Abnormal Conditions Part III – Laying Workers, Sacbrood

Abnormal Conditions Part III – Laying Workers, Sacbrood

[music] Ok so today we kind of
have an abnormal colony condition again, it seems
to be what I do most in these videos, but anyways
we have a condition called laying workers
here and it’s exactly that. Previous in this kind of
colony’s history something has gone wrong with the
queen the queen has failed and that can happen
for a whole wack of reasons, so we won’t
quite go into that but at the end of the
day the queen has died and what’s now happened
is those worker bees have failed to replace her
and with that there is no brood, no queen
laying any eggs so the workers have been
broodless for an amount of time and after
a certain amount of time the workers then
start to develop their own ovaries and
they don’t quite have the plumbing that queens
do so they can’t go out and mate and basically
they start developing their own ovaries, because
they can’t mate they lay unfertilized eggs
which become drones and basically this colony
turns from a queen right colony into mostly
workers, into mostly drones and then peters
out from there. So it’s kind of an end of a
line situation for your bees and your bee colony
there, but we’re going to go in and see kind of
the signs and symptoms and afterwards we’ll
show you what you can
do with that. So we’ll head on
into this colony we do treat it like a regular
colony we smoke it, take the lid off, the inner cover, put that at the front, give
them a couple puffs of smoke, now we’ll
get right on in. So I’ll skip that second
frame because there is not much
activity on that one. I’m pulling out the
first frame we are already seeing
pretty much everything that says
laying workers. So you can see
just the population of adult bees are mostly
drones, so this has kind of already gone on
for a while where the worker bees have laid a
lot of drones, raise those and then they’ve hatched
and kind of become a part of the population. You can see here too, this
is about this is one of the only few drones here
that is actually of a regular size, so this one
right below my finger has hatched out of an
actual drone sized cell and as it walks by other
drones, get a good look at just how small these
other drones are compared to this big boy
and the reason for that is again these laying workers,
they can’t mate, but they think they can
and so they are laying unfertilized eggs in
what should be worker sized cells, cells for
fertilized eggs, so a lot of these drones are a
lot smaller just because they have come from those
worker sized cells. And in the middle here
you can actually see where that is going
on, so these cells are raised it kind of
looks very rigid and they are kind of little
mountains here or there mountain ridges
and that’s basically again because the drones
are larger than the worker bees they’ve had
to draw those out, so we are seeing
lots of that here. A couple cool things you
can see some of these larva have died and are
starting to turn a little off colour, again another
big sign and symptom of laying workers and
the reason for that is as you can see on
this frame there’s not a lot of worker bees and
lots of drones the worker bees are what
take care of those larva, so these larvas aren’t
getting the attention they need and they are
starting to die of probably starvation,
something like that just neglect so that’s another
good sign, symptom of the laying workers there. I’ll flip this over, see what’s going on,
but pretty much the same
as the other side. So we’ll go into the next
frame, should be more going on, we’re kind
of getting now more into the middle
of the cluster. So here we go again just lots
of drones, small drones. We are seeing a lot
more drone laid in worker-sized cells. Here is something
kind of interesting. So they even though
they have gone into that full laying worker mode
you can see right here a bunch of queen
cups which they are trying to raise
queens out of. It’s a bit of a last ditch
effort, there are more than likely drone larva in
there, they are just kind of going through
the motions and trying the best they can to
salvage the situation, but that’s what’s
happening here they will cap those out, but a queen
will not hatch out of there. And the only last
thing to note is, this is always a tricky
one to talk about because it’s not so
much if you see eggs laid as if they were
laid by a worker that it means it’s laying
workers, it’s more of a you see eggs laid like the
patch down in here. So a queen laid egg
should be almost directly at the bottom looking
back up at you, but a lot of these worker
laid eggs are going to be laid at the side of
the comb and there is going to be multiple
eggs per cell, so that is something to
kind of raise your attention. There are other instances
like in the springtime when the queen
is really ready to go if there is a weak colony
sometimes she will lay more than one egg
per cell, so just seeing eggs laid in this
orientation and this number doesn’t mean 100%
that you have laying and workers, you have to go and
see those other signs and symptoms like the
drone larva and the worker sized cells and
all that sort of stuff. So we’ll get a good
little shot of that and again you can see
some other things like some drones that are
starting to hatch out and are not making it and
just again because nobody is very few workers and
not very many of them are able to take care
of them on their way out. Turn and we’ve seen
both sides of that, so set that one aside
and I’ll just have one more little peek at
the next frame see what’s
going on there. Oh and here we
actually are able to see so here is a queen cell
that has hatched, there is a hole chewed
out right through the bottom of it, and a
hole through the side, so this obviously happened
a while ago, the queen hatched out and
now just to get rid of it the bees were
starting to chew down the sides and tear
that cell apart. So obviously they tried
something hatched out but that didn’t work and
then it just progressed to this point of
laying workers. So that’s kind of very
interesting again, but again just the same sort
of laying worker pattern. So the only other one
sign and symptom that unfortunately we
didn’t have here because this wasn’t a very strong
colony to begin with, sometimes this laying
worker pattern you’ll see it in the honey supers
especially at the bottom, that bottom honey super
that’s right on top of that queen excluder, pretty
much any time you see this sort of thing above
the queen excluder that totally you can rule
out a drone laying queen and go straight to
laying workers. They will continue that
laying worker pattern all throughout the
colonies and so worker bees can get through
that queen excluder, but just unfortunately
this was a little weaker so we’re not able to
show you that. The last thing to kind
of talk about here is what you can
do with this. Again, this colony here
is a bit of a lost cause, you can introduce as many
queens as you want to it, they are not going to accept
a queen, so when we have a colony like this the
best thing to do is either take this colony
away to the edge of the woods or something
like that and just shake out all
these bees. The workers who have
developed their ovaries are a little heavier and
stuff like the theory the thinking is they’ll kind
of be left where you shook them and then
all the other good productive bees will be
able to fly back to the colony and get
back into it, but while you shake those out you
bring back the colony and introduce a nuc that
you made up from another colony. So put a nuc in
there with good, proper queen laid
brood and either bring the queen with it or
introduce a queen to that and that should kind
of solve that problem for that colony. So you are using this
colony and kind of keeping some of
those bees that are part of that colony, but
you are having to introduce other bees to it
in order to kind of normalize it and make it worth
keep on going. And that’s our
laying workers. Hey guys so we
have another picture of sacbrood here,
which is another disease it’s a bit it’s a
stress disease, which you typically see in the
spring but normally your bee colonies as they
go through the year and get stronger and
healthier will grow out of this. If you do want
to take action the best thing to do is
requeen the colony and that typically kind
of resolves that. The picture you are
looking at is early stages of this sacbrood disease. As you can
see the larvas in the cell has kind of
traveled to the bottom of the cell and is curling
up through the middle of the cell and kind of
poking out to the other to the top of that
cell and that’s a typical sort of shape
of sacbrood, some say it’s like a shrine or
shoe with that curve. Another way to diagnose
that is just to pull that out with a pair of
tweezers or anything like that and grab that
and then you’ll see why they call it sacbrood, there
will be kind of a juicy part of the larva that
looks like a sac, everything is turned to
mush in the middle. Just another quick little
test if you are confused between this and some
sort of foulbrood is to stick a twig in there,
pull that out and hopefully you don’t see
any sort of ropy bits, and you can check that
out online what that should look like, but that
is sacbrood, something to notice but not
the biggest pest or disease out there.


