, that there might be a queen. Often at this point there were also be a few queen cells with larvae in them or eggs in them giving you some hope they will resolve the issue. They won't. But at this point giving them some open brood may result in queen cells right away or introducing a queen may work well. In about a week, the queen cells have been torn down, there are a few more scattered drone caps and dozens of eggs in some of the cells, especially any drone cells and on top of pollen. Eggs in worker cells will tend to be more on the sides than the bottom. Eggs in drone cells will be on the bottom. There are probably a lot of drones, not so much because they are raising them, but because they allow them. Drones tend to drift to queenless hives who welcome them more than queenright hives. They are now at the point where it typically takes three weeks of exposure to open brood to turn them around and get them to either raise a queen or accept a queen.
Thank-You for your input! Maybe my answer is in your post and I'm not seeing it, but what is the best course of action when you have a hive that is in full blown laying worker?
Is it to keep introducing new frames with larvae till the hive rights itself?

or if you don't have many available donation frames, could you move the laying worker hive to another location close by, and just place a nuc back in the original spot? Then the older bees would leave to forage and return to the original location with the nuc.

Just trying to learn here..:D

Thanks,
DD
 

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>Thank-You for your input! Maybe my answer is in your post and I'm not seeing it

Actually it's in the link:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm

> but what is the best course of action when you have a hive that is in full blown laying worker?
Is it to keep introducing new frames with larvae till the hive rights itself?

If you have the time and another hive, yes. If it's a 60 mile trip to your beeyard, and you have other hives, I'd shake them out on the ground and give the equipment to another hive and forget it. Do a split later to make up the difference.
 
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