Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
531 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Howdy folks.

Came across something weird in one hive. The hive is definitely queenright because I saw her walking around in there. But I also saw some cells that had numerous eggs in them similar to another hive of mine that had a laying worker earlier this season. Can a hive be queenright and have a laying worker, or is this queen going a little wonky on me? She is an emergency queen that was raised last summer and laid great for the rest of the summer and this spring, and now I find this. Could she have been poorly mated from the start and just now be turning into a dud? It seems strange that she would do good up until now and then go south.

What's the best thing to do in a situation like this? If there is indeed a laying worker in there, should I cage the queen, shake out the colony like a normal laying worker colony, then reintroduce the queen or go another route?

TIA
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
No, your queen isn't producing what she should. How old is she? Is she a newly mated queen or an old queen? Or is she still a virgin? It is highly unlikely that you have a laying worker. From what you write I would say that you have a drone laying queen. Which results from an unmated queen or from a queen which has run out of sperm to fertilize her eggs.

Pinch her head and install a mated queen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
531 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
she was raised last summer in late august. she was doing great until i noticed that several cells had multiple eggs in them last friday.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,108 Posts
Multiple eggs don't mean laying workers necessarily. Queens just starting to lay or queens in struggling hive can often lay more eggs than there is room for resulting in multiple eggs. The real issue is what you have for cappings on the brood. If you have a lot of nice flat worker cappings then the queen is fine. If you have nothing but drone cappings you have an issue.

But as far as laying workers all hives have laying workers. It's just a matter of how many. There are always a few laying workers in any hive:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm#multiple

See page 9 of "The Wisdom of the Hive"

"Although worker honey bees cannot mate, they do possess ovaries and can produce viable eggs; hence they do have the potential to have male offspring (in bees and other Hymenoptera, fertilized eggs produce females while unfertilized eggs produce males). It is now clear, however, that this potential is exceedingly rarely realized as long as a colony contains a queen (in queenless colonies, workers eventually lay large numbers of male eggs; see the review in Page and Erickson 1988). One supporting piece of evidence comes from studies of worker ovary development in queenright colonies, which have consistently revealed extremely low levels of development. All studies to date report far fewer than 1 % of workers have ovaries developed sufficiently to lay eggs (reviewed in Ratnieks 1993; see also Visscher 1995a). For example, Ratnieks dissected 10,634 worker bees from 21 colonies and found that only 7 had moderately developed egg (half the size of a completed egg) and that just one had a fully developed egg in her body."

If you do the math, in a normal booming queenright hive of 100,000 bees that's 70 laying workers. In a laying worker hive it's much higher.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfallacies.htm#onelayingworker
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,694 Posts
"Can a hive be queenright and have a laying worker ... ."
Yes

"or is this queen going a little wonky on me?"
Probably not. Others would disagree.

"Could she have been poorly mated from the start and just now be turning into a dud?"
It's possible, but not likely if you have a good worker brood pattern.

"What's the best thing to do in a situation like this?"
Leave it alone if there appears to be a good pattern of worker brood. If not, put a frame of eggs or very young brood in the hive.

"If there is indeed a laying worker in there, should I cage the queen, shake out the colony like a normal laying worker colony, then reintroduce the queen or go another route?"
Shaking out the colony far enough away to get rid of the laying worker(s) will cause you to lose most of your nurse bees. If you have had no worker brood for the last four weeks, then there would be minimal nurse bees to lose, so I would shake the bees out 150' away and immediately requeen or add a frame of eggs and/or very small larvae. If you currently have no worker brood, but have had some in the last two weeks, I would either add a frame of eggs and young larvae and see what happens or dump the bees in front of a strong hive with a reduced entrance. Others would do differently. I hope it works out for you.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top