Ok Here goes. After seeing Mikes horizontal system, I have an idea. Would like to get feedback from the board as to pros and cons.
I want to run two queens in the same hive. So I am going to build a Brood box that will hold 20 frames, this will house queen #1. It will be 32 1/2" long and 19 7/8 wide. The hive will be placed on a bottom board to fit. I will the have two queen excluders for each ten frames. The I will have two medium supers side by side on top of the aforementioned brood box. Then have two more queen excluders on top of the two supers. The a second brood chamber to hold queen #2 and 20 frames. Then lastly two queen excluders and supers, inner covers and top or tops not sure about how to best accomplish this.
This is merely and experiment, but who knows it may work well. Got the stacking method from Hive and the Honey bee. I know it will be heavy.
OPen to suggestions, so feel free to comment.
>Ok Here goes. After seeing Mikes horizontal system, I have an idea. Would like to get feedback from the board as to pros and cons.
I want to run two queens in the same hive.
I have done 2 queen hives a few times. It's a fun experiment, but I'm not sure it's worth the work. It's the most useful when you're combining two struggling hives and you figure why kill one of the queens?
Usually however, if you have two struggling hives, it's worth requeening them both or combining while requeening the combine.
>The a second brood chamber to hold queen #2 and 20 frames.
This will work fine for the bees. The problem here is that a 20 (22 actually) frame brood chamber is basically an imovable object without two people. You won't be able to easily get to the supers or the other brood chamber that is under it.
I'd recomend the two brood chambers on the same level with the queen excluders underneath and on top and put your supers on top of the brood chambers. That way you only have to move supers, not 22 frame brood chambers (which is how many frames will actually fit in a double brood chamber because you pick up 1 1/2" for the missing middle walls and another 1 1/2" for the normal space on the outside of the two frames.)
Also I'd make sure you have a top entrance to save the poor workers going through two excluders for every trip to the supers.
>This is merely and experiment, but who knows it may work well. Got the stacking method from Hive and the Honey bee. I know it will be heavy.
My biggest problem with two queen hives, besides the extra work, is they can succeed too well. The poplulation can explode. Especially if you get lucky and have to exceptional queens. Imagine if your strongest hive with your best queen was growing twice as fast and ended up more than twice as strong. It's a bit frightening to open up a hive of that strength. Bees everywhere. Then the population explodes so fast that it's difficult to stay ahead of swarming.
Maybe a good use for 2 queen hives is to have a setup where you could add a new queen early in the spring to get them a early boost and then kill the older queen in late spring after the main buildup. That way you could get a faster buildup, do a requeening you wanted anyway, but avoid the swarming and other problems later in the summer.
This would entail planning the hive that way. It also involve problems getting the hive to accept the second queen.
You could just have the double brood chamber with a follower board that has a double queen excluder and in the spring find the queen, insert the follower and introduce the other queen on the other side of the follower.
Personally I haven't always had good luck with introducing a second queen to an existing hive. I've had better luck dividing the hive, introducing the second queen and recombining the hive into a two queen hive. Otherwise the bees often kill the new queen. This could be done by putting in a solid follower board during the introduction (with the back open for another entrance) and putting in the queen excluder follower board after acceptance of the queen.
Maybe with practice and experimentation you could find better techniques of helping the bees accept the second queen without having to split it first.
I have actually seen a natural two queen hive before. Two queens happily laying. I assume one is the daughter of the other, either that or they are two siblings from a swarm or supercedure. Later in the year it seems like one of them disappears. If you could figure out what the circumstances are that cause the bees to do this, maybe you could duplicate the conditions to start you two queen hive.
For instance, what if you raise your own queens, kill the queen in the hive, and introduce a queen cell on each side of the follower board or other double queen excluder. It may be they will both hatch, can't get to each other to kill each other, so maybe they'll just mate and come back. Of coures, who knows if they will both come back to the same side of the chamber. If your follower board goes to the bottom board, and your on a table like mine, you could have an entrance open on each end and odds are the queen will come back to the entrance she left.
I wonder if there is anyone who has experimented more on the queen introduction for two queen hives?
I know it will be heavy. I have already planned for that. I already have help on maintaining the hive. He has a strong back for know. I really just want the population to explode, before the honeyflow starts here in North Carolina. I could get rid of one of the queens after the flow has started or later in the season.
