Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Can I just add eggs to hive with laying workers?

Hi all,
I have a queenless hive. About 4 weeks ago I added some eggs from another hive after I shook all the frames off about 20m away to try to lose the laying workers. That didn’t seem to have worked so I bought a queen and installed her two weeks ago.

Did an inspection today and still looks queenless. I don’t think she made it. There also seems to be laying workers again. The population is reasonably good because they’re down to just the brood box in order to try to build up again.

With laying workers in the hive, can I just add a frame of eggs from another hive (again) ? Or will they not recognise that they are queenless because of the scattered drone brood that a worker has laid? Or should I try to buy another mated queen? If the first one didn’t make it, does that mean I’m wasting my $50 on another one?

Not really sure where to go, any advice would be very welcome.

And in an unrelated question, can I put honey supers that have been on one hive on to another hive?

Cheers
Ron

You need a frame of BIAS, once per week for 3 weeks. @Michael_Bush has all the info on his panacea method - Google it. Don’t buy another queen

:wink:

1 Like

Thanks Dawn. Luckily my 2 hives have become 7 hives and nucs due to splits, swarms and other people’s swarms.
I need to unload some, but at least I have a lot of resources available.
Cheers
Ron

1 Like

To be honest, it is usually fruitless when you get to this stage. You would be better to use the frames of bias from your other hives to start a new nuc rather than to try to save this one.

It still has a very healthy population. Probably due to the frame of eggs I put in a month ago.
Strange that in 3 years of being in the bee world i have never heard of the term bias until today.
I can’t give up on that many bees. I’m going to give saving it a go.
Will report back how I go.
Cheers
Ron

They way i look on it is this; you will used three good frames of bias and it will surely take three weeks before anything happens, and the chances of success are not great anyway. In that time the existing population of the colony will have aged a lot. Basically you will have a colony made up of the bees from the added frames plus the laying workers. Then if it succeeds they will start to make queen cells in a weak hive of aged bees.

The alternative of shaking out the bees now means that they will go into other hives when they are still useful and you can start a nuc with the frames that would would have used to try to save the laying worker hive. You will gain at least three weeks with the nuc and they will be younger bees too.

But I know exactly where you are coming from. I have done the same myself. Ill be interested to hear how it works out.

1 Like

Hi Ron, I was able to revive a laying worker hive by using a method @JeffH detailed on the forum a couple of years ago. I’ll see if I can find it and link to it.

Have a read of the following Laying Worker Success

1 Like

Thanks Cathie,
I tried that after chatting to Jeff and it hasn’t worked, so I was a little troubled by what to try next.
I’m going to try Dawn’s advice. I’m inspecting my other hives tomorrow and expecting them to be going strong, so I’ll take a frame of eggs and uncapped brood and see how we go.
Cheers
Ron

1 Like

Hi Ron, I not long walked in the door. Remember I said to shake the bees 50-100 meters away. On account that one out of 3 didn’t work for me, I might have said to go closer to a hundred meters. I think that 20 meters is too close. What @Dawn_SD is suggesting is a good way to go, & it’s what I try first.

I currently have a colony that I suspect had a laying worker. They did nothing with the first frame of brood I added. I added another frame of brood one week later, which they started building emergency queens on. I always write a tag with the date & br for brood. Whenever I add a new brood, I change the tag. That way I know when to expect to find a successfully mated queen, that is assuming that frame of brood was successful.

1 Like

Going to try Dawn’s suggestion.
Living in inner Sydney means shaking a hive full of bees outside the boundaries of my little block of dirt isn’t really an option. It’ll freak people out. There isn’t anywhere for me to do it on the quiet.
Cheers
Ron

3 Likes

Well, there are so many ways to correct a drone-laying colony it isn’t funny :slightly_smiling_face:

If it was already a weakened colony, the easiest and the best way would be to shake them all on the ground, remove the hive and let them go to other hives. But you say it has a healthy population and you don’t want flying bees. You may try to save it.

Given your limitations, you can use a method of your choice:

First - replacement. You may try a couple of variations. @Dawn_SD was suggesting this way, but there is a small variation :slightly_smiling_face: It is not about weeks. When they seal the brood, the frame goes back to the donor colony and a new frame of unsealed brood replaces it. Sort of constant rotation process until colony restarts again. When they start to produce queen cells, remove them, wait 6-8 days, give them a new good quality queen.

