Author Topic: Laying Workers?  (Read 216 times)

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Offline Wandering Man

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Laying Workers?
« on: June 09, 2018, 11:09:21 am »
We thought things were going well in our hives with our new queens.

I just took the time to look through the pictures we took while doing the inspection, and now I’m worried one of the queens didn’t make it.

I’ll have to go back into the hive when we return home from a short trip, to be sure.

If I do have laying workers, do I take the brood boxes and set one each on top of the other two hives? Or swap out a hand full of frames and add a new queen? Or something different?

Look in the upper right quadrant...


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Offline tedh

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Re: Laying Workers?
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2018, 12:03:20 pm »
I'm seeing capped brood, open larva and cells with what looks like a couple eggs.  My understanding is that it's the brood pheromone that keeps laying workers from happening.  I assume it's the multiple eggs that have you concerned.  The eggs appear to be on the bottom of the cells which makes me doubt a laying worker situation, that and not having a half dozen eggs in some cells.  If it were me I'd give it a week or two and then check again.  Could be a queen trying to get her groove on.  Having said all that I'd wait for more experienced keeps to chime in.  Ted
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Laying Workers?
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2018, 01:07:43 pm »
Thanks. That is reassuring.  The queen did not look likr she was fully developed when I got her. She was pretty short for a queen. What you say Ted makes a lot of sense.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Laying Workers?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2018, 06:42:59 am »
The presence of brood, eggs, and larvae will keep workers from attempting to lay.
tedh, you can see a lot more than me.  My computer only enlarges a picture one time and that didn't do much enlarging.  Maybe there is something I don't know.

Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Laying Workers?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2018, 08:19:21 am »
The presence of brood, eggs, and larvae will keep workers from attempting to lay.

Somehow, I missed this lesson.

Tedh saw the multiple eggs in a few cells, which I neglected to mention as my source of concern.

We will be looking into the hive later this week to be sure the queen is still in there.

In the meantime, 3Reds and I are out of town, enjoying our 44th anniversary and not worrying about the bees.
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Offline Lburou

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Re: Laying Workers?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2018, 04:50:39 pm »
I'm ambivalent about what I see in that picture.  I see capped worker brood, (good):  That means there was a laying queen in the hive about 10-21 days ago.  I see white larvae, good:  That suggests there was a queen laying between 4-9 days ago.  I see what might be cells with multiple eggs.  If there are multiple cells with multiple eggs, keep an eye on this hive.  I would requeen if you don't see these cells capped as workers and/or the multiple eggs in a cell continue.  JMO   :)

P.S.  If the extra white specks in the bottom of those cells are in fact mite feces, then it is a mite problem, not laying workers.  I suspect this is the cause of the extra white specks at the bottom of the cells pictured. 
Lee_Burough
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Laying Workers?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2018, 05:10:33 pm »
I'm ambivalent about what I see in that picture.  I see capped worker brood, (good):  That means there was a laying queen in the hive about 10-21 days ago.  I see white larvae, good:  That suggests there was a queen laying between 4-9 days ago.  I see what might be cells with multiple eggs.  If there are multiple cells with multiple eggs, keep an eye on this hive.  I would requeen if you don't see these cells capped as workers and/or the multiple eggs in a cell continue.  JMO   :)

P.S.  If the extra white specks in the bottom of those cells are in fact mite feces, then it is a mite problem, not laying workers.  I suspect this is the cause of the extra white specks at the bottom of the cells pictured.

The old queen was killed May 16th - 26 days ago.  The new BeeWeaver Queen was left in the hive in her cage for the bees to release the following day, 25 days ago.  I figure she should have been in there laying for the last 22 days.  The queens we put in this hive and one other hive were really small, compared to every other queen I've seen.  BeeWeaver assured me the bees would fatten them up. 

We'll take a light with us when we go to look in the hive and search for mite droppings.  We need to see the actual queen.  And it is time to do another mite check.  We treated with OAV on 1/29 amd Formic Pro 3/23, but haven't done a follow-up mite check just because of all of the chaos involved with moving the bees then requeening them.

On Edit:

Having looked for images of Mite Feces on the internet, I think Lee is correct.  Here is a close-up and enhancement of the upper quadrant of my photo:


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Offline Lburou

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Re: Laying Workers?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2018, 05:31:23 pm »
I've seen some very small BWeaver queens.  They work just fine.  Bees may supersede them, which is okay with me.  I've had the best luck with the third through the fifth generations of BWeaver queens. Sometimes the second generation is a bit more aggressive than I like, but the extra aggressiveness usually passes the third and successive generations.  JMO  :)

P.S.  You do not have to 'see' the queen.  Eggs are evidence enough of her presence.  Close the hive as soon as you get mandatory business completed.  Less disturbance means bees can be back to work sooner than when you dissect the entire hive frame by frame.
Lee_Burough

Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Laying Workers?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2018, 06:21:59 pm »
Sometimes the second generation is a bit more aggressive than I like, but the extra aggressiveness usually passes the third and successive generations.  JMO  :)

Second or Third generation?  As in the bees making their own queens?

We've not heard from Nugget Shooter in a while.  I'm worried that the native bees have driven him off.  While we are not as bad as I've heard Arizona is, I have heard from a lot of beekeepers here, in Corpus, and in the Valley who no longer trust their hives not to turn africanized without requeening.

I've become pretty much convinced that letting the queens find their own mates can be a dangerous proposition in Victoria.  However, since the bees are no longer in our backyard I suppose we could experiment with that.

I think the closer we get to the Valley, the more defensive the feral bees.

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Offline Lburou

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Re: Laying Workers?
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2018, 06:28:31 pm »
...Second or Third generation?  As in the bees making their own queens?...
Yes, with open mating.  You might put some foundationless frames in your best hives and let them make lots of drones.  The drones will dilute the local stock...eventually.  :)
Lee_Burough

Offline tedh

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Re: Laying Workers?
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2018, 08:24:53 pm »
Good eye Lburou!
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Offline Mikey N.C.

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Re: Laying Workers?
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2018, 01:59:37 pm »
Agree with replies.
If i remember correctly,  laying worker eggs(2) will be on the side of cells cause laying worker bee can't get to bottom of cell.