Author Topic: Laying Worker Hive  (Read 291 times)

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Offline Bakersdozen

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Laying Worker Hive
« on: June 27, 2020, 10:27:16 am »
The prospect of a laying worker hive can really frustrate many beekeepers.  I think they can happen to anyone, even experienced beekeepers.  We can be fooled by a laying worker.  We see eggs and think all is well, when in fact they are unfertilized eggs.
I heard the following remedy discussed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bee Lab members.
1. Do a thorough shake out away from the hive.
2. In the same location the colony was located, start reassembling the hive starting with the bottom board, place a queen excluder on top of the bottom board.  On top of the queen excluder, place the brood box and bee free frames.  I brushed each frame individually and return them to the brood box one at a time.
3. If the colony consisted of 2 brood boxes, do the same with the second brood box.
4. The bees will fly back, immediately, to the original colony site.  The theory is the laying worker will be too large to get past the queen excluder.
5. At this point your options are to insert a frame of eggs from another colony so the laying worker hive can raise their own queen.  The eggs should be 1-2 days old in order to raise a properly well fed queen. OR Insert a frame with a queen cell that the laying worker hive can finish raising.  This works well during swarm season.  OR insert a mated queen in a queen cage for the laying worker colony to accept.

I did the last option, inserting a mated, caged queen.  It worked!  I have a very happy colony now.  They were very testy and aggressive prior to getting this colony straightened out.

Are there any other methods that worked for you?


Offline Zweefer

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Re: Laying Worker Hive
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2020, 10:48:43 am »
What I have done that works - shake the hive, then place a frame or two with open brood in the box.   Wait to see if they draw emergency cells. If not, repeat a week later.  It may take A couple of weeks worth of installing open brood frames for it to take. Once that queen cell has started, you should be good to go.
Either let them raise their own queen, or cut the cells out and install your own at this time. Putting a queen in before the cells are started is a recipe for disaster, trust me.
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Laying Worker Hive
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2020, 11:39:51 pm »
Have you ever had a problem with plastic queen excluders sagging in the middle of the entrance?  I've started duct taping the middle of my excluders, when I use them to keep a queen in the box because of that sag.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Laying Worker Hive
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2020, 10:29:21 am »
Have you ever had a problem with plastic queen excluders sagging in the middle of the entrance?  I've started duct taping the middle of my excluders, when I use them to keep a queen in the box because of that sag.

I have never used plastic. 

Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Laying Worker Hive
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2020, 10:48:15 pm »
I only have the metal ones too.. they are like... 30+ years old and STILL exclude queens!   :laugh:
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Laying Worker Hive
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2020, 11:03:08 pm »
I buy the plastic ones because I can cut them to fit the entrances of nucs or other things when I need a queen includer.  I've found out that I don't care for them as queen includers on a ten frame hive, but as long as they sit supported on all four sides they work well as excluders.
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Offline rober

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Re: Laying Worker Hive
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2020, 07:25:43 pm »
i only use metal excluders & i use these on my nucs. it can be set to wide open, queen excluder, vent only, & completely closed.