This Colony has BIG problems

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by barry42001, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I and my wife attended a short beekeepers course offered by cooperative extension, she was totally unfamiliar with honeybees aside from the colony in yard which is more populated then she was ready for at that time. The demonstation hive was severely underpopulated with workers. barely covering center 4 frames. I also noted that there were way too many drones, all were undersized, and many were deformed missing a leg, or malformed wing. Additionally noted that only capped brood was drone brood as per the cappings domed or " bullet " shaped. I did kill a small hive beetle, on outside of colony. no beetle grubs were seen. No various stages of brood were apparent aside from more mature larvae about 5 days or so judging from size. I was thinking inn terms of laying workers, a colony became hopelessly queenless so a few workers started to lay eggs, only drone brood can develope as eggs have to be infertile. Obviously workers can not compete with a queen for true egg laying duties, but so lonog as the egg laying workers are there no queen will be accepted as from the other workers they already have a queen, from their perspective. If infact is laying workers, they will be impossible to find as they are no bigger then the rest of the workforce. If were my colony would shake out the bees, laying workers can't fly becasue of egg developement in body, have either a queen ready to introduce, or several frames of brood allow them to develope their own queen. Any one have other thoughts as to whats going on here.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Sounds like a fairly accurate diagnosis. A laying worker hive is doomed without drastic actions from a beek. Either a shakeout to allow the bees to adopt other hives, or weekly insertion of a frame of eggs until they decide to raise a queen.
     

  3. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    That whole shaking out a laying worker colony because a laying worker can not fly is a bunch of urban legend boloney.

    Heck.....I've seen a laying queen take flight if need be! And to assume that one (of many laying workers) could not make it back to the hive is wrong. I've done that whole "shake out" thing dozens of times and it fails often, if not almost always.

    You got a laying hive...combine with a queenright hive and let the queen's pheromones shut the laying worker down.

    No offense to iddee....but I also think wasting more time or resources in feeding frames to the laying worker colony is the wrong way to go. It's been queenless for a long time to develope laying workers. To then put the colony through the task of raising a quality queen with these old bees is asking much of this hive, and may result in a poor queen.

    Combine. Then in a few weeks, get a queen and split them back out.
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    No offense taken. You are commercial, so 100% correct. Us hobbyists can do a lot of things that just wouldn't be right for a commercial outfit. The frame feeding is for fun and experimentation only. Two different ball games.
     
  5. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    If other colonies were available to combine, would totally agree, infact 3 other colonies were in the cooperative extensions bee yard. NONE of the hives were very strong, don't know why, didn't see inside only but the one they were showing. Certianly queen pheremones ( or the lack there of ) are whats responsible for the laying workers, there is a relatively new ( well perhaps not so new ) introduction cage, actually is a cage that sets on the brood comb maybe 6 inches by 6 inches by 3/8 inch high allows queen to actually start egg laying --even if in a restricted area, allows colony interaction with out direct contact like the other introduction cages. 3 - 5 days like that should restore pheremone levels and shut down the laying workers I think.
    Just a thought, in my otherwise convoluted thought processing. :?
    Barry