Variation for those who played the previous game and it got old the last time. Let bees sort it out themselves :slightly_smiling_face: You have 7 hives. Take 1-2 frames with open brood from each with nursing bees and replace all frames in the drone-laying hive. Frames from the drone-laying hive with bees go back to the donor hives. Non-drone-laying workers will return to the ex-drone-laying hive. Drone layers will remain in new hives. Dead or alive - not your problem. Deal with ex-drone layer hive as with any hive that just have lost the queen.

There are a few more, but they involve shaking bees to another box, lifting things, putting colony in starvation mode, or the ability to catch a queen in one of your hives and put her under push-in cage. Let’s try them another day :slightly_smiling_face:

2 Likes

Except meanwhile three frames of brood (a frame every week) have been replenishing the population with young bees.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm

2 Likes

Your preferred method Michael_Bush (from your link above) is also my preferred method:

"#### Simplest, least trips to the beeyard

##### Shakeout and forget

In my opinion there are only two practical solutions. The simplest solution if you have several hives and especially if the laying worker hive is a long trip, is just shake all the bees in front of the various other hives and divvy all the combs out to the other hives. This is my preferred method for an outyard or a small hive. It doesn’t waste your time and money trying to requeen a hive that is going to reject the queen anyway. This is the method of least time spent on interventions and most predictable outcome.

If you really want to have that many hives, you can pull some frames from them several weeks after the shake out and do a split with some brood from all or several of your hives. A frame of open brood and emerging brood and honey and pollen from each and you’ll have a nice split."

Wise words JimM…years ago a very experienced beekeeper said he takes those drone layer colonies 2 miles away and shakes them out on the ground."

1 Like

Thanks for all the opinions.
I’m going to try to do the one BIAS frame per week for 3 weeks method. There’s too good a population to just shake them out and abandon them.
Time will tell if it’s the right decision, but I’m learning that that seems to be the case a lot in beeking.
Will report back in a few weeks.
Cheers
Ron

3 Likes

Ok, so I week later…
The rain stopped enough for me to put the second frame of BIAS in. The first one was a week ago.
They had capped the brood beautifully, but no queen cups.
So the second frame has gone in today, we’ll see where we are in a week.
Can’t help but think if they’re not smart bees, they’ll be thinking “we don’t need a queen, we have eggs delivered every week”. :rofl:
Stay tuned…

5 Likes

Hi Ron, well done mate. Whatever you do, don’t limit how many weeks you keep doing it. It will eventually happen. The main thing is, that you have the resources to do it with.

PS @RonM . I have a little story that I shared a few years ago which goes against what Michael says about multiple laying workers. I used to think there was only one laying worker in a hive, this was before I learned about the latest strategies I use.

In that case, the colony was still a reasonable size, so I split it 3 ways, placing fresh brood in each split, before bringing 2 of the splits home. Two of the splits made queen cells, leaving one with the laying worker, which I persevered with until it eventually made a new queen. On the plus side, I finished up with 3 queen-rite colonies out of one laying worker colony.

4 Likes

Ok, so as usual the girls have thrown me a curve ball.

Checked the hive this morning and found what looks like eggs layed by a queen. Eggs Centre bottom of the cells, lots of cells side by side with eggs. Not across much of the brood box, but on a couple of sides and in good numbers.

Now, I put a frame of BIAS in a week ago, and a week before that. I DEFINATELY have not seen a queen cell, and the hive was DEFINATELY queenless and in a bit of a state with laying workers. (nothing but scattered drone cells) 3 weeks ago.

Timeline has been:
4 WEEKS AGO , laying workers, beetles, looking bad. Shook them in the front yard and put new frames with foundation in and 1 frame of BIAS.

2 WEEKS AGO, scattered drone again, a few worker egss, still feels queenless. Added another frame with eggs.

1WEEK AGO, no queen cells, aded more eggs.

TODAY, eggs in good pattern, some very new larvae, but couldnt see a queen despite 2 sweeps of the box.

What’s going on? I’m 80% confident there’s a queen in there SOMEHOW, but I have a hive of contradictions.

Cheers
Ron

1 Like

Either they raised a queen or there was a queen in there all along.

Did you shake all the bees off the brood frame that you had added to thoroughly search for a queen cell?

Sometimes they can be very well camouflaged. Shockingly well camouflaged…

And before adding it to the laying-workers colony too? If not, is there a queen in the donor colony? :rofl:

1 Like