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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Posting photos on beesource is not my biggest skill set, rather I am posting a link to the photos from a posting to our bee club's forum for viewing.

http://pwrbeekeepers.com/forum/topic.php?id=140

Not to belabor the point, but we think this laying worker was shaken into a package along with MANY, MANY of her sisters, by a big time producer in Georgia. I mean laying workers don't just happen overnight. They were laying in Claxton Georgia before they got up here to Virginia. And it's not normally queen pheromone (It's brood p.) that fixes laying worker problems, which explains why the presence of a caged queen in the package did nothing to abate ovary development.

Anyway I thought it would be an interesting viewing to see these pics.
 

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I have this very situation with two of three packages started this spring. I tried placing frames with eggs and young larva to entice them to produce there own queen to no avail. They started to, but I don't think they have enough nurse bees present. I had even placed a frame of capped brood and the bees attached to assist. I now have a whole bunch of drones.

The other hive I have a new queen ordered and I will give it a couple frames of brood and bees to help them along when I install the new queen. I just hate to give up on it.
The one thing that keeps coming to mind was the queens were shipped separate and not placed into the packages during shipping. I can't help but wonder if this had an effect.

Good pictures and thanks for sharing. They look all to familiar.:(
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I tried placing frames with eggs and young larva to entice them to produce there own queen to no avail. They started to, but I don't think they have enough nurse bees present. (
I believe the purpose of putting a frame of open brood into a colony of laying workers is not so much to get them to make their own queen, but so that the brood pheromone being issued will cause worker ovaries to shrink. Academically (and again the bees don't always follow the book rules) it seems the laying workers are already considered pseudo-queens by the other workers, thus there would be little motivation to draw out queen cells---they believe they are already queenright. I'm not sure of this but it seems logical, at least, to me. I'm of the opinion, that according to the books, your remedy should have worked. I might repeat the process except also include shaking bees off frames several hundred yards away, as part of your remedy protocol. I know some will say shaking doesn't work, as some forager aged bees can be layers too, and will find their way home.

I had even placed a frame of capped brood and the bees attached to assist. (
I would think if it's juvenile bees which tend to become laying workers, that adding emerging brood could worsen the problem? But that may be a faulty assumption on my part. Any master beekeepers out there that can support or refute this?
 

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Laying workers are a death knell for a hive. If you're going to introduce a new queen to it you need to get rid of the laying workers first. The queen will get balled if you don't since the hive thinks they already have a queen. It's very hard to get a hive to accept a new queen until then.

Get rid of those laying workers! Take the frames with laying workers and shake them out far away from the hive and then move the hive so they don't come back.

Once a worker has developed ovaries they don't shrink back down in the presence of a real queen. It's a done deal. You've got a pseudo queen.

Yes, putting in a frame of fresh eggs is to get a queenless hive to rear a new queen. The only way for a hive to requeen itself without a fertilized egg is if they have the ability of thelytoky. Which would be a Holy Grail of beekeeping.

Bishop
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Once a worker has developed ovaries they don't shrink back down in the presence of a real queen. It's a done deal.
Right, they won't shrink down in the presence of a real queen, but they will shrink when re-introduced to brood pheromone. Think "brood" not "queen" here. Mike Bush has a whole set of remedies listed. http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm Although everyone knows Mike Bush is not worthy enough to work in Mike Palmers' beeyards,:cool:I believe he (Mike B) pretty much knows what he's talking about.

Yes, putting in a frame of fresh eggs is to get a queenless hive to rear a new queen.
Since Mike Bush says this will work, I'll trust the info.


The only way for a hive to requeen itself without a fertilized egg is if they have the ability of thelytoky. Which would be a Holy Grail of beekeeping.
Ever heard of the Cape Bee?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apis_mellifera_capensis
And bee-lieve me, it would NOT be the Holy Grail of beekeeping. It would pretty much wipe out our honey industry in the US if Capensis were introduced over here.
 

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Ever heard of the Cape Bee?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apis_mellifera_capensis
And bee-lieve me, it would NOT be the Holy Grail of beekeeping. It would pretty much wipe out our honey industry in the US if Capensis were introduced over here.
From what I've read about the Cape Bee, they're outproducing the AHB in Africa. You're right. If they did get here it would be Armageddon for the EHB here. As far as I know, they can get pretty nasty too.

Bishop
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If they did get here it would be Armageddon for the EHB here.
Other Armageddon-like events would be the introduction of two other pests, (1) Tropilaelaps clarae, the mite that coexists with Apis Dorsata AND Cerana, plus (2) have you heard about this new GIANT hive beetle from South Africa? All of a sudden AHB doesn't look so bad. Oh Lions, Tigers and Bears!
 

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That does not appear to be laying workers. Those pictures are of a young queen just getting started.

Young queens getting started will often lay multiple eggs in the bottoms of cells. They will sometimes start laying drones in worker cells, as they haven't mastered releasing sperm with the egg.

The hive in these pictures should clear up by itself. Just keep an eye on it.

Laying workers can't reach the bottom of the cells (unless the cell is only partially drawn) so they lay eggs on the sides of cells. I don't see eggs on the sides of cells in these pictures - all these eggs are on the bottom of cells. A new queen may lay 3 or 4 eggs in a cell, but laying workers will often lay 15 or 20. They just plaster the cell with eggs. Laying workers will also lay eggs on pollen stores - and you don't see eggs on pollen in these pics.
 

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Fatscher, I see in the OP that the photos have changed showing the worker laying. GREAT JOB!
The second post shows the product of the laying worker.
In one of our packages that we had suspected a laying worker situation, my wife spotted the working laying as well. Once she found her we kept our eye on her as she walked and layed eggs on the frame. I pinched her, and sent her to be bird food.

