Laying workers

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by letitbee, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. letitbee

    letitbee New Member

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    I checked my two hives this morning as I wanted to add a second brood box and remove the feeders. One hive looks awesome..tons of brood, cappped honey and pollen stores. The other hive is struggling. There is drone brood everywhere, the comb looks terrible, and I see very little worker brood. I can't find the queen no matter how hard I look. I assume the colony is queenless. Should I put a frame of brood from the strong hive in the weaker one and hope they make a new queen, or should I just order a new queen?
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Either should work. Being in the north, you may want to buy a queen rather than weaken your other hive. They may need all their resources to get ready for a cold Illinois winter.
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    A frame of brood (making sure there are eggs on it) never hurt anything. If the hive is in fact queenless and has developed laying workers, it will be difficult to requeen. The bees have accepted the laying workers as "boss" and will reject a newly installed one. A sign of laying workers is often you will find multiple eggs in cells and /or eggs fastened to the sides (not the bottom) of cells.
    I am trying to requeen a laying worker hive by putting in a frame of fresh brood on a regular basis. Last time I checked they had queen cells that were close to being capped so fingers crossed.

    [​IMG]

    Scattered laying worker capped drone cells



    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Queen cells on frame of open brood installed into same hive.
    This was the second attempt at installing a frame of open brood. (I understand it can take several attempts)
     
  4. letitbee

    letitbee New Member

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    I had my friend come over and check the hive and he tells me it is in-fact queenless. I am going to order a new quenn and he is going to give me some drawn frames to introduce the new queen into. He agrees that it is hard to re-queen a laying worker hive but he said it would be my best shot. The other alternative he said is to combine the two hives and wait til next year to get a new package for the failed hive. I'm sort of glad I am having a bit of trouble as I can see what a strong hive looks like compared to one with problems. I guess if everything went well with both my hives this year, I wouldn't get any education.
     
  5. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    you could combine hives and then split back to 2 in the spring
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Someone, somewhere once wrote "We learn more from our failures than our successes".
    As frustrating as it seems, I have found an element of truth to it.
    A hard lesson is often one that is remembered well, particularily if it was as a result of an action we took. In this case, your hive went queenless for what could be any one of a number of reasons so no lesson there. How you will react to and deal with it, however, will be something learned.
    Best of luck and let us know how it works out.
    (I may learn something by the actions you take). ;)
     
  7. letitbee

    letitbee New Member

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    Thanks Perrybee. I'm a little bummed cause you know how much us newbies love our bees. I'll do what I can and hope for the best. If re-queening fails, I'll probably combine the hives. The great thing is my friend has kept bees for 25 years and he is scaling down and has tons of drawn foundation and a bunch of brood boxes and supers and even an extractor he wants to sell. Perfect timing as I want to get further into it and he wants to get out. I really do appreciate the help and the advice I find on this site. I guess I will have to take my licks and I'm guessing that this is just the beginning.
     
  8. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Not to be the bearer of bad news but you will even have to endure the dreaded "dead out" at some point if you stay in it long enough. A queenless hive is really not so bad.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    some remedies might best be described as one step forward and two steps back...

    I like riverrat would likely combine with a very strong hive to remedy the existing problem. for the new bee keeper descriminating laying worker from a drone laying queen can be a problem. expecting the new bee keeper to correct this problem with bees that are highly likely to be agitated (nasty) may not be the best way. by combining with a strong hive you allow the strong hive to correct the problem. then you can split again later after the existing problem is corrected.
     
  10. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    Since you said your other hive has "tons" of brood, you can increase your chances of queen acceptance if you also put in a frame of open brood.