13 thoughts on “Abnormal Conditions Part III – Laying Workers, Sacbrood”

  • UoG Honey Bee Research Centre says:

    Thank you to everyone for watching and supporting our videos! If you have any questions about our videos, please check out our list of FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS on our website, which can be found at http://www.uoguelph.ca/honeybee/videos-FAQs.shtml .

  • Great video– I've got 2 mean hives with laying workers –question : when I take the hive out to shake off …won't the drones fly back to original hive location? Thanks

  • Has anyone ever attempted to fertilize these worker eggs artificially ? This seems to be some kind of natural response to being "queenless"…….perhaps, at one time in history, workers could temporarily fill in for a queen ? What's the theory ?

  • I have what appears to be laying workers. I have lots of smaller drones and more capped drones on the way. However, the queen is present and also laying. It seems she isn’t a good queen. She’s a young queen but just doesn’t seem to have control over the colony or the eggs she’s laying. I am prepared to do what’s recommended in the video. Assuming I have to kill the queen myself, my question is how long should I wait to dump the colony after I’ve killed the queen? Should I kill the queen then wait 24 hrs or 48 hrs to dump the hive? Thank you for your help. Great video btw. Your videos have been a huge help overall to my fledgling bee operation.

  • Some of the capped cells in the laying worker colony were flat like normal worker brood, not mounded like drone brood. Could you explain why that is? I would have looked at this and assumed a poor or weakening queen, not necessarily a laying worker.

  • Rough And Wretched R.A.W. says:

    So with a colony that weak why shake them out? Why not shake all the bees off of just the nucs worth of useless frames and install the nuc directly in. The massive amount of drones can't attack the queen and I wouldn't think the nuc in that colony would be over powered.

  • Tonganoxie Split Apiary says:

    Great knowledge and info, but please please work on not saying a a a all the time. Very hard for me to listen with this pattern of speech

  • Thanks for all your videos they are really helpful . Do you have any idea what to do with a poisoned hive. I have one that got poisoned last week and i am still seeing dead bee's (50 per day ) and workers in distress. If they would stop dying i was going to combine it with another hive but i guess i might have to throw it all out if they dont. https://youtu.be/yuVmT_wKoEE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *