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Author Topic: Drone laying workers: what to do  (Read 220 times)

Offline arvevalley

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Drone laying workers: what to do
« on: September 19, 2019, 10:44:46 pm »
I have two hives, new to beekeeping. The hives were first inspected after winter three weeks ago, doing ok. I must have killed one of the queens as yesterday's inspection (first since) showed a drone laying hive. I have no access to queens. I am reluctant to join the hives as the dlw hive is slightly stronger.

Online van from Arkansas

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Re: Drone laying workers: what to do
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2019, 10:58:39 pm »
Are you just off Australia?s coast.  Is this your spring?  If it is spring in your area, shake the bees out then provide frames of eggs, young larva and your bees should make a queen.

Some say shake outs don?t work.  They have worked for me to correct a laying worker hive.

Good luck,
Van
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Offline arvevalley

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Re: Drone laying workers: what to do
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2019, 11:06:10 pm »
Thanks, yes I am from Tasmania, Australia's south and spring has just begun. Shaking out seems the best option but I doubt I will be able to spare more than one frame of brood/larvae/eggs from the other hive as numbers have not started to build up yet. Is there any ways I can increase the chances of success in the adding a frame method?

Offline Dallasbeek

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Re: Drone laying workers: what to do
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2019, 12:52:35 am »
You could have a new queen that has not yet fully developed her ability to lay proper eggs.  There is a lot on the forum about this topic.  Possibilities include the hive having swarmed, etc.  Read what others have written before giving up on this hive.
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Drone laying workers: what to do
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2019, 12:59:08 am »
One frame of brood - applied every 8 days (after the initial shakeout) - until they make a queen cell(s) ... should help take care of the problem. If after 4 tries (24 days after the first brood is introduced) they haven't made a queen cell, I'd "shut them down" ... (give up and freeze them, etc).

If they do make a Queen cell(s), you have to check back (16 to 24 days after the cell was capped) to make sure she survived her mating flights, and is laying properly - been there, done that

1 persons opinion here - there are others here better qualified than me to answer - most of them will say "don't even try" ... and I would tend to agree. ... but it can be done sometimes, if your your determined. Maybe. Fwiw.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Drone laying workers: what to do
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2019, 01:59:27 am »
You could have a new queen that has not yet fully developed her ability to lay proper eggs.  There is a lot on the forum about this topic.  Possibilities include the hive having swarmed, etc.  Read what others have written before giving up on this hive.

Dallas is right with good advise. Their was a discussion here, just a short time ago, maybe a couple to four months ago about this very thing. Turned out iddee nailed it best as I remember. The colony was queen right,(If I remember correctly). It would be best to look it up but I am thinking iddee advised if the eggs are on the bottom even though multiple eggs per cell, then you have a queen, eggs on the side of the cell then most likely a laying worker. Is this right iddee?

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Drone laying workers: what to do
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2019, 08:54:58 am »
What Ben said.
I have seen multiple eggs in cells in my observation hive. If they are on the bottom, you have a new queen. If they are on the sides, you have a laying worker.
Keep in mind, most hives have a laying worker or 2 but the bees will eventually remove their eggs. Just because you see a few cells with eggs on the side, it does not mean you have a problem.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Drone laying workers: what to do
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2019, 06:14:04 pm »
Check out Jims advice of where the eggs are.
Shake outs work for me. Just add 1 frame of brood with eggs and the bees on the frame as the eggs need nurse bees.
Bit of icing sugar will add to the confusion and disguise the smells of the old regime.

If you killed the Q 3 weeks ago there should have been eggs to form a new Q. Look for sign of old QC's.
If you shake out a young queen there is a good chance she would find here way back to the hive but I doubt you have a young Q.

Online van from Arkansas

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Re: Drone laying workers: what to do
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2019, 08:13:48 pm »
Avervalley, cheers Mate.  Last March, our Spring, I noticed a hive made it through winter but the queen did not survive.  Don?t know what happened to the queen.  So I added a frame of capped brood for the nurse bees, then a week later added a frame of eggs followed by another frame of eggs the following week, 3rd week.  Yes the hive created a queen and is doing fine to this day.

Agree with above, Cool, Dallas, Ben, Jim, Beavo..,.

Van
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Online van from Arkansas

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Re: Drone laying workers: what to do
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2019, 08:23:56 pm »
Keep in mind, most hives have a laying worker or 2 but the bees will eventually remove their eggs. Just because you see a few cells with eggs on the side, it does not mean you have a problem.
Jim Altmiller


Most hives have a laying worker???  Please explain.  Understand Jim, I have never owned an observation hive and would have no way to notice IF there was a laying worker in a queen rite hive.  So I am asking as this is puzzling to me. Blessings
Van
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Drone laying workers: what to do
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2019, 10:40:05 pm »
Van,
I don?t recall the source/s, I think one was an instructor at a bee college, but most hives have a few laying workers. The bigger the hive the more the chance you have them.
Hopefully Michael can provide a solid source for this info.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Drone laying workers: what to do
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2019, 09:42:32 am »
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm

Actually a queenright have probably has about 30 to 60 laying workers:
See page 9 of "The Wisdom of the Hive"

"Although worker honey bees cannot mate, they do possess ovaries and can produce viable eggs; hence they do have the potential to have male offspring (in bees and other Hymenoptera, fertilized eggs produce females while unfertilized eggs produce males). It is now clear, however, that this potential is exceedingly rarely realized as long as a colony contains a queen (in queenless colonies, workers eventually lay large numbers of male eggs; see the review in Page and Erickson 1988). One supporting piece of evidence comes from studies of worker ovary development in queenright colonies, which have consistently revealed extremely low levels of development. All studies to date report far fewer than 1 % of workers have ovaries developed sufficiently to lay eggs (reviewed in Ratnieks 1993; see also Visscher 1995a). For example, Ratnieks dissected 10,634 worker bees from 21 colonies and found that only 7 had moderately developed egg (half the size of a completed egg) and that just one had a fully developed egg in her body."
If you do the math, in a normal booming queenright hive of 100,000 bees that's 70 laying workers. In a laying worker hive it's much higher.

If you have a serious laying worker hive half the bees are laying workers:
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00299895
"More than half of the bees in laying worker colonies have developed ovaries (Sakagami 1954)..."-- Reproduction by worker honey bees (Apis mellifer L.) R.E. Page Jr and E.H. Erickson Jr. - Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology August 1988, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 117-126

In a strong hive that has gone laying worker, that could be 30,000 laying workers...
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Drone laying workers: what to do
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2019, 01:22:49 pm »
Thanks Michael.
Jim Altmiller

Online van from Arkansas

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Re: Drone laying workers: what to do
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2019, 04:29:37 pm »
Indeed, thank you M. Bush.
Blessings
Van
Bless the Beekeepers.  Dealing with venomous insects takes courage, patience, dedication and a desire to be with nature.