Queen introduction: Option #1.What if I requeened and introduced the second queen at the same time?
Option #2. What if I bought two packages of bees placed them in the upper and lower brood chambers. Seperate them with the newspaper transition and gave two seperate entrances until the two hives were joined?
I am just curious how much honey production a person would get.
>Queen introduction: Option #1.What if I requeened and introduced the second queen at the same time?
I have done this. I think it works about as well as any introduction. Both queens are equal to the bees in the hive, unless one is more genetically similar it might smell more familar. But you have to buy two queens.
>Option #2. What if I bought two packages of bees placed them in the upper and lower brood chambers. Seperate them with the newspaper transition and gave two seperate entrances until the two hives were joined?
I have done this and it worked great.
But you have to buy two packages every time or make two shaken swarms and raise or buy queens.
Wich method do you think would be the most effective. I am willing to pay for either. I am thinking that the two packages would be the easiest, but I could be wrong. The two queen method would be the cheapest.
I plan on trying the permacomb in the new hive also. I am also planning on using the permacomb in other hives to get a true test.
Any other ideas on how to accomplish my task.
The two packages are fairly foolproof. The two queens has all of the normal risks of an introduction.
A bunch of homeless bees in a package with a queen will almost never reject her. I've only once had a package abscond, but I think they moved in to the hive next door. I don't know what happened to the queen, but maybe they rejected her.
An introduction to an established hive that had a queen if done by normal procedures usually succeeds but fails often enough. I've had introductions to hives that had been queenless for at least a couple of weeks and had no young brood, fail and you would think they'd be desperate for a queen. Now you're adding the complication of two of them.
The two packages are a more sure thing.
If you want to try introducing two queens, I would dispose of the old queen a couple of days before you introduce the new ones. You don't want to wait too long or there will be emergency queen cells, but if you don't wait long enough they won't miss the old queen yet and may kill the new ones.
Also, if your purpose is only a quick spring build up and then you will get rid of one queen, I don't think you really need the two double chambers.
Descriptions of my previous two queen hives:
The fist one I did, I built two square 12 frame boxes, 19 7/8" x 19 7/8". I cut a groove down the center and cut a piece of masonite for each hive to slide into the groove and divide the boxes into two. I put a queen excluder on top of that (I had to cut two of the plastic ones and duct tape them together) and 12 frame supers on top of that with the frames running 90 degrees off from the brood chamber. My thinking was there would be better communication between the two halves. The object is for the bees to think this is all the same hive even though there are two brood nests. This worked well, but the brood nest did get crowded quickly. When it did, I pulled the masonite out and the queen excluder and it made a double 12 frame deep brood chamber. I assume one of the queens get's killed by the other, I didn't bother to do it. The hive was so strong, and I was a newbie with only a veil and I was too intimidated to spend the time to find one queen and kill her. I did a shaken swarm of feral bees that I extracted from a tree with two purchased queens. I just put a queen cage on each side and did a typical introduction. The hive did very well.
The second one, since I was tired of lifting 12 frame boxes was simply a double deep brood chamber on the bottom topped by a two wood bound queen excluders topped by two more deeps topped by shallow supers with 7/11 foundation. The 7/11 is between drone and worker size and the queen doesn't tend to like to lay in it. I had a hole drilled in the top box for a top entrance.
I wouldn't drill the hole, now, but I would do a top entrance through an inner cover. This way the bees comming in through the bottom can get to that chamber without going through a queen excluder. The bees coming into the supers or the top brood chamber can come in through the top without going through the queen excluder. The double queen excluder will keep the queens from being able to kill each other.
I bought two packages of Buckfasts from B Weaver and put one in each brood chamber.
This was a bigger brood nest available so I left both queens in and didn't try to combine the brood chambers. The population exploded and the hive was productive, but trying to keep up with it was labor intensive. The boxes were lighter and easier to manage than the 12 frame ones. Eventually the upper queen dissapeared, late in the summer I think, I'm not entirely sure when because again, it was intimidating dealing with such a strong hive. At least she wasn't there that fall.
The next spring I requeened with two Italian queens from Walter T Kelly. I killed the old one and waited a couple of days and introduced one on each side. The bees accepted them and it was another busy productive year.
I decided it was less work and the same end result to just keep two one queen hives than one two queen hive. But it was fun to do for a while.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited January 15, 2003).]
I think I will try the Two packages of bees option.
