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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, perhaps I have been gone too long. Multi-laying queens when they start up in spring. Is it normal? Last year I had this problem. It was prevalent and the only way I could get rid of it was to re-queen. I had seen it before, I knew the only cure was to requeen but why are so many failing at the start of spring? It's not like two or three eggs in a cell either, some have 4,5,6 eggs per cell on 2 sides of a frame. The nuc is reasonably strong. Probably 30% of my hives were like that last year. This year I am at 5.5% of what I have inspected. I do not recall this being nearly as much of a problem in the 'old' days.

Anybody have thoughts or observations on this topic? Anybody seen a queen right herself? Last year mine started to dwindle till I re-queened.
 

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I've had one this spring but she came back around after about 3weeks still can't figure out how or why she started laying multiple eggs glad she pulled through good luck with your queens
 

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I've seen this before, too. I thought it was caused by a prolific queen without a cluster that would allow an expansion of the broodnest to keep up with the comb space being filled with eggs. So, the queen goes back over the comb where she has already been.

What happens to the cells with multiple eggs? Do they sort it out leaving one larva?
 

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I've never had this problem (enjoy your grain of salt please), but my guess would be that you have one or more laying workers active. Your queen's pheromones are too weak to suppress egg laying by the worker bees that got a little too much royal jelly in their diet. Maybe she is too old and/or poorly mated and/or sick...
 

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Queens often lay multiple eggs when they are just kicking in again. Sometimes the workers haven't cleared enough space for her. If you saw the queen you have a queen and not laying workers. If you have solid capped areas with flat caps, you have a queen who is fertile. If you have sporadic caps, and they are domed and you can't find a queen, you probably have laying workers.
 

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i saw it this winter in our observation hive. seemed like the queen started laying again before the hive wanted to raise any brood. lots of eggs, many multiplies, no larva in a small confined area
seemed to stop once they started allowing eggs to develop and the nest to expand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've seen this before, too. I thought it was caused by a prolific queen without a cluster that would allow an expansion of the broodnest to keep up with the comb space being filled with eggs. So, the queen goes back over the comb where she has already been.

What happens to the cells with multiple eggs? Do they sort it out leaving one larva?
Michael, I agree that it could definately be a prolific queen without a critical mass of bees to keep up. They are very nice queens. But I don't know how to stop the problem. Attempting to steal bees from a strong hive to supplement a weak hive in early spring seems backwards. (I even watched a video by a wise man named Michael Palmer who said the same thing.) They did not manage to sort it out last year until I requeened. (The hives did not build and very few eggs became larvae.)

I wonder if a double excluder above a strong hive might be the way to go? She might get enough bees to create a critical mass and enough supplemental heat so the nurse bees could keep up if the prolificness is indeed the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Does it change with time?
It does not seem to get any better. As the bees die off and the hive diminished last year the queens continued to multi-lay. Very very few (if any) viable pupae would make it to capping stage. I was not patient enough to take it to the logical end to see if the hive died or she would at some point stop laying. Pinching the queen and replacing worked but they hives were down to maybe 2 frames (4-5 frames coming out of winter but lots dying on intial cleansing flights due to adverse weather or ?) by then. It just seems like a a strange biological problem a queen that can't stop laying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Okay, where's the stock coming from?
That question actually jarred my memory. Last year I noticed it was mostly the Arataki Queens supplied with packages. Last spring I only purchased 10 more packages. I will have to go back and check if these multilayers are all Arataki Queens again. Might be a pattern. Good question thanks Michael!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, this year I had more critical mass. There was more bees in each hive and the queens ALL righted themselves. I checked each hive that was marked as multi-laying and all of them are back to laying properly and have capped brood. Totally different behaviour from last year.
 

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Quite often, I see new queens will lay two eggs in the same cells. I don't ever remember seeing them lay more than two (that subversion is more usually relegated to laying workers). Once they get started laying, the double-eggs soon stop, apparently some queens, after periods of non-laying, will also double-lay as they return to their life of laying.

I once had a queen that always laid on the bottom-most cell wall, and about halfway to the bottom of the cells. Other than this odd positioning, she performed marvelously. I raised a few daughters from her, none of which followed their mother's habit. However, one daughter's abdomen tip was not tapered to a point, as most queens are, but the last few abdominal plates were truncated/malformed and her abdomen was blunt-shaped, similar to a drones'. Oddly enough this did not hinder her from placing her eggs in the bottoms of cells, and otherwise she also performed very well.
 
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