Diagnosing the Presence of Laying Workers

Diagnosing the Presence of Laying Workers


When you find a colony where there is only developing Drone Brood, you have to make a management decision on how to proceed. The situation you have is that either the Queen has failed and is still running around laying only Drone, or Laying workers have developed.


With a Failed Queen, this is an easy fix, find the Failed Queen, kill her, boost with some Brood and Bees if required, and Requeen.


If Laying Workers have developed, then it is going to be very difficult to save the colony, and successfully introduce a new Queen.


Laying Workers develop when a colony has become hopelessly Queenless, and I almost consider it a terminal condition, and in general it is usually best to shake the bees out, and start again. Even if you bring in brood and bees from another hive, the introduction is still going to be risky. It is almost impossible to introduce a Queen into a colony where laying workers have developed with doing a radical remake.



A sure way to diagnose Laying Workers is to check out any Queen cups on the margins- bottom bars generally. The presence of multiple eggs laid in these cups is proof positive of Laying Workers, and you need look no further.





These cups are almost always present with Laying Workers, and the Multiple Eggs, and even clusters of eggs, with eggs laid on cells walls instead of in the bottom of cells, is all the proof you need, so don’t waste any more time looking for a Failed Queen that just isn’t there.