Laying queen and laying worker?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by RE Jones, May 30, 2012.

  1. RE Jones

    RE Jones New Member

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    It's been about a month since I have been into the hives. The two langs are building up pretty good with the no rain situation that we have.

    The TBH is on bar 10. This one I started from a queen cell and three frames of brood, eggs and bees. There is about 6 frames of solid brood and two other frames have spotted drone cells. Why would they be laying drones at this time of year?

    I'm wondering if one of the workers is laying on the far end of the hive? Any thoughts?

    Thanks, Robert
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    They will raise a few drones all summer, just in case.
     

  3. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Yeah, the time of year isn't anything to be concerned with...it takes extra resources to raise drones that don't contribute anything of immediate value to the hive, and weak hives don't tend to raise drones. So seeing drones tells me a colony is strong. I also pay attention to which colonies in the Spring are the first to have drone comb. It's just a good sign and tells me who is strongest and in the best shape.

    But, just out of curiosity, what did you mean that two frames had "spotted drone cells?" You wouldn't have a LW and a LQ in the same colony, so you can rule that out. And you wouldn't have a LW at all in a colony with brood, even if the queen had died, as it would be several weeks after the last of the capped brood emerged before lack of brood pheromone allowed a worker's ovaries to develop, and in any case, a dead queen would have caused them to just create a new queen anyway, and you wouldn't have any LW.

    So, there are only two remaining situations that would account for drone. One is perfectly normal and all the drone comb should be in groups all together. The second is not normal, and would indicate a queen that is petering out and needs to be replaced. So when you said that two frames had "spotted drone cells" on them, does that mean there was regular capped brood with drone cells kind of mixed in with it here and there?
     
  4. RE Jones

    RE Jones New Member

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    All of the drone comb is together, the brood comb is separate. The comb with the drone cells on it, it is kinda spotty on this comb. It is in a group, but not like brood comb.

    The queen should not be petering out, as she was hatched out in March.

    The brood comb is from bars 1 to 7 and the other comb has drone cells on them.
    Thanks, Robert
     
  5. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Probably nothing to worry about, but a picture would be cool. A new queen doesn't necessarily mean a well bred queen. A certain amount of queens can be duds for any number of reasons, like crappy weather during the time they need to mate, or bad genetics or not enough drones in drone congregation area or whatever.

    Anyway, capped worker brood with isolated drone cells scattered throughout it would be something to be concerned about, but without us seeing it, you'll have to make the call yourself. Here is a pic of a failing queen brood pattern:

    rp4.jpg
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    When it is solid brood comb on 7 frames and drone in spots on separate frames, it is definitely normal to exceptionally good. Relax and go have a beer.
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    If a queen is "offered" drone sized cells,and lays in them, she'll lay drone eggs even when she should be laying worker eggs. That's why it pays to have as little drone comb as possible. Since it's almost impossible to have 100% control over the size of the cells (even when built on worker cell foundation, the bees will often put in a few or even many drone cells), the best policy for controlling drone production is to move drone cell combs to the honey storage areas of the hive. Give the queen worker cells only and use drone cells for honey production.
    That having been said, there can be a positive side to having drone brood. They serve as the preferred egg laying site for varroa. So if you can regularly go over your brood and remove the developing drones (from capped cells) you can, (in a very labor intensive way) keep the numbers of the varroa mites down.
     
  8. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Depends on what someone means by the word "spotty." If it's "spotty" like in the photo above and he does too much relaxing, he'll need something stronger than a beer after his hive poops the bed. Without a picture of his frame it's hard to say, that's why I posted one. If it looks like that, problem, if it doesn't look like that, no problem, probably.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I understand what you are saying, but after 35 years of working with new beeks, I can be fairly sure spotty means 30 cells here, 20 there, 40 on the other end, 10 hanging off the bottom, etc, when drones are all on separate frames from the brood.
     
  10. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I guess I was thing of that post, Things don't look good the other day where a new beek (cheezer32) said that picture looked "spotty." And Tec said that was an understatement and that the pic should be preserved as a textbook example of a drone laying bad brood pattern. And the guy who took that pic had just bought a supposedly well bred queen in a package from that Sallie woman.

    So the similarities between that thread and this one kind of jumped out at me....new queen, new beek describing "spotty" drone, etc...
    I know there are frames of good brood before he gets to the "spotty drone cells," but I guess it wouldn't be the first time a queen started out laying great and then petered out before she was "supposed to."

    But you are probably right, instead of irritating the bees by taking a photo of their frame, he should drink a beer and relax.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    So the similarities between that thread and this one kind of jumped out at me

    tecumseh:
    solid brood... spotty brood? a good laying pattern or a bad laying pattern? after just a bit of experience these thing become I would guess fairly self evident and obvious. the distinctions between these things is what we are trying to describe for the newer bee keepers on the block and it is my belief/understanding that often times the language can be confusing and the archaic language of beekeepers likely doesn't help here much. picture do help to make these distinction and after just a bit of 'experience' the new beekeeper will thinks it alls looks obvious also.

    ps.... drone brood in a healthy active hive almost always occurs at the outside edges or fringes of the brood nest. in some small numbers drones are a good thing and suggest the hives is behaving in a proper manner and is prospering. too many drones in a hive (either alive or in the form of brood) usually means something else is going on. describing, via the written language, just exactly where to draw the line here I would think is impossible.