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Why do worker bees lay eggs and how to fix it

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

A laying worker bee is a worker bee that lays unfertilized eggs, usually in the absence of a queen bee. Only drones develop from the eggs of laying worker bees. A beehive cannot survive with only a laying worker bee.

Laying workers in honey bee colonies occur when worker bees begin laying eggs due to a lack of a queen or proper pheromones. This can be a challenging situation to remedy, but there are a few potential solutions that may help:

  1. Introduce a new queen: The most effective way to address laying workers is to introduce a new queen to the colony. This can be done by purchasing a queen from a reputable breeder or by allowing the colony to raise its own queen from a queen cell.

  2. Combine the colony with another hive: Another option is to combine the laying worker colony with a healthy, queen-right colony. This can be done by placing the laying worker colony on top of the queen-right colony and allowing the two to merge.

  3. Stimulate egg laying: In some cases, laying workers can be induced to stop laying eggs if the colony is stimulated to produce queen pheromones. This can be done by introducing a frame of open brood from a healthy colony, which will release queen pheromones and encourage the laying workers to stop laying.

  4. Start a new colony: If none of the above solutions work, starting a new colony with a package of bees or a nucleus colony may be necessary.

It's important to address laying workers as soon as possible to prevent the colony from declining further. If you're unsure about how to proceed, consider consulting with a local beekeeping association or an experienced beekeeper for guidance.

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