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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got back from a week away and noticed right away that something wasn't right with one of our hives. Took a look inside and discovered that we have laying workers. A few capped drone cells and lots of cells with multiple eggs.

Now, what to do? Is it worth it to try to replace the queen? Is there anything I can do to make them accept her? Or should I shake it and try to find a nuc? If I can't find a nuc or a package, then I would like to at least try to requeen before I give up on it for the year. This is our first year of beekeeping and I figure it is all a learning experience.

Any advice would be much appreciated!
 

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Did you see the queen? If you did then its not laying workers it is a queen that has ran out of sperm. If that is the condation then yes you can requeen. It is possable to requeen a laying worker hive but does not always work.
 

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"...Is there anything I can do to make them..." sorry,you cant make 'em do anything, you have to work WITH their instincts. that said, if you have another hive, shake'em out in front to combine them-then later split. if this is your only hive, a nuc would be your best bet. make sure your nuc queen is laying good, and shake 'em out in front,then later split. i'm afraid buying a (expensive!!) queen seldom works-they ( except rarely) wont accept her. join a club, get on the lists, advertise- a swarm capture is your cheapest out. good luck,mike
 

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"laying worker" problems dont usually start in just a week, did you have a queen a week ago prior to vacation? Check again for your queen, she may be there and failing or became a drone layer. If you have a queen you CAN re-queen, if you have laying workers and try to intro a queen they will most likely kill her. Figure out if you have queen and when the last time you thought or KNEW you had a queen. Decisions can be made from there. Re-queen, shakeout, or add frames of eggs (if you have them available). Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I assumed I have laying workers because there are many, many cells with more than one egg in them.

The last time I inspected them was on 5/18. Things didn't seem amiss then, but I am a total newbie. Looking back, maybe I missed it big time. On May 4, things looked really good. Lots of capped brood, good pattern. The bees are acting like they don't have much of a drive... not bustling like the other hive. Hanging out at the front of the hive. They seem confused.

I am inclined to shake them in front of the other hive and try again next year. I can't seem to find a nuc to purchase this late.

If I do shake them, when is the best time?
 

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"...If I do shake them, when is the best time..."
about an hour before dark. soon as the flow is over, remove the super(s) and split. be sure to feed after.
good luck,mike
 

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First of all check again for a queen; sometimes queens lay multiple eggs. Then; check Michael Bush's website on handling laying workers. In short, take a frame of eggs/larva from your other hive and put it in the laying worker hive. See if they build queen cells. If not, put another frame in the next week and again the third week. They should have started cells by then if queenless. If they don't, then make a decision from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I decided to shake them out in front of my other hive. Did it about an hour before dark yesterday and all seems well today.

The question I have now is what to do with the frames that were drawn out in the queenless hive? Can I put those into the thriving hive? There are a few frames of honey and pollen, but there are also frames with eggs from the laying workers and a little capped drone brood. Or should I store them until I get another package next spring?
 

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The question I have now is what to do with the frames that were drawn out in the queenless hive? Can I put those into the thriving hive? There are a few frames of honey and pollen, but there are also frames with eggs from the laying workers and a little capped drone brood.

Put that box on top of the brood box of your other hive. That hive will clean the frames up and start using them. In a month or so, that hive may be built up enough that you can split the boxes apart and introduce a mated queen to the box without a queen and you will be back to two hives again.
 

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Is a queenless hive cranky? My mother hive after a split and moved to a new location is spilling out with bees, every bar has been drawn with comb, lots of drone cells, lots of uncapped honey, pollen, and I saw some regular brood yesterday, but this hive was cranky and both me and my friend were stung. I have a pretty painful reaction, enough to know I don't want multiple stings. I am going back in today with a smoker to have another look. If there are brood cells, that would mean the hive is queenright? Why so many drone then?
 

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1."Is a queenless hive cranky?"
yes
2."If there are brood cells, that would mean the hive is queenright?"
yes
3."Why so many drone then?"
10% is considered normal. perhaps shes failing. if so, they'll supersede her.(make a new queen from an egg)
 

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I too did the shake off yesterday. I never did confirm that the workers were laying, but a had spent a couple weeks after confirming I was queenless waiting to see if new queen cells would form from some frames I put in from another hive. They didn't, so I got a new caged queen and did the shake off in my front yard (100 yds away from hive in the back) just to be sure I w would get rid of any laying workers that might be in the hive.

My question is what should I do about the cluster of bees still on my front lawn? I know this sounds silly, but I hate the idea they are suffering. Should I euthanize them or just let nature take its course?

Thanks in advance.

Jim
 

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"...they are suffering..." bees dont "suffer". they are insects. leave'em alone and most will join the other hive. they'll smell it out. hope to see you at walter kellys state-wide meeting on sat. good luck,mike
 

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"... just to be sure I w would get rid of any laying workers that might be in the hive..." next time just shake'em out in front of the hive. laying workers have a distinct(to bees) smell and they wont be allowed in. good luck,mike
 

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give them a frame of brood every week for three weeks and when they start making their own queen cells you can let them raise queens or you can requeen at that time.
 
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