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  1. #1
    Jason G in Tennessee Guest

    Question

    I have read about it, but want to do it this year.
    A two-queen hive with an excluder in between.
    Concerning entrances...Do I need to have the top entrance bored into the 2nd brood chamber in the top section of the two hive set up and should it face the same direction as the bottom entrances in the lower half?
    Could I just put all of my honey supers on top or do I have to put them on top of each section of bees?
    Jason

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,935

    Post

    I've done two queen hives and the biggest problem is the shear size of it and the difficulties manipulating it. If it was me I'd do this by one of these methods:

    One method is to build a box three boxes long (48 3/4" x 19 7/8") and cut a groove in the sides to divide it into thirds with a metal queen excluder cut to fit the height of your box. Now you put one brood nest at one end and the other at the other end and stack all the supers in the middle. Use Migratory covers for the tops. Open just the middle up so all the bees come in the same main entrance. Put a notch in the cover or a hole in the top box so the drones can get out of the brood chambers. You can get to the brood nests on each end without lifting and it will be much shorter than a stacked up vertical two queen hive.

    The next is a variation on that method. Make a bottom board that is three boxes wide. Put an excluder on each end and stack up the boxes for he brood nests on each end. This will confine each queen to her brood chamber. Put an upper entrance of some kind on. A hole in the boxes, a notched cover whatever so that drones can get out of the brood chambers. This is basically the same arrangement with less communication because you don't have one long box for the bottom, but it uses more standard equipment, with the only odd piece the bottom board.

    I have done this several other methods, but these are the ones I'd recomend.

    Be prepared for a hive so strong that it's intimidating.

    Also try to set the queens up early, well in advance of the honey flow. It's not an advantage to have so many bees tied up caring for all that brood during the flow. It IS an advantage to have them making bees earlier FOR the flow.

    As far as entrances the concepts are simple. I would face ALL of them the same way, but you have to make sure the drones can get out of the brood chamber since they don't fit through the excluder, or they will die and clog up the excluders.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Bismarck, ND USA
    Posts
    514

    Post

    When I ran a few 2 queen hives this is how I did it, using standard equipment: I used a double screen board instead of an excluder between the 2 hives. The entrance to the top hive may be incorporated in the double screen, or a hole bored into the brood chamber. I think it's important to have the entrance of the top hive face the opposite direction of the bottom hive, to cut down on drifting. As Michael said, I also think it's important to get the hives set up early to get the populations at a maximum. I would combine the two hives at the start of the honey flow, so in essence you would have 1 monster colony capable of producing a very large honey crop.

    ------------------
    Gregg Stewart

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,864

    Post

    You know, you are managing two hives in one, and gathering a huge honeycrop. Sounds great. Why not just manage two hives, and gather two good honeycrops, with less the work.
    I have learnt from a beekeeper, who managed some of his hives as this on a commercial scale, and went back to single queen hives, just becasuse of the amount of extra work involved.

    Ian

  5. #5
    Jason G in Tennessee Guest

    Post

    How about some pictures or plans of those hives Michael?
    I am not sure how to make a screened divider like you are describing.
    Any pics or plans?
    THANKS!
    Jason

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Bismarck, ND USA
    Posts
    514

    Post

    Ian,

    Gotcha; like I said, I used to do this (with just a few hives), got to my current number of hives and found it wasn't worth it (for me). Someone with just a few hives might want to experiment with 2 queen hives.

    ------------------
    Gregg Stewart

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,935

    Post

    >How about some pictures or plans of those hives Michael?
    >I am not sure how to make a screened divider like you are describing.
    >Any pics or plans?

    I don't have one right now. The last time I ran a two queen hive, I came to the same conclusion that Ian expressed. It's actually less work to run two one queen hives and together they produce just as much.

    But I'm assuming this is an experiment you want to do.

    The divider I'm talking about is to make one long trough hive and cut a groove in the middle of where the edge of the middle super will land so that it is a horizontal queen excluder keeping the queens on their side of the hive. You take a standard metal excluder or take one out of a wood bound one and cut it to fit the height of your trough. You slide this in the groove so the trough is now divided into thirds (approximately) by the excluders. The workers can traverse from one end to the other freely but the queens cannot. The excluder has to go down tight against the bottom of course and be close enough to the top that a queen can't get through. So now you make three towers. The two outside ones are brood and the center one is honey. Like I said, you can also do this by just making a three box long bottom board and making three stacks of boxes with excluders under the outside ones.

    The concept is that you have two queens and two broodnests and the queens are seperated enough that they can't get to each other and there is enough communication that the worker bees think it's all one hive. The reason *I* have for the three towers is that my biggest problem with my first two queen hive was working it. It was huge and both broodnests were on the bottom so I had to move a lot of heavy supers to get to the brood nests and two queen hives require MORE manipulation, not less, and it's harder, not easier. So by having the brood nests where I don't have to move supers I can just open the brood nest to see how things are going or add supers or take supers and all of these are seperate stacks on the hive.

    The other thing I didn't like at the time was that the hive was intimidating. I don't think it would bother so much now, but I was a new beekeeper and I had never had a hive that strong. By the time you've moved all those supers, which are overflowing with bees, there are so many bees in the air that it's frightening. Then you finally get to the brood nest and start doing your work with thousands of bees roaring around you. That's when I decided it was simpler to run two one queen hives.

  8. #8
    Jason G in Tennessee Guest

    Post

    It does sound intimidating, but I love to experiment!
    So I am assuming that the queen rarely or never exits through the entrance and then goes back in...unless it is to swarm. So the front of the 3 tower hive set-up has one long front entrance with excluders only on the inside between the towers?
    THANKS!
    Jason

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,935

    Post

    Depending on your manipulations and the traffic, I would tend to close the two sides off and leave the entrance in the middle to encourage bees from both sides to mingle when they go in and out. Even nurse bees make cleansing flights. If they supercede a queen and the virgin flies off to mate, you do have the problem that she may go back in the wrong entrance. But that's unlikely in as strong a hive as you will have.

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