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My first inspection of frames this spring had an interesting observation. Had seven hives going into fall and have seven hives that are fairly strong this spring. Six of my hives range from from 7 frames of bees to one hive that is busting with bees and already in the second brood box. My question is about the one hive(seventh hive) with the fewest number of bees. The small cluster is about the size of a softball. The queen looks healthy. There are only eggs on one side of one frame. Many of the cells have up to 4 eggs per cell. I assume there are two main possible answers for this situation: 1) excited queen that is ready to start laying and doesn't have enough bees to cover an expanding brood pattern. Therefore she keeps putting eggs in the same cells. 2) Queen has failed and workers are laying. In order to boost the bee numbers in that hive, I took two frames of capped brood with bees from the strongest hive and added them to the weakest hive. Anyone have this same situation in the spring? Thoughts? I know that time will provide the answer.
 

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My first inspection of frames this spring had an interesting observation. Had seven hives going into fall and have seven hives that are fairly strong this spring. Six of my hives range from from 7 frames of bees to one hive that is busting with bees and already in the second brood box. My question is about the one hive(seventh hive) with the fewest number of bees. The small cluster is about the size of a softball. The queen looks healthy. There are only eggs on one side of one frame. Many of the cells have up to 4 eggs per cell. I assume there are two main possible answers for this situation: 1) excited queen that is ready to start laying and doesn't have enough bees to cover an expanding brood pattern. Therefore she keeps putting eggs in the same cells. 2) Queen has failed and workers are laying. In order to boost the bee numbers in that hive, I took two frames of capped brood with bees from the strongest hive and added them to the weakest hive. Anyone have this same situation in the spring? Thoughts? I know that time will provide the answer.
If there is a Queen in the colony she should be easily spotted while the hive is weak. I don't remember anyone reporting Queens laying four eggs per cell, but I have read of newly mated Queens laying two.
There is quite a bit of discussion on the merits of trying to reverse a laying worker hive.

Alex
 

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I had a laying worker hive last year and wasted a lot of resources to eventually correct it. Hopefully your suspicion about the queen being overexcited is correct, after last year's experience I wouldn't use resources from another hive more than once.
 

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I appreciate your suggestions. The queen is in the hive and looks healthy. It's just confusing to see her moving around on cells with multiple eggs in them. The bees are very calm. Hopefully she is laying and will figure the situation out on her own.
 

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I appreciate your suggestions. The queen is in the hive and looks healthy. It's just confusing to see her moving around on cells with multiple eggs in them. The bees are very calm. Hopefully she is laying and will figure the situation out on her own.
I must have gotten confused about which hives had a Queen.
I have never heard of a colony going LW with a Queen present or a LW hive somehow producing a Queen or willingly accepting one, as they believe they are Queen right.
I hope that makes a little more sense.

Alex
 

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I have never heard of a colony going LW with a Queen present or a LW hive somehow producing a Queen or willingly accepting one, as they believe they are Queen right.
Agree with that.
Also - if multiple eggs are lying at the bottom of a cell, that indicates a young or inexperienced queen. In contrast, eggs laid on the side-walls of a cell are more likely those of LW's, as they have shorter abdomens and can't reach right down to the cell bottom.
LJ
 

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Agree with that.
Also - if multiple eggs are lying at the bottom of a cell, that indicates a young or inexperienced queen. In contrast, eggs laid on the side-walls of a cell are more likely those of LW's, as they have shorter abdomens and can't reach right down to the cell bottom.
LJ
I also noticed that a queen in a small cluster seems to go through a short stage of laying more than one egg in a random cell but mostly one egg in others, coming out of winter. it's as though she needs some time to be in a groove. I would give her some time and check if the issue corrects itself. No worries for now.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Check it next week and make sure that all the brood being produced is worker brood. If you see any drone cells, you have a failing queen. I have a hive that is way behind the others also. As soon as I have queens, it is getting a new one.
 
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JWP has broken the code here: If you see normal capped brood, the queen laid the eggs. Drone brood in the brood chamber is likely a laying worker or an unmated queen.
 

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Dead on.
If you get worker brood you're set.
If you get drone brood I'd cull the queen and shake out the bees to find a home in your other hives - then split your best one back into that equipment later in the year.
 

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Could the queen be injured? I agree with the other posts..just curious if maybe a wing or leg might be injured?
Her spermathica could be clogged keeping the eggs from being fertilized. Any physical damage such as a wing or leg wouldn't cause her to lay drones though. Worse case, they'd start superscedure.

When I've had queens with blocked spermathicas everything seemed fine until I saw the cappings.

Only time will tell with this lady.
And yes, it's very common to see multiple eggs in cells. We see it a lot while grafting.
 

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I also noticed that a queen in a small cluster seems to go through a short stage of laying more than one egg in a random cell but mostly one egg in others, coming out of winter. it's as though she needs some time to be in a groove. I would give her some time and check if the issue corrects itself. No worries for now.
I agree about her "clearing her throat" at this stage after a period of not laying. Nothing to worry at this point. This seems to happen often to a small cluster, coming out of winter.
 

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We have a hive doing that, small amount of bees, a lot of multiple eggs in cells, a very pretty big queen. Last time we looked we had a small amount of capped worker brood on two frames.

I was listening to one of the multiple zoom bee meetings we have here, multiple clubs. A suggestion was made that the queen needs more nurse bees to support her.
We have not been able to inspect since then until today, been too cold and windy. I am hoping there is more capped worker brood if so, we have two huge hives we will give her a dose of more nurse bees from one of the huge hives.
 

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As stated above checking the capped brood will answer your question.
If she is good give her not only nurse bees but nurse bees on a frame of emerging brood. And check for mites or other issues that may have caused the cluster to diminish over winter. If she is bad shake them out as soon as possible a box of drone comb is little help to starting a colony to replace them the bright side is, it's quite easy start a new colony with your existing resources
 

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I checked one of my hives a couple weeks ago that has a 2020 queen that was doing good last year. There were several eggs in cells here and there along with cells with only one egg and some capped worker brood. I was concerned but checked again last week and all is well. Could be that it took her a few tries after not laying for so long. I'd give her a chance but keep a close eye on it.
 

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We will be checking today. I did three OAV mite treatments since early Feb, no mite drops after the second did one more to catch emerging brood, no drops. At this second mites , most likely, are not the issue.

Hitting 60ish today, sun out no wind. Rain coming tomorrow eve, we have today and tomorrow to check them out.
Thanks for the help!

If need be we will add a frame of emerging brood, two hives are exploding, at least it looks that way, 40ish degrees and it looks like summer at their entrance.
 

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be carefull adding a frame of brood.
a small cluster cannot cover a brood pattern bigger than the current cluster.

be better to shake a frame of bees into the weak hive being very carefull to not shake the queen in.
Or swap the weak hive with a strong hive, a bee boost would be better, when cool than a brood boost.

the bees need to cover all the brood or it will chill and die, maybe causing more issues.

GG
 

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We will be checking today. I did three OAV mite treatments since early Feb, no mite drops after the second did one more to catch emerging brood, no drops. At this second mites , most likely, are not the issue.

Hitting 60ish today, sun out no wind. Rain coming tomorrow eve, we have today and tomorrow to check them out.
Thanks for the help!

If need be we will add a frame of emerging brood, two hives are exploding, at least it looks that way, 40ish degrees and it looks like summer at their entrance.
 

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We went through the hives, two are horrendous in growth, tons of drones emerging and capped. The rest medium in growth.

We took frames of nurse bees from both big hives shook them into a tub and checked for the queen, let the workers fly home. Added one frame of almost ready to emerge brood to the small hive.
She is now laying one egg per cell, capped worker brood, no drone brood yet.
 
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