Very good pictures and thanks again for sharing them with us!
 

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Although everyone knows Mike Bush is not worthy enough to work in Mike Palmers' beeyards,:cool:I believe he (Mike B) pretty much knows what he's talking about.QUOTE]

Well, they must have worked together somewhere, sometime in the past, opinions, techniques and philosophies aside:

MP:
I've always removed the attendants. Done it thousands of times, but never with a mitt. I just sit in my truck with the windows rolled up. Pull the cork and let the attendants come out. If queen wants out forst then catch her as she leaves the cage. If no one wants out, blow hard on the screen when a worker gets near the cork hole and she'll shoot out. Takes no time for 20 or 30 cages. I can remove the attendants about as fast as my help can install the cages into the nucs. MIchael Bush watched me one day...we shoulda made a video Michael.
MB:
>Michael Bush watched me one day...we shoulda made a video Michael.
It was amazing to watch. I know I couldn't do it without a lot of practice...

I like the queen muff. The cab of a pickup or a bathroom window work fine too. But the muff is handier for me as I often don't have either of the other two handy...
__________________
Michael Bush www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
 

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Interesting thread, I have two questions for you guys with laying worker experience:

1. do the cell caps look any different from normal drone caps?

2. can >1 drone develop to an adult in a single cell?

Thanks
 

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That does not appear to be laying workers. Those pictures are of a young queen just getting started.

Laying workers can't reach the bottom of the cells (unless the cell is only partially drawn) so they lay eggs on the sides of cells. I don't see eggs on the sides of cells in these pictures - all these eggs are on the bottom of cells. A new queen may lay 3 or 4 eggs in a cell, but laying workers will often lay 15 or 20. They just plaster the cell with eggs. Laying workers will also lay eggs on pollen stores - and you don't see eggs on pollen in these pics.
The pictures are from my hive. I assure you, they are of a laying worker.
The comb on those frames may not have been drawn as deeply as is normal, which may be how they are reaching the bottom of the cell. The most eggs I was able to count in a single cell was six, and in most of the cells with multiple eggs, at least one of the eggs is on the cell wall instead of in the bottom of the cell. Also, while it isn't shown in that series of pictures, there were numerous cells with eggs on pollen. Every capped cell we've found in the hive so far (with the exception of a frame of brood we added) was drone brood.

Interesting thread, I have two questions for you guys with laying worker experience:

1. do the cell caps look any different from normal drone caps?

2. can >1 drone develop to an adult in a single cell?

Thanks
1. Some of the caps on the drone cells seem to be much taller than I've seen in the other hives I've worked. I'm not sure why that is. It MIGHT be because they are capping over two larvae in the same cell, but I doubt that. I am more inclined to think it is because the cells may not be drawn as deeply as normal (see above).

2. No idea. I tend to doubt it, since as drone brood in a worker cell they are already pretty cramped, but we haven't tried pulling individual larvae out to find out.

We've been scratching caps, or freezing frames and then putting them back into the hive for the bees to clean up in an attempt to clear space for the new queen to lay eggs. Yes, we're trying another queen, and they seem to have accepted her. We've already given them some brood to try to help make her job easier, and tomorrow expect to give them some more. We're aware that we may not be able to save the hive, but my wife and I discussed this and decided to give it our best shot for the sake of gaining the experience, if nothing else. Obviously we're disappointed that the package didn't do well from the start, but we aren't discouraged from beekeeping by it.

Heck, we're getting experience many of the veteran beekeepers in our club don't have! :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Although everyone knows Mike Bush is not worthy enough to work in Mike Palmers' beeyards,:cool:I believe he (Mike B) pretty much knows what he's talking about.QUOTE]

Well, they must have worked together somewhere, sometime in the past, opinions, techniques and philosophies aside:
Hoodswoods...that was a sarcastic joke betwen MP, MB and myself. Sorry you missed the sarcasm there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Fatscher, I see in the OP that the photos have changed showing the worker laying. GREAT JOB!
Very good pictures and thanks again for sharing them with us!
Credit goes to ekervina for the photos, I did the easy part, linking them to beesource. Eric did the hard part, spotting them, then shooting them.

Great job, Eric.
 

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we're trying another queen, and they seem to have accepted her.:
AWESOME! True recycling (wink)

We're aware that we may not be able to save the hive, but my wife and I discussed this and decided to give it our best shot for the sake of gaining the experience, if nothing else. Obviously we're disappointed that the package didn't do well from the start, but we aren't discouraged from beekeeping by it. Heck, we're getting experience many of the veteran beekeepers in our club don't have! :rolleyes:
That is a great approach. Even if this does not work out, you should do well in beekeeping with that kind of attitude.
 

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1. Some of the caps on the drone cells seem to be much taller than I've seen in the other hives I've worked. I'm not sure why that is. It MIGHT be because they are capping over two larvae in the same cell, but I doubt that. I am more inclined to think it is because the cells may not be drawn as deeply as normal (see above).

2. No idea. I tend to doubt it, since as drone brood in a worker cell they are already pretty cramped, but we haven't tried pulling individual larvae out to find out.

I think a kid I've been helping is dealing with laying workers from a package too. I was there at the hiving and the queen was DOA. I haven't seen the hive since but he reports that there were eggs, multiple per cell, by the time the replacement queen arrived. Workers didn't release her after a few days and so he did so manually. He says the cappings look weird, I'm going to look tomorrow, but now I'm thinking the pseudo-queen came with the package and they may have intentionally killed the first and probably the second queen.
 

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Some of the caps on the drone cells seem to be much taller than I've seen in the other hives I've worked. I'm not sure why that is.

Drones being raised in worker cells stick out farther than drones being raised in drone cells.
 
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