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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Minnesota hobby keeper with a question regarding a failing hive. Went into the winter fairly strong, it was a package from the spring, with a low mite count and an sugar board added for insurance. Hive survived the winter and late March I put on 2 pollen patties. At that time there were still full frames of honey remaining, and about 60% of the sugar board was eaten. Third week of April, finally warm enough, I did a full hive inspection and found the number of bees lower than expected. The queen was found and there were a fair number of cells with more than one egg, no larva seen. I moved some frames of honey adjacent to the brood, reduced the hive from 3 deeps to 2, and sugar syrup from a bucket feeder was started. Today, 2 weeks later, the numbers remain low, a few larva are found and a low to moderate number of eggs seen, with about 30% of the cells containing multiple eggs. Did not look for the queen. The bees are bringing in pollen but it looks like this hive will not survive, low number of bees, few larva, and an abnormal egg laying pattern. Any thoughts on what happened? Why is the queen laying in this pattern? I have not found evidence of queen cells with any of my inspections this spring. Just asking those, who are more experienced, to try and learn something. Thanks for any thoughts you have.
 

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about 30% of the cells containing multiple eggs. QUOTE said:
there is a good chance you have lost your queen and have a laying worker instead. You need to refer to the threads regarding this. I have never had a laying worker so I can't advise you. Good luck
 

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Howdy BeeKay and welcome to BeeSource....
I had a package install this spring that the queen went missing,,,We took a frame of brood and put it in this hive, from another healthy hive, to discourage laying worker and buy some time untill a replacement queen could get here, we released the queen slowly ie. left her in the cage for 3days then poped the cork on the candy end, so the bees wouldn't kill her ,,,,"Today I opened the hive and it's one of my more populus hives...
Maybe the extra cold winter damaged your queen, If you have laying workers I don't think they can make a new queen because the layed eggs are drone eggs from workers....you still have time to get a new queen and make some honey and build up the bees yet this year....:)

==McBee7==
 

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Beekay - Your hive has ALL the signs of having laying workers. I know from experience myself as I just had to deal with a hive that was full of them. It was a package that apparently tried to supersede immediately and failed or it was full of laying workers from the start and they killed the queen in the package. In any case you have a couple diff ways to deal with your problem.

1. Take a frame of open brood once per week from another hive and insert into this hive. The pharamones from open brood will cause the laying workers to regress and quit laying, thereby allowing the workers to create a new queen with the eggs from the other hive. Do this for about 4 weeks in a row. Make sure that each frame has eggs in it.

2. What I refer to as shake-n-bake. First you go to another hive and pull frames to create a NUC. Make one with eggs in it so that they can start raising their own queen as well. Then you move your hive that is failing away from the original location, and place the NUC there. Then frame by frame you shake ALL of the bees off the frames in front of the other hives. The laying workers won't be able to enter into any other hives, and the nurse bees will. The field bees will fly back to the NUC and give that hive a field force.

#2 is my favorite. You get the ability to know that you are picking the queen genetics and you only have to go in one time to get it done.

You can find more information and better understanding on Michael Bush's website. www.bushfarms.com
 

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Beekay - Your hive has ALL the signs of having laying workers. I know from experience myself as I just had to deal with a hive that was full of them. It was a package that apparently tried to supersede immediately and failed or it was full of laying workers from the start and they killed the queen in the package. In any case you have a couple diff ways to deal with your problem.

1. Take a frame of open brood once per week from another hive and insert into this hive. The pharamones from open brood will cause the laying workers to regress and quit laying, thereby allowing the workers to create a new queen with the eggs from the other hive. Do this for about 4 weeks in a row. Make sure that each frame has eggs in it.

2. What I refer to as shake-n-bake. First you go to another hive and pull frames to create a NUC. Make one with eggs in it so that they can start raising their own queen as well. Then you move your hive that is failing away from the original location, and place the NUC there. Then frame by frame you shake ALL of the bees off the frames in front of the other hives. The laying workers won't be able to enter into any other hives, and the nurse bees will. The field bees will fly back to the NUC and give that hive a field force.

#2 is my favorite. You get the ability to know that you are picking the queen genetics and you only have to go in one time to get it done.

You can find more information and better understanding on Michael Bush's website. www.bushfarms.com
I believe the OP said the Queen was found. Can you have a Queen and a laying worker?
 

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With multiple eggs in cells it is more likely than not that the queen has failed and the hive has developed laying workers due to lack of open brood. It is the open brood pharamones that keeps the workers from developing functional ovaries. There can be both laying workers and an old worn out queen in a hive though. According to many sources there can be many laying workers in a normal hive that is just being kept at bay by the pharamones of the brood.
 

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There's also the therory of all hives have laying workers and the house bees keep them in check. I think Micheal Bush discusses it on his site.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just to clarify, the queen was seen on my initial inspection in April. This queen came with the package a year ago, though as I don't mark them there is no absolute guarentee it is the one from last April's package.

The egg laying pattern showed about 30% with 2-4 eggs per cell, the other 70% had a nicely centered solitary egg. Overall the number of cells with any eggs is low for this time of year.

Thanks for your thoughts and feedback, any additional ideas are welcome as I am always trying to learn.
 
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