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Laying worker with queen cups

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zimbrowski 

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Hey guys, here's a baffling one. 4 weeks ago one of my hives swarmed taking the 1 year old queen with them. I managed to retrieve the buggers from across the road and place them in a new hive. The queen was very much in evidence during the whole process (lots of clustering around her and after shaking half of them into the hive, the others raced on up the ramp after her). After a week I inspected and found bees drawing comb very quickly and 3 empty queen cups. Nothing else apart from very angry little ladies.

3 weeks later, they have since drawn out 5 frames and are filling them with stores and pollen. There was no laying until about a week ago when grubs and eggs began to appear. I found another queen cup and destroyed it. Upon further inspection I discovered that all the capped brood was drone brood in a pepper pot formation which indicates a laying worker (damn). Today I found a further 3 queen cups, 2 opened and 1 intact. They are still very hostile to say the least.

Are the workers hopelessly trying to produce queens out of drone brood (which I thought didn't happen)? Or is there some divine miracle about to occur and furnish me with a new queen?

Anyone?

Thanks

Zim
 
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Jimmy 

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By queen cups do you mean queen cells?

I have something similar going on in one of my hives at the moment, has been for the last 2-3 weeks.
 

zimbrowski 

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Sorry Jimmy, yep I mean cells. Have you any sign of a queen?
 

Jimmy 

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My situation was after an AS. I can't decide between a drone laying queen who's also a bit useless at laying properly (evidence is all one egg per cell in the bottom of the cell) or a laying worker (egg pattern is erratic across the brood frames).
I've searched for the queen without success and given them a frame of eggs - nothing doing.
I kept the old queen in a nuc. She's doing really well!:banghead:
 

zimbrowski 

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Me neither, I seem to have 1 egg per cell, in an erratic pattern.. just to confuse me I reckon. Throw in the queen cells and I would have thought it would indicate a DLQ.
 

Midland Beek 

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I would say your analysis of what has gone on is perhaps wrong.

The swarm you collected was perhaps not a prime swarm. Instead, it was more likely a second swarm (containing a virgin queen) which left your hive a week or so after the prime swarm.

Virgin queen fails to mate and turns DLQ.

Was your original queen marked?
 

oliver90owner 

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I'm with MB here. Not as lot of useful information, from the poster, to go on.

The queen in a prime swarm should start laying as soon as the comb is drawn. A virgin queen may take a week or ten days, and it could be considerably longer.

I would be looking for the queen with a view to immediate removal followed by replacement with some eggs on a frame from your other colony.

Jimmy is spot on with the DLQ diagnosis. Neat laying of one egg per cell, all eggs placed in the correct position. Forget the pattern - she is a dud after all!

I might be seiving the bees through a Q/E to find the queen (if not too small and can get through), or moving the hive and replacing it with another box (so the flying bees return to the current position) and then looking for her.

More than one way to skin the proverbial cat. But get on with it; time is bees.

Regards, RAB
 

zimbrowski 

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That would make much more sense, but I have my hives above a pub in London and considering the mayhem they caused when they swarmed (drinkers and diners running for cover:blush5:), I would have thought an earlier prime would have attracted loads of attention. Also, the weather had been freezing (enough to kill all my courgette plants) for a couple of weeks up until that weekend and the hive that they swarmed from was still packed full of bees.
The queen was really lightly marked and could sometimes be fairly tough to find, so I didn't worry that I hadn't seen her. The girls became really feisty after a couple of days, so I just fed them and let them do their thing.

Maybe you are right, it does make a lot of sense, I really hope that I have a dodgy virgin that can be replaced rather than a laying worker because I sure can't dump my bees out on the street in the hope that she can't find her way back to the hive.

thanks for your input.
 

zimbrowski 

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Thanks MB, Jimmy and RAB. I'll get on with finding and replacing her.

Zim
 

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