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Drone laying queen

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Scout Bee

Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 358
Location: UK Cornwall, Falmouth

PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:21 pm    Post subject: Drone laying queen Reply with quote

Today I have found that my swarm (8th May)in a National has a drone laying queen or drone laying workers? I am not sure how to tell the difference. Today we are collecting a swarm in a cardboard box and picking it up tonight. Is it possible to augment this small drone laying colony with the new swarm - and how should I go about it please?
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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bridget

Apologies if this reply is too late for your situation.

The colony with the laying workers/drone laying queen will not accept a new queen. The general advice is to shake/brush all the bees out onto a sheet some distance away. The workers will return to the hive and leave the offending layers on the sheet. In theory you can then requeen. I have not had success with this method on the few occasions that I have used it although I did have apparent laying workers on the sheet....whether I missed some or some flew back I do not know.

Anyway, what I would suggest is moving your drone laying hive, some distance away (40+ feet) and place the swarm in a bait hive on the old site. The foragers that are left from the drone layer colony should return to the old site in the absence of a trigger to re orientate ie no foliage across the entrance, and boost the swarm without being any risk to the queen (assuming it is queen right). The laying workers/drone laying queen will stay with their brood in the old hive and eventually die out.
Having said that, the bees from the 8th May swarm will be getting very near the end of their lives anyway and will not contribute much to the new swarm, so it may not be worth the effort to do anything. There should at least be a little honey in that hive as they will have had very little brood to feed.

Best wishes

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Scout Bee

Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 358
Location: UK Cornwall, Falmouth

PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Barbara for your helpful encouragement. In desperate need of a shower now!

I checked through the hive better today and with glasses. I could make out the odd single egg. Drone brood on 4 sides of 2 frames. We caught what we thought may have been a small queen in a queen clip? Most of the bees appeared to be drones and few workers proportionally. As I wanted that hive (running short due to numbers of swarms collected), we moved the hive 40 yds and shook them onto a sheet and sprinkled with fondant icing sugar. Sounds simple doesn't it. What they don't tell you is the bees cling to everything! Flying everywhere too, quite a long time to clear the box, floor and stand and us! We quickly reassembled the hive with loads of bees flying back. Then we tipped the cardboard box in and sprinkled with icing sugar and reassembled with frames. Bees were fanning at the entrance. I have put some sugar syrup above. Let us hope it is successful!

Last year you might remember we united 2 weak colonies using fondant icing sugar and it was successful.
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