My laying worker strategy (so far so good)

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Gypsi, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    First, I don't think I started with a laying worker. I had a pair of nucs side by side, one was the remains after a swarm and they had a lot of queen cells.
    The other was the remains after another swarm and I gave them a mated queen. The entrances to these nucs were a nuc body apart. so if one hive wasn't happy they went next door. OR next door was just more convenient. The queen cell nuc had the corner, and somehow ended up with most of the workers from the mated queen, when the mated queen population went down, shb moved in, making the situation worse. But I still appeared to have a queen and had brood and eggs, so I removed the shb frames, gave them laying frames and some stores.

    The queen from the cell failed to mate. I and a young lady from bee club shook the corner nuc boxes out on July 12th, 50 feet away from the hive position. Now this is what I did wrong. I put them back in their old position. Then I put the 2 boxes of queen, brood and remaining bees from the 2nd nuc on top. With a newspaper in the middle. Thought everything would be good. A couple of weeks later I went through the 4 boxes to find only drone brood, no queen at all, and actually quite a bit of drone brood. I stole 2 frames from my big hive and put them in the top box. they had eggs through capped brood.

    well I found a queen cell in the top box 5 days later, but am told that it would have a drone larva in it, but that the queen cell indicated they knew they were queenless. Much less drone brood too. The remaining brood from my big hive had not fully hatched out yet. I ordered queens that would come in on August 24th.

    On August 23rd I stole the top deep and a medium nuc full of comb and bees from the corner hive, and put it on cinderblocks in my garden. There were a couple of problems with this, the local ant population and the non-antproof stand being the biggest ones, but I was really tired by the time I got home and tackled this. I set them up and observed. Most stayed with their comb. I am afraid most were nurse bees, and I'm not sure how many of those I lost in the next day or 2. They were the last hatch from the eggs from my big hive.

    And the queens did come in on August 24th. I shook out the nuc boxes in my front yard this time. A house and a couple of gates away from the apiary. I thought about taking advice to move them, but when I checked my big hive I was just in time to see the queen depart from her only frame of brood, and a lot of that was eggs. I quit feeding for a couple of weeks and she quit laying, so where are the bees to tend my queen? I just shook them out.
    I partially removed the cork over the candy section and with some misgivings put the queen horizontally in a frame of comb and closed up the 2 boxes I had left on the corner, a deep and a medium nuc.
    The other queen went on top of my refrigerator for the night, being given a drink of water.
    I had a couple of things to do the next day and chickened out on messing with the bees until it was really too late. I actually put the 2nd queen up for sale on the bee club facebook page, but had no takers.

    That gets me to Friday August 26th. A queen must have bees to tend her or she will die. So I set up an ant proof stand in the garden and put a screened bottom board on it, and a medium box with some frames. which I then took with me out by the big hive. I opened it up, with a little smoke, grabbed 2 frames from the top super and gave them 2 with empty comb. I slapped a lid on the nuc (already equipped with robber screen, and took it back to the front garden. When I went to set the deep nuc on top for venting and feed area, I lost half the bees, of course, this is a given, but I got them set up for the night except no water, and there was nectar in cells in the frames., I installed the queen with her cork fully removed, that's part of how i lost bees. But I got her in there with at least a dozen workers.... and I got the 2nd box on with a frame of honey in it.

    Which left me to address the bee shortage. So I went back to the 2 nuc stack on the corner of the hive stand, set aside the frame with the queen, and took both boxes back to the front yard and shook them out again. and the one from the garden as well. I am not sure if the nurse bees got in a hive or a lizard ate them, but losing 20 compared to losing a queen and all, I just did my best to scoop them up and get them in a box when they landed on the ground under the hive stand. I let them sort themselves out, put an empty box back in the garden for stragglers and went indoors.
    the garden box actually caught some bees so I tried to add them to the new nuc setup for queen 2, lost most of them.
    Gave it an hour, swiped the top box off the nuc on the corner of the hive stand, stuck a newspaper under it and put it over the medium with 12 bees and a queen. Put a lid on it that was not vented (this is bad, this is texas) and did not get a jar of sugar water on it, but did get them closed up by nightfall.

    saturday morning I had to work, got back by 1 or so and got a jar of sugar water and a vented lid on the new nuc stack.
    the bees were lined up around the perimeter looking for cool air. while the bottom board was screened, there is a newspaper in the middle so they don't fight with the nurse bees tending the queen. or kill her, remember these are laying worker bees. So I got them a drink.

    I went back to the corner of the hive stand nuc and grabbed the frame with the queen, took it to my front porch. I released her and trapped her under a little queen cage intended for marking. So she had comb and she was safe. Returned her to the corner nuc stack.
    grandchild here and I was gone most of sunday.

    Yesterday I made #8 hardware queen cages about 6 inches long and the size of the comb in a medium frame. I also put scissors and pliers in my bucket for modifications. Did the queen with the queen cage already first, it was pretty easy, hardest part being get the queen cage out, shoved that cage down well into the comb on her frame and closed them up.

    Then I went to the new nuc, and set aside the top box, with lid, on the table so I could work with the queen. Lost all but 3 of her outside attendants. they took off, don't know if they came back. I did not fully open her cage but I did use a scissor tip and push the candy in for easier eating and a thinner area to make an opening. Put her little cage under her big cage and pushed it into the wax of her comb. Her attendants, all but 1, are still alive. She is horizontal and safe but, no in hive attendants. No problem, no longer any outsider bees for the LW bees to fight with, I pulled the newspaper out, plugged the exit in the robber screen. They have 10 frames of mostly honey and nectar so I plugged most of the holes in a feed jar and installed it on top with 75% water 25% sugar. (if it leaks hopefully draws less robbing attempts).

    and I would have taken pictures but my cell phone runs on slides and I wasn't taking my bee gloves off or going in the house for a camera
     
  2. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    So far it's a bomb. but both queens are still alive so while there is life there is hope.
    whoever said I would fail was fairly correct. to date both queens are alive only because I built them screened cages. the laying worker nuc, one box, still has laying workers. the queen is alive and has her servants but with the screen over her I couldn't see if there were eggs, hope the photos will tell me more.

    The nuc I started with bees from the big hive and the laying worker hive has dwindled to maybe 25 bees, the queen and her attendants are alive inside their cage, the robber screen prevented robbery but apparently bees get out and get lost and don't make it home. going to try to split my big hive tomorrow and at least get enough nurse bees and foragers to get this one going. Going to try to sell the queen from the laying worker hive and dump the hive half a mile away, removing the box from its current position. Photos later, have to tend the dogs