If anyone has a better idea, feel free to comment.
Thanks Mike, I know we have had the conversation before.
I have been playing with two queens hives for about a decade now. They were conventional 10 frame hives setup in a conventional 2 queen vertical system.
At the end of the year I summarized my experience and have decided not to pursue them further. I had hoped to maximize my equipment and mininmize some of the risks like queen failure, etc. Also used double queening as a method to produce lots of bees for queen rearing early in the spring.
Lots of bees could be produced but double queening introduces additional risks that offset any advantage over a single queen system.
The additional labor required for manipulations was excessive. Thought about double queening along a horizontal plan. Some commercials do it to reduce lifting while queen rearing.
I have used up to 2 excluders on some of my double queen setups and find that the bees will pack honey directly below the excluder on the same side as their broodnest.
Couldn't get them to plug the top broodnest area with honey and force them down into one brood nest. THat caused additional extra work sorting frames and recombining.
For me the added flexibility and workability only costs me an additional bottom board and top board.
What did I loose? Bragging rights concerning pounds per hive.
Give your horizontal approach a try and let us know what happens. It could be great fun with lots to learn.
Just sharing my experience with the traditional two queen system.
this method has been around for long time-I used to use it yrs ago. with 8 frame hivesand a divider in the middle and entrences faceing in oppiste directions.
if you have supers on them you need to fasten your queen excluders down.
you make a lot of bees =but theres a chance when you take your super off you get it turn around.
thats gets your queens killed.
I plan on going horizontal with them. Checking the lower brood chamber will be almost impossible without it being a half a day job. Anyone like to try an figure the weight on a medium that has 22 frames with the typical brood configuration. I am guessing somewhere around 100 lbs.
I am making me some plans to use as a guide in building the bottom board and the extra long mediums.
Can anyone who has done the 2 queen thing, tell me if they got more or less honey, than a single queen hive.
[This message has been edited by thesurveyor (edited January 16, 2003).]
>Checking the lower brood chamber will be almost impossible without it being a half a day job.
For two people.
>Anyone like to try an figure the weight on a medium that has 22 frames with the typical brood configuration. I am guessing somewhere around 100 lbs.
I believe that is an accurate guess. If it was full of just honey I think it would run a little more, but it will be a little lighter because of the brood.
>I am making me some plans to use as a guide in building the bottom board that the extra long mediums.
I still think the double brood box only belongs on the bottom where you "never" have to move it. (never is a long time)
>Can anyone who has done the 2 queen thing, tell me if they got more or less honey, than a single queen hive.
One double queen hive definitely made more honey than one single queen hive, but the real question is does it make more than two singel queen hives. The problem with that estimate is that sometimes any hive does well and sometimes any hive does poorly, so there are differences that are unrealted to having a two queen hive. I think all in all there isn't a lot of difference in honey production of two one queen hives and one two queen hive. My sample isn't big enough for any firm conclusions, but the two queen hive certainly prospered. The two queen hive is just more work than the two one queen hives without much if any improvement.
Dennis (BWrangler), above, has been playing with it much more than me, and arrived at the same conclusions. His sample is much bigger.
I would encorage you to play with it, because you will learn a lot about bees in the process. I don't think it's worth the work in the long run.
So far, I haven't heard from anyone who is doing it on a large commercial scale. Is there anyone out there who is?
Hello Michael and Everyone,
Much of the original research on the two queen system was done here in Wyoming so the information has been around for quite some time.
The majority of beekeepers here are commercial with a minimum of about 1500 hives. None of them use this system.
With the thin profit margins for wholesale production and our very short season, time is a most important factor. Double queening takes too much time per hive and at least one additional trip to the yards.
Another factor for commercials is the lack of mobility of double queened hives. Pesticide application or lack of available forage, especially with the severe drought, often force yards to be relocated. Not an easy task with 4 or 5 story hives.
Most hives are moved to pollinate the almonds in California when the season is over. The payment is based upon hive count and is sometimes adjusted for average number of brood frames per hive. They get paid more for two hives.
The hive volume and utilization is critical as transportation cost are high. Too many bees at years end and not enough honey can spell trouble for the hives in California.
Commercials priorities are very different from guys like me, but double queening just doesn't work for them.
Think small can grow very tall.
Speaking of commercial beekeepers. I found an article that is from Australia. I have posted the article below: It primarily talks about feeding bees, but it states they run two queen hives. Check out the amount of honey they get from their two queen hives.
