Shaking out laying workers – Bee Vlog #146 – Aug 2, 2014


Okay, I spent several minutes looking for the queen and didn’t find her, but I did see something interesting I saw several cases of workers entering cells abdomen first that’s their tail section and then emerging as if they were laying an egg This is only behavior normally seen by the queen When workers enter cells they typically go in head-first because they’re either taking care of brood or they’re cleaning a cell, or they’re inspecting the cell I’m seeing several cases of workers going in tail first spending a few seconds in there and then coming out, and I look in that cell and I find eggs Now I don’t see any developing larvae which means the other workers are probably taking out these eggs or this is just a new phenomenon that just started and I just caught it in the early stages I also see several queen cups…let me see if I can see this on camera a queen cup is right there and they have multiple eggs inside Again, something not normally seen in a queen-right hive. You’ll see queen cups… but you won’t have multiple eggs inside. There’s another queen cup (Let’s see if I can see it on camera) Another queen cup there. Queen cups are a normal thing, but you don’t normally see… See this one here, I see 3 eggs in there That’s not typical Now the way to deal with laying workers…(there’s a yellow jacket…little bugger) There’s several ways to try to deal with laying workers One is to take some open brood from another hive and put it in and keep doing that until they raise a new queen It may take a few weeks for them to even start raising a queen and it will take another month for that queen to become mated and this time of year the drones are starting to get kicked out, so there really won’t be any drones available for any queen even in a month, to mate So that’s not an option. The only other option left to me is to shake all these bees out on the ground and take away this hive and let them reintegrate into some other hive Some of them won’t reintegrate, they’ll just die and the others might be accepted into the hives But there’s really no saving a hive like this at this time of year, it’s queenless with laying workers. If there weren’t laying workers and they were queenless, I could just combine them with another hive but I’m afraid that the laying workers may kill the queen where I combine them When I had the nucs here I had them reversed So the bees that I shook out had their entrance on this side But this nuc has it’s entrance over on this side. So these bees that got shaken out think this is their home, because it was right next door, it’s in the approximate location but there’s no entrance on this side. It should be interesting to see what happens. It’s been a little over 24 hours since I shook out the hive that had the laying workers And here’s what remains of the cluster that has gathered on the back side of the neighboring nuc The cluster was twice as big last night when I came by to check on them So, hour by hour it gets smaller and smaller as the bees leave this cluster to go and find another hive to move into Things are looking good at the other hive in the front… There’s no fighting or anything going on A lot of bees out front fanning, it’s a hot day today and they’re taking advantage of that top ventilation And the neighbor hive, things are looking good No fighting there Now over here are the remains of the nuc that I shook out and dismantled because…I left these here for the day because there were several bees that just did not want to abandon the comb No matter how much a shook and swept it they’d just come right back to immediately So I left that here for them to kind of give up on it Here are the bees that just won’t give up Naturally, what honey there was on this comb has been robbed out You can see that on this wax that’s been all chewed up That’s how you know when it’s been robbed. This side didn’t have as much honey. I turned that comb upside-down in hopes that they would abandon it more quickly On the shaded side – on the opposite side that we can’t see – there’s actually another cluster, but it’s very small It’s about the size of what we see there on the wood But this is most likely the remains of the group of bees that were the laying workers because they don’t know where their home used to be they were the bees that hadn’t left and become foragers yet So they don’t know where their hive is located So they are technically lost They may or may not go to seek out a new home We’ll just have to see what happens to them Okay, it’s been 4 days and there is still a small cluster of bees hanging around on the backside of this hive in the area that used to be their front entrance. They just don’t seem to be getting a clue. It will probably take a few more days still for them to finally integrate into some other hive Over here on the old equipment it’s been sitting out for 4 days There is still a small group of bees here on the comb that just won’t leave it alone I’m going to have to shake this off so that I can put this away because I don’t want to leave this out anymore The ants are starting to get curious and I don’t want the ants leaving any scent trails all over this And this yellow jacket is trying to pick off bees. So that’s about what you’d expect to see when you shake out a hive of bees and some of them just don’t know where to go They kind of hang around and get lost Eventually, it might take about a week or so, they might integrate into the hives But that’s just one solution for having a problem with laying workers When I posted the last video where I discovered this problem I got a really good comment from one of my viewers This is a brilliant solution and I’m really disappointed that I didn’t think of it I’ve done a lot of reading on what to do about laying workers but never experienced the problem until just a few days ago And when it came time to do something about it, in my mind, I’m thinking about all the things I’ve read and this was never one of the options, but to me it makes perfect sense. When, you can either add more brood for them to raise a new queen or you can shake them out or you can try to combine them with another hive I never thought of kind of combining 2 of those solutions I didn’t think that once the laying workers are suppressed you just combine them with another hive, it’s brilliant! So I think the next time I have this problem I’m definitely going to try that suggestion.

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