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Laying Worker Success


One of my nuc hives developed a laying worker. It was at the back of my house. I took everything around to the front of my house after setting up another brood box containing one frame of brood in all stages, flanked by frames containing fresh foundation.

Around the front I shook everything out under a tree (nearly 3 days ago). All of the bees except the laying worker/s & very young bees returned to around the back. I put the young bees, including the laying worker/s on a different frame of brood in all stages in a nuc box flanked by fresh foundation. I left it under the tree.

Yesterday afternoon (two days later), I checked the bees out the front, no new queen cells. I checked the ones out the back, you’ll see by our photos, beautiful new emergency queen cells.

The colony out the front is a little over a full frame of bees. I intend on keeping it like that & keep changing the frame of brood over every 5-6 days until they decide to make a new queen.


So @Jeff, I wonder if you break down a certain number of Queen cells these days or if you still leave them to work out which queen survives? Remember Dan2 (still miss him) and i got all worked up for a while there when our splits swarmed multiple times and went queenless on us? I have to confess I’ve thinned queen cells ever since because i have cranky neighbors so close and can’t afford to have a swarm show up in their yard.
I haven’t yet had to deal with a laying worker issue. I’ll try to remember your solution if i ever do.


Hi Cathie, I’m not breaking any QCs down. I like the natural selection process. It IS risky in a backyard. The colony of this topic was a swarm from a split that was making a new queen. Lucky it landed in a convenient spot for me. I picked up a swarm in my main bee site this morning. Going by the size of it & the timing, I suspect it issued from a strong single box colony that was making emergency queens. I was there for 3 hours checking for honey, squashing beetles etc & meant to check the colony I suspected before coming home, but I forgot.

The colony of this topic is minus all the very young bees & it only has the one frame of brood. I doubt that it will swarm because a lot of the older bees would have died before the first virgin queen emerges.


I felt like I had success with the bees I collected at the front of the house. I put one frame of brood in at the start: no emergency queen cells so I swapped that frame for a fresh one: still no emergency queen cells, so I swapped that one over. I had a look this morning (after 2 days) to find no queen cells, however on the frame of brood there looked to be a worker with a slightly longer abdomen. The workers were treating her like she was a queen. She may have been a queen, however a small one.

What I did then was squash her & placed her on top of a frame at the rear, then added a second frame of brood in all stages with the majority sealed. I felt that the bee numbers were sufficient to cater for a second frame of brood.

With the mini queen now dead & the bees knowing it, I’m confident that the bees wont waste any time to start building emergency queen cells to make themselves a new one.


Yeah well, 4 days later, the photos tell the story.

This photo shows the frame of sealed brood that I added in order to boost the numbers.

In this next photo you can see a queen cell with a large opening, I’m guessing that’s because the bees removed the larvae for some reason.


29 days since I did the shake method & gave them fresh brood. I thought it’s time to see if we have a new mated queen. Sure enough we do, & she is a ripper.

She’s laying up some nice brood.


Just an update on the second colony, the one around the front.
We have another successfully mated queen:

Here’s a shot of her brood.

So, all’s well that ends well.

Honey flow South East QLD

She is gorgeous - a real ripper! :blush:

Lovely photo of eggs in the cells behind her in the top photo too. Actually eggs in just about every open cell. Wonderful to see! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Thank you Dawn :slight_smile: She hadn’t touched that frame last Wednesday or Thursday when I attempted to do this update. The capped brood we see today was only young larvae then. Also when I spotted her, she hadn’t filled out properly.