16905Re: [Beekeeping] A Beekeeping Question! Requeening a laying worker hive
- Feb 8, 2013In general the procedure tends to work, but I think it's more because of the significant disruption to the hive rather than the wisdom I've seen quoted. ie. Laying workers can't fly or that they have only left the hive one time so they don't know where it is.
Why couldn't a laying worker fly. A laying queen certainly can and they are much heavier. They also stand a good chance to find the hive if taken out of the hive and released, even if they have only been out of the hive once.
In a normally functioning hive, the queens pheromones inhibit workers from laying eggs, but they don't prevent it entirely. Studies have shown something like a 0.01% incidence of laying workers in a normal queenright hive. This doesn't sound like much, but can mean 2 or more laying workers are in nearly every hive. You would never notice their activity though as a healthy hive removes bad eggs and the few eggs a single laying worker or two lays will be dwarfed by the queens normal production. That said there have been some beekeepers observing a laying worker in a queen right hive (I've even seen it once), and more beekeepers have seen signs of it such as a few drone cells in honey supers above an excluder with no real indication the queen got though by the lack of a normal pattern.
In the absence of the queen, the number of laying works tends to increase significantly after a couple weeks in general, though I've seen hives that have significant laying workers within a week and other hives that never seems to develop laying workers even when queenless for many weeks.
On 2/8/2013 10:46 AM, karon wrote:
It has been a while but I remember this procedure! I have heard good things about it. and it makes sense. Unlike foragers, that laying worker has only been out of the hive one time. A MUCH easier way to do away with her than trying to find her and kill her!!
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>>> I have yet been able to re-queen a hive with a laying worker…….
The procedure that I understand to work well is to take the hive about 200 to 300 feet away. Shake out ALL the bees. Then move the empty hive back to its original location. For some reason it seems that the laying workers are unable to find their way back to the old location, You then requeen the hive after about a day after the above operation. I would delay the release of the queen for about two additional days, but that is my personal thought. A way of doing that without disrupting the hive to any degree is to fix the queen cage in place horizontally with the candy end facing one end of the hive. Replace the current plug with a bee-proof plug attached to a strong fishing line. String that string from the new plug so that it lays outside the hive between two hive baxes (hive bodies, supers, a combination of the two, or between a hive bax and the inner cover, so that the other end of the line lays outside the hive and has enough length to be able to grab and pull strongly. After placement into the hive for two days, go back to the hive and pull the end of the fishing line which has been left dangling outside the hive. That will pull the plug on the queen cage and allow the bees to chew their way through the candy and thence release the queen. This would give the bees four to five days to acclimate to the new queen. Make sure that the bees have access to the queen through the screen if you use a wooden queen cage. A week to ten days after you pull the plug, go back into the hive and remove the queen cage and check for eggs. If you see eggs the way they should be laid by a queen, then you are good-to-go.
Mike in LA
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