View Full Version : Two Queen System

07-22-2006, 02:06 PM
Hello, I would like to find out more information about Two Queen System (honey production and more) for the new page of my web site.

Thank you.

Michael Bush
07-22-2006, 05:09 PM
Two Queen hives

I will preface this with the fact that I’ve done this and think it is USUALLY easier to just run two one queen hives. The biggest problem for me is that you have a super hive with supers stacked up to the clouds and bees everywhere and to do anything with the queens requires moving and disturbing every box. All those bees can be very intimidating to a beginner. I think to be practical it requires a system that does not require moving any boxes to get to either queen.

That said, the concept is that two queens will lay twice as many eggs and build up twice as fast in the spring. More workers, more honey.

Here is my design. I would set up a horizontal hive that is three boxes long. (48 ¾”) with the entrances on the long side. Make it so you can open or close an entrance on any third of the box on any of the two long sides.

The box needs two grooves into which a piece of a queen excluders fits to divide it into thirds. This allows a queen on each end and supers in the middle.

You can use any of several methods to get the hive to accept two queens, but they are separated enough to not fight and you have two brood nests and one stack of supers in the middle. You can purchase queens, leave the hive queenless for 24 hours and split the brood nest into the two brood boxes with a caged queen in each and try for simultaneous introduction.

If you raise your own queens, you could put a virgin on each end and hope they fly back to the right hive when they are done mating.

You can split the brood into the two brood boxes and divide the hive with a partition, instead of an excluder to make one side queenless and then remove the partition when the queen cells are doing well on the queenless side. It is an art and you need to practice and accept that it may not work the way you think the first few times.

The best time to get two queens laying is early in the spring. The earlier the better. During the honey flow you might be better off to split the hive and put all of the open brood in one of them and most of the bees in the other to up the production in that hive because lots of brood rearing DURING a honey flow does not help production.

Snelgrove had a plan for using one hive to stock the other that was quite ingenious and perhaps some way could be figure out to do that in a more horizontal configuration.


07-23-2006, 04:45 AM
Thank you Michael, but please read two statements below. Boris

"The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a two-queen/beehive management system on colony population, honey production, and profitability. Ninety two experimental colonies (46 colonies with one queen and 46 with two queens) were established in the Mexican high plateau region. The following variables were estimated: honey yields, cost per kilogram of honey produced, bee populations, and beehive weights. Colonies with two queens yielded 101.2% more honey than colonies with one single queen (53.2 ± 2.4 vs 26.4 ± 1.8 kg, P less 0.01). The production cost per kg of honey was US$ 0.86 and US$ 1.07 for double- and single-queen colonies, respectively. The lower production cost in the two-queen colonies was due to savings in labor, transportation, and feeding. Two-queen colonies had 100 % more bees, and they were 100 % heavier than single-queen colonies (P less 0.01). Significant (more 70 %) correlations were found between population, colony weight, and honey production (P less 0.01). Hive weight was the best predictor of honey production (r= 0.94, P less 0.01). The best results were obtained with the two-queen system. Therefore, two queens per colony are recommended. Also, weighing the hive during early bloom is recommended as a technique to predict honey yields for either research, or genetic breeding purposes."
From: www.tecnicapecuaria.org (http://www.tecnicapecuaria.org)

"Two queen hives working on good conditions have produced amazing amounts of honey for us when stimulated by feeding protein cakes on a good Yapunyah flow. Our two queen hives consist of 2 x 5 frame units in a ten frame hive body, the centre divide has a 50 mm metal divider strip placed on top of the divider to keep the bees and queens away from each other at the centre. We prefer the queens to be related as we believe this makes them more tolerant of each other. The best yield we have achieved using the two queen system was 300 kg per hive from 120 two queen hives."
From: http://www.honeybee.com.au/Library/ca.html

07-23-2006, 06:20 AM
Michael posed the proper reply Boris. There are serious problems with a 2 queen colony. Countering this is a gain in production efficiency.

A 2 queen colony can achieve heights of 16 feet or more with supers stacked up. You could use a square hive to help reduce this problem.

Manipulations on a 2 queen colony must be confined to establishing them properly in the spring, then do nothing except add supers during the honey flow. This is not feasible in areas with a long drawn out season with spotty nectar flows over a period of 2 months or more. Said another way, a 2 queen system is effective when there is a single sharp flow.

Its impossible to separate the effect of queens for breeding purposes in a 2 queen system. In other words, one really good queen in a colony with a mediocre queen will be indistinguishable from a colony with 2 good queens. Translate this to mean that a 2 queen system is useful only for honey production, not for breeder selection.

Queens must be available at the proper time to set up the 2 queen units. In my case, thats March 20th. Its pretty hard for me to get good queens that early.

There's lots more information available, you've only scratched the tip of the iceberg.

From reading your webpage, it appears that you don't have experience running 2 queen colonies. The first thing to do is to try it out for your self!


[ July 23, 2006, 08:26 AM: Message edited by: Fusion_power ]

07-23-2006, 02:18 PM

Please click on the link below:
You can see my five-body hive. This is Two-Queen
System (Hive)...
I would like to collect more real comparative results for the Two-Quenn System.

07-24-2006, 06:07 AM
The hive and the honey bee has considerable information regarding 2 queen system including the Powers studies on how much increase in the average year and complete instructions on set up. We run a yard of 2 queen hives every year. It is a great boon in average or good years, it can be a big detriment in poor nectar years. Another downside is large winter cluster requiring much feed and attention. They are difficult management wise as Michael indicated. We've had years when we actually had to use a step ladder to harvest the top couple supers of honey.