I have one strong hive in a deep and two shallows, and two new homeless queens. I want to de-queen the hive and the next day add one caged queen to the deep and the other to the two shallows, with an excluder in between. Will this work as a two queen hive, or do I need a honey super or two between the queens to prevent fighting?
You will need two excluders. If you have wood bound ones you can put them directly on top of each other. Otherwise you'll have to had a super between. The queens will kill each other if they can reach each other, which they can do when they are simply on opposite sides of one excluder.
I set up my first two-queen colony last weekend and I don't think I like it. First, because my hives are on 20" stands (we have problems with flooding on occasion), it's way too tall. I have to stand in the wagon to work the hive. The order from the bottom up is SBB, brood box, queen excluder, super, super, queen excluder, imirie shim, brood box, queen excluder, imirie shim, super (this is per the article that appears in this month's Bee Culture). I have no landing board at the imirie shims and all the bees tend to use the bottom board to come & go and it gets pretty crowded there. I can't figure out how to install a landing board at the imirie shim except by means of a wedge between the woodenware, but then the wedge leaves an opening around the sides--just stuff them with grass or something? Any thoughts or suggestions anyone has will be most appreciated.
Since the sun actually came out today, I'm going to give it a shot, I'm going to use one shallow between the two brood boxes, and have holes drilled in all the boxes instead of shims. I also just use cinder blocks as stands, so I'm hoping the height will stay manageable. My bees have never showed much interest in openings other than the bottom either, but I figure once the brood nest gets going in the upper box that'll probably change.
I had a 2-queen vertical hive, but it was too much work and too many bees to check brood chambers. So I built a 3-box long (48 3/4 inches) hive per MB's suggestions. The end boxes are the brood chambers with queens. The middle boxes (actually column of boxes) are honey supers. The bottom entrance is in the middle box. As they fill supers (which they have started to do) I'll add another entrance about midway up the column.
Tia: IMO the normal Imiri shim entrance is way too small for the upper entrance. You can make an entrance by cutting 2 pieces of 3/4 X 3/4 inch wood 21 1/2 inches long and put these under the top brood chamber with 1 1/2 inches sticking out. Then cut a piece 14 3/4 inches long to put under the back between the two long pieces. Cut a 16 1/4 inch long 1 1/2 inch wide piece and nail/glue it under the two protruding ends. Now you have an entrance with a landing board across the width of the top brood chamber.
OR if you don't want to do all of this just cut out a few inches of the Imirie shim.
I'll post some pictures of my long 2-queen hive sometime this week.
I've stated my opinion before. But IMO running a two queen hive is more work and no more honey than running two one queen hives. Also running a vertical hive they get way too tall even on a low stand. And working a hive that strong even when they are gentle is a bit intimidating. They can get very worked up very quickly.
But if I were to do it again, I'd build a box three boxes long and cut grooves in the sides and cut an excluder to divide it into thirds with the excluders and put the queens on the outsides and the supers in the middle. If it got too tall you could always throw an excluder on the outside boxes and make three stacks of supers, but I think it would be nice to keep the brood nests accessible without moving supers.
Now you tell me! I read the article about two queen colonies in Bee Culture and found it interesting. Then an oldtimer at our meetings suggested I try it since that hive was huge and I didn't want any more hives (I've gone from two to six in one year--I only wanted two, but I got 3 swarms and a "gift" hive from a friend who went out of business). So how to I undo what I did two weeks ago? Can I just take the top half off and place it directly alongside the original hive, switching them every couple of days to even out the number of bees in each hive?
I have heard tell of hives that naturally have two queens, mother and daughter that didn't kill each other but laid eggs even side by side.
I think Simon Martin is one of the folks who has observed this.
If you made a hive queenless and took two caged queens and set them face to face but with enough safe distance between them do you think its possible you could train them to tolerate each other? It might be worth a try, and I might even try it myself when I have enough hives to not worry about weakening one during this sort of experiment.
[This message has been edited by Scot Mc Pherson (edited April 27, 2004).]
>I have heard tell of hives that naturally have two queens, mother and daughter that didn't kill each other but laid eggs even side by side.
I've seen it. It's not that unusual, but usually the older one dissapears by late fall.
>If you made a hive queenless and took two caged queens and set them face to face but with enough safe distance between them do you think its possible you could train them to tolerate each other?
No, but the closer they are related the better your chances are. IMO two unrealted ones are not going to work.
>It might be worth a try, and I might even try it myself when I have enough hives to not worry about weakening one during this sort of experiment.
I think you're better off to create an artifical supercedere by making part of the hive queenless long enough they start queen cells and then reuniting before she emerges.
I've done it accidently by putting the queen in the botom box with tempty small cell comb with an exlcluder and all the brood above and they raised a new queen above the excluder since there was no queen in the brood nest, but the other one was laying in the box below.
But these scenarios are all mother/daughter combinations. I haven't seen siblings do it that I know of without making it a two queen hive with excluders to keep them from harming each other.