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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hived a new package on June 19. On May 1, I went in to check for brood. There was a nice patch of new eggs, but no young larvae or capped brood. I could not find the marked queen - perhaps her crown has worn off.

Yesterday, May 7, I checked again. There were lots of uncapped larvae at various stages on three frames, but none had been capped yet. There were new eggs, one to a cell.
There was one frame, third from the edge, that had multiple eggs in each cell, anywhere from two to four, on the bottom. The bees were quite happy and humming.

I am concerned that I couldn't find the queen, and now I have these cells with too many eggs in each cell. Should I be worried?

I hived a second package also on June 19. On May 1, that hive had patches of capped brood, larvae and eggs. The capped brood looked like drone comb. On May 7, there was more eggs and larvae in what looked like worker comb. I saw the queen walking around purposely; her green crown was almost all rubbed off.
Is it common for the queen to start out laying drones and then switch to workers?

Thanks for any input.
 

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Some times a new queen shoots out too many eggs per cell for a while and then gets the hang of things. Check again in a day or two and see if you see the same thing. That's when I would take action.
 

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This is the same thing I've found. A caged queen or a new queen will "sputter" sometimes in the beginning. I'd give it a week or so and then take action. The capped brood will tell you if you have a problem or not. If you have a Laying worker hive then there will be only drone brood. (Rounded on top) A queen right hive will have worker brood. (flat on top) Do you have another hive that's doing well? If so you could plan on giving this hive (in a week) a frame with eggs and young larva. It doesn't have to be a complete frame. A partial works well. I had a foundationless frame that was 1/2 drawn out with eggs that I gave to a hive that I knew didn't have a queen and they made queen cells right away. I'd check out Michael Bush's web site on laying worker hives and how to remedy just to "be ready".
 

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I saw the same thing with my new packages hived about the same time as you. New foundation cells with multiple eggs in the bottom (2-3). I started to think there was a laying worker, but really was just a new queen getting her groove. I just let them do what they do and have lots of new worker brood capped and a hive off to a good start. I chalked it up to an overzealous queen who finally had some comb to lay in and went a little overboard. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh goodness, I meant April, not June.

Thank you all for your responses. You have been reassuring. I'll check back in a few days.
And I'll check my other hive, started at the same time, to see if they are capping workers. What's there now looks definitely like drones to me. I have seen the queen, so I just hope I don't have a drone laying queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just checking back in - I went into my hives yesterday (five days later) and in hive #1 where I had seen multiple eggs in some cells, there is capped brood, larvae and eggs on five frames, each side. So her majesty has hit her stride.

My other hive where I was concerned I had a drone laying queen is still a concern. There is more capped brood on several frames, but sketchy, not a good laying pattern and it still looks like all drone cells to me. I saw the queen wandering about. There was a queen cell on the bottom of one frame that seemed to have a larva in it. I poked it's edge to get a better look and I may have damaged the wax a little.
I am getting another queen tomorrow. I thought I'd take my suspect queen and put her in a nuc with a frame of brood from Hive #1, plus honey and pollen. Then, after 24 hours, introduce the new queen to Hive#2. Or, I could pinch the suspect queen and put the frame with the queen cell in the nuc.

Any suggestions?
 

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If they're superseding her then that's good if she's a bad queen. I've read that they will often do this to a package regardless of if the queen is good or not. If you take the frame with a queen cell and perhaps one other frame and put that in your nuc box then you'll have another hive possibly. (The queen has to get mated and start laying etc. Give them 1 month before you go in there to inspect anything. This will give the new queen time to get laying and properly seasoned) Regarding the original hive. . . If she is indeed a dud then you can pinch her today and install your new queen tomorrow or since you have a introduction cage you can do it at the same time. Just don't release the new queen. Can you post a picture of what you say is drone brood and "spotty"? That would be helpful for giving accurate answers.

If you just broke a small ammt. of the wax then that could be fine. If you bumped the larva then that's not fine. That may kill the larva. They may be able to fix the slightly broken wax, but a hurt larva they won't. If I were in your shoes I'd take that q-cell frame and an additional frame (perhaps from your other hive) and put them in a small box. A 5 frame nuc box may be too large, but if that's the smallest you have then use it. I'd put the 2 frames to one side of the nuc box and I'd have the queen cell in the inside frame with foundation filling the other frames if you're using foundation. I'd also reduce the entrance to 2 bee spaces or about 3/8" wide - 1/2" wide. Then assuming that the queen cell is good (be very gentle with that frame at this point!!! You can kill it if they've capped it and it's in the delicate stage) I'd leave it bee for a month and recheck them. You can see a lot just by looking at the entrance. If they're bringing in pollen and you see normal activity at the entrance then there's a good chance things are good.
 

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>My other hive where I was concerned I had a drone laying queen is still a concern. There is more capped brood on several frames, but sketchy, not a good laying pattern and it still looks like all drone cells to me.

What does "looks like all drone cells to me" mean? The size of the cell? The cappings on the cell? The cappings are the issue. If they are domed (like a hemisphere) then they are drone cappings. If they are flat or only slightly convex, they are workers. If there are no workers and only drones then, since you saw the queen, you would have a drone laying queen. If they are not capped yet, you have no reason to suspect anything yet. Wait until they are capped.

>I saw the queen wandering about. There was a queen cell on the bottom of one frame that seemed to have a larva in it. I poked it's edge to get a better look and I may have damaged the wax a little.

Hives with drone laying queens often build queen cells, but they have drone larvae in them. They will even cap them for a few days before they tear them back down. Damaging the edge of an uncapped cell won't hurt anything, but then it's probably a drone larvae anyway...

>I am getting another queen tomorrow. I thought I'd take my suspect queen and put her in a nuc with a frame of brood from Hive #1, plus honey and pollen. Then, after 24 hours, introduce the new queen to Hive#2. Or, I could pinch the suspect queen and put the frame with the queen cell in the nuc.

If you are certain you have nothing but drone brood (based on the cappings) there is no need to keep the queen. Drop her in a jar of alcohol and keep the alcohol for swarm lure. You now have a queen retirement home... and the start of some swarm lure. If you're not sure, then put her in the nuc.
 

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Hives with drone laying queens often build queen cells, but they have drone larvae in them. They will even cap them for a few days before they tear them back down. Damaging the edge of an uncapped cell won't hurt anything, but then it's probably a drone larvae anyway...
Thanks Michael!!! I learned something today. I had no idea that they would make a "queen" out of a drone egg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks, Michael. Yes, the cappings are domed and large.
Unfortunately, it is pouring rain right now or I'd go out and get her. I'll do it as soon as it clears.

Thank you, delber, for your suggestions. They will be used next time, but not with drone larva.
 
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