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Drone brood?

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steveselvage 

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I have a colony that has been queenless since i bought it,despite adding frames of brood three times they never reared a viable queen.
I have noticed that there is a random pattern of capped brood (my eyes are not good enough to spot eggs) it seems to be drone brood,raised capping.
Could this mean they have a queen or is it laying workers, either way i would like to unite them with a weak swarm i picked up a few weeks ago.
How do i do this?
If it is laying workers will they stop laying when combined with another colony?
 

wbchive 

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Unfortunately it sounds like laying workers, and that's a sad one. If they have not taken up all those opportunities to raise a queen they sound to be pretty far gone. I would be very wary of uniting them with a viable colony as they have a reputation for killing the queen and carrying on laying. You may just have to let Nature take its course and let them die out over the Winter.

Sorry,
Steve
 

RosieMc 

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Do i kill off the drone brood?

I have a similar problem. After loosing a virgin Queen I noticed capped brood which must have been layed by a worker (long story). I have just introduced a new Queen. But do we kill off the many drone cells?:confused:
 

oliver90owner 

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RosieMc steveselvage,

We need a few more details to be more than just guessing.

You know have either an unmated queen or laying workers. The results might be the same, but:

If large tracts of comb are being used for brood, it is likely a queen.

Are there more than one egg per cell? Likely laying worker(s).

Patchy or random laying is likely worker, but could be a useless queen.

Either way the colony, as it is , is doomed.

Laying workers may well be retained at the expense of a good queen when uniting. High risk operation.

If a queen she must be found and removed. Then unite. If laying workers there is a possibility of uniting but I am not sure how risky it might be for the queen in the quenright colony.

Drone laying queen - if a scrub queen it might be able to go through a queen excluder but seiving the bees thus might reveal a smaller, but too large to go through the excluder, queen. End of problem. Have you tried separating frames into sections in separate boxes, away from the hive stand? Leave say an hour and the flying bees will return to the hive leaving your separate sections with fewer bees to check through. The quiet/calm section would most likely contain the queen. Any running around demented or humming loudly are probably the sections that have realised the lady is not with them.

Laying workers - how long since queenless? Likely laying workers have never left the colony, so you could try dumping all the bees from the hive about 25m or more from the hive stand and hope no laying workers know the way back. Unite the bees which return to the hive and hope for the best.

Those with more experience of these matters may be able to give you better advice or the chances of success with the laying worker method. Luckily I have never got into that situation yet.

But do we kill off the many drone cells?

Not going to do you much good at this time of the year are they?. The bees will soon sort it out, I suspect, if all goes well.

Regards, RAB
 

MJBee 

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Fork out 100 drone larvae at the pink eye stage and check for varroa - more than 10% infested means treatment.
 

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