Drone laying queen or workers - what to do next

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Jon.21

House Bee
Joined
Aug 13, 2021
Messages
127
Reaction score
64
Location
Derby, UK
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
4
Had a quick look yesterday in 1 out of my 4 hives. Reason being as i
was suspicious that it was behaving different to all the others at the entrance and there were a few drones. Was also 14 degrees and in a weeks time I’m away for 3 weeks.
It’s on 14x12 and around 7 seams of bees. It was a swarm caught in a bait hive last year and it started off well with eggs within a few days and worker brood etc but then it tried to re queen a couple of times whilst queen was still there and I left them to it and didn’t inspect after sept hoping they would sort themselves out out.
So there were about 5 frames with drone brood spotted around and and no worker brood. Couldent see many eggs but there was sealed drone brood and drone larvae dotted across the frames.
Im away in a week for 3 weeks so I have a week to do anything.
Any thoughts ? Reading up on it general consensus is that if it’s early in the season you shake out but if it was later in the season it’s worth trying to save them with frame of eggs from
Another colony.
 
Had a quick look yesterday in 1 out of my 4 hives. Reason being as i
was suspicious that it was behaving different to all the others at the entrance and there were a few drones. Was also 14 degrees and in a weeks time I’m away for 3 weeks.
It’s on 14x12 and around 7 seams of bees. It was a swarm caught in a bait hive last year and it started off well with eggs within a few days and worker brood etc but then it tried to re queen a couple of times whilst queen was still there and I left them to it and didn’t inspect after sept hoping they would sort themselves out out.
So there were about 5 frames with drone brood spotted around and and no worker brood. Couldent see many eggs but there was sealed drone brood and drone larvae dotted across the frames.
Im away in a week for 3 weeks so I have a week to do anything.
Any thoughts ? Reading up on it general consensus is that if it’s early in the season you shake out but if it was later in the season it’s worth trying to save them with frame of eggs from
Another colony.
Sometimes I find adding a frame (once) is not enough to encourage queen cells when laying workers have been around for a while. It sounds like they haven't had a queen for some months?
 
If it's laying workers there's probably little you can do with it (unless you want to experiment), so probably shake out.
If it's a DLQ then I guess you could remove her and unite with a queenright colony if there are a useful number of bees.
 
Looks like there’s a few young bees in there and it’s one of the most active colonies I’ve got but not sure how long it’s been like that. Should have mentioned that I spotted a couple of open queen cells with royal jelly in as well when doing the inspection . i Assume they are trying anything to try and raise a new queen but with unfertilised eggs.
 
couple of open queen cells with royal jelly ... raise a new queen but with unfertilised eggs
Fairly pointless giving a frame of good brood at this time because even if it shut off the LW instinct and they were they to raise a queen on worker brood, there are no mature drones about (apart from the ones in the hive) and the weather is far from conducive to effective mating.

Shake out now while the weather is warm and they can fly to a new home.

PS: varroa may well have multiplied over winter in the drone brood, so give the brood frames to chickens or burn them.
 
If they are trying to raise QCs personally I'd be tempted to give them a frame with eggs and hope they succeed.
A forlorn hope at this time of the year, just prolonging the inevitable and wasting bees that could be useful in other colonies struggling with the spring buildup.
 
A forlorn hope at this time of the year, just prolonging the inevitable and wasting bees that could be useful in other colonies struggling with the spring buildup.
It's a low chance admittedly, but a couple of weeks to emergence, then a couple of weeks to get mated gets us to mid April, should be some drones around by then. Always interesting to search for the limits of the possible! Depends on individual circumstances of course.
 
It's a low chance admittedly, but a couple of weeks to emergence, then a couple of weeks to get mated gets us to mid April, should be some drones around by then
and by then the remaining workers are totally buggered and even if the queen gets mated there's another month before you have new bees to start any serious brood raising
 
Around 5 days after virgin emerges - orientation flight. Ideal mating flights between 7–16 days after emerging, if the weather is good and drones are about. Then starts laying – about 3 or 4 days after mating, but sometimes its later.
 
Looks like there’s a few young bees in there and it’s one of the most active colonies I’ve got but not sure how long it’s been like that. Should have mentioned that I spotted a couple of open queen cells with royal jelly in as well when doing the inspection . i Assume they are trying anything to try and raise a new queen but with unfertilised eggs.
I'd say so. Here is a laying worker frame I found a few days ago as an example. Looks like a queen cell underway (from the drone brood).
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20230314_094522397_BURST002.jpg
    IMG_20230314_094522397_BURST002.jpg
    1.9 MB · Views: 2
I had similar situation with a drone laying queen yesterday. Already shaken out and put boxes into storage. A no hoper
 
If it's the OP's only 2 hives it may be worth a try.....
Every early queen I have had (raised by bees) have failed, some not getting mated, some within a few weeks.
As JBM said, getting a queen mated is one thing, having a descent workforce of the right age to look after the brood another.
 
If I had LWs colony of a decent size now I'd be inclined to put them on top of a queenright colony with a bee-proof mesh between them and an upper entrance, put some ocimene on the frames & leave for a couple of weeks. If no new eggs after that from the LWs unite. And 🤞
 

Latest posts

Back
Top