Looking for some help on a hive I believe to have laying workers. I appreciate you taking the time to read (I am long winded but trying to cover my bases explaining my situation)
Hx: Overwintered hive. Inspected 4/13 for first time this spring (located in New England USA - NH). At that time I saw the queen, saw eggs and larvae - hive appeared to be happy and healthy. A super was added at that time.
Current: 5/21 capped brood noted in flow super - being new I closed up the hive and did some research to determine what next steps to do.
5/29 - first chance to get back into the hive since finding capped brood in super. Found more capped brood in super. Went through entire hive (1 flow super, 3 medium broods all below a metal queen excluder). Was unable to find the queen. Did notice in ALL boxes there were eggs but multiple eggs in the same cell, some eggs on pollen, no real pattern to them. Also noted larvae and capped brood - capped brood appears to be drone brood. – my research and asking around tells me I have laying workers causing this…
My research says the only real “fix” for this is to use another strong hive and take open brood frames and place one frame at a time into my laying worker hive and do this every 5-6 days (which will release the open brood pheromone) and this will slowly indicate to the workers that they don’t have a queen and they should start to make emergency queen cells. Then at this time I can either let them requeen themselves or I can introduce a queen and they would hopefully accept her… — the dilemma is I have 2 other hives but they are nucs from this spring and one is currently trying to requeen itself and the other is doing well and has 1 deep brood and I added a medium brood 1 week ago that has about 2-3 frames drawn with comb and good signs of eggs/larvae present. I don’t really want to sacrifice/weaken my nuc that is doing well in hopes to revive my laying worker hive… But not sure if there is another option… Just don’t want to end up losing two hives trying to save 1…
Hi Kim, I think what you’re proposing is a good strategy. I would take the risk & give the colony a frame that has the least amount of brood, as long as it has worker eggs, from the queen-rite nuc. I’m bearing in mind that you don’t want to overly weaken that nuc. After 6 days, the nuc might be in a position where you can steal another frame from it. I like the strategy of continuing to give brood every 5-6 days until the colony starts building emergency queens. I notice that a lot of people give up after just one frame.
It just occurred to me that an option would be to swap the first frame of brood with the second frame of brood, & so on. It’s about using the brood frames to regulate the population in each colony.
If I do add in frames - where should I be adding them in? I have 3 medium brood boxes on the laying worker hive. Would it make sense to put the queen rite brood frame into the middle box in my laying worker hive? I would assume place it in the middle of the 10 frames within that middle box?
Then with the frame I take out - what do I do with the worker laying frame im removing? Do I clean it out somehow or? (Have never had this happen where I removed a frame with laying worker eggs etc on it.
I would put it in the middle of the bee cluster, where the most bees are. Yes I would clean that frame out, Alternatively you could freeze it for later use if the comb is mostly worker comb.
Are sure that you have a laying worker? A good guide is drones being raised in worker comb, with no other workers being raised. If you have a combination of workers & drones in worker comb, to me that indicates a failing, or dud queen, which is easier to rectify if you find the queen.
I had a colony that came out of winter and something happed to the queen, the colony was dwindling as the queen died, before they became laying workers I start adding a frame of brood each week from a stronger colony and by time I went to check on 4th week I had a laying queen. You can give some pollen patties to Nuc colony that would give the additional resources for them to build their numbers faster.