The article is kinda long, but intresting reading.
YOUR BEES ARE WHAT YOU FEED THEM!
by CHARLIE STEVENS
Condamine Apiaries, Warwick, Queensland
During the 1970's and 1980's, the Australian beekeeping industry benefited from world leading research into honey bee nutrition. Research conducted at the Queensland Agricultural College, by Graham Kleinschmidt and his associates in co-operation with the beekeeping industry, enabled Australian beekeepers to become the best informed honey bee nutritionists in the world.
It was not uncommon to listen to honey producers discussing the need to work a honey flow and then a pollen flow in order to maintain colony strength. Honey producers became concerned over protein levels in their bees and progressively they began to focus on pollen supplements to offset natural protein sources.
In hind sight, I believe that we have only scraped the surface and that not a lot has been done since the late 1980's, in terms of practical research. There is a need for more follow up research, much more can be done to assist honey producers in the field to come to grips with the jig saw of honey bee nutrition.
The following comments outline the evolution of supplementary feeding within our own operation, as we progressed from sugar syrup feeding to protein cakes.
During the period from 1970 to 1975, we regularly experimented with feeding sugar syrup. The syrup was fed either in top feeders, or in plastic bags.
Why did we feed sugar syrup? Initially as an experiment to stimulate breeding prior to a Yellow Box honey flow on the Queensland Darling Downs. Hives were fed in late spring (September / October), at the time they had been placed on Turnip for pollen. They syrup mix was 2.5 bags of sugar per drum, our preferred feeder was a 4 litre top feeder.
Results: The thin syrup stimulated brood rearing in hives and as a result, the collection of pollen. Hive populations rapidly expanded and we were able to take a good crop of Yellow Box. During this five year period of experimental sugar feeding on good pollen flows resulted in strong colonies and increased production.
Why feed sugar syrup? To stimulate pollen collection, brood rearing and improve the morale of the colonies generally. Our preference for a feeding rate of 2.5 bags per 200 litre drum did not see the bees storing the syrup, we have never seen bees cap cells of sugar syrup. At no time have we ever fed "thick" syrup for stores, preferring always to leave honey on hives for stores.
Our operation produces its main crops of honey in the Channel Country, we have never fed sugar while working Yapunyah. We do feed syrup when needed prior to moving to the channel country. It is our experience that bees, when working Yapunyah, have plenty of intestinal fortitude! We ensure they are working reasonable pollen sources and tend to only work that country when we expect it to yield honey.
Open feeding? We never feed sugar syrup in the open and would not encourage it, the disease risk is too great and we only want to feed our own hives.
Feeding dry sugar is not part of our management practice, we have tried it but found bees tend to pick it up and cart the grains out the front of the hive within half an hour of feeding. They can then be seen licking at the dumped sugar when dew or other moisture gets onto it.
Pollen feeding is not to our liking either, as a straight supplementary feed it is very expensive and as a result we have chosen not to feed pollen. Pollen must be irradiated to ensure it is disease free, another cost to be considered.
Soy flour, we have used soy flour because we thought it was cheap and easy to feed. Was it worthwhile? In our opinion NO. We found it was hard to attract the bees to eat it. We were also concerned that the open feeding could bring with it bee diseases like European Foulbrood, American Foulbrood and Chalkbrood if robbed / collected by neighbouring hives. We did not consider our bees benefited from soy flour feeding as the diet was not balanced enough for our liking (or theirs), thus we ceased feeding soy flour. Open feeding in our opinion is not good practice.
Protein cakes have been very rewarding to our operation. Our preference is for pollen enriched protein cakes made by CB Palmer & Co of Ipswich Queensland
We have been using these cakes for 5 years on a regular basis.
When do we feed?
As soon as we hit a honey flow or before, if a small flow of nectar and pollen is available. Our normal time to begin using the cakes is towards end of March. This is a key period of time for us as hives are going into their final preparation, prior to moving to the Channel Country, and protein levels in the bees is critical if they are to be able to sustain the heavy winter honey production we expect from Yapunyah. As stated earlier, we may at this time also feed sugar syrup to stimulate expansion of the brood nest and increase colony population to the levels we require prior to the shift.
How much do we feed and how often?
The protein cakes are approximately 100 mm x 50 mm x 15 mm and we give each hive 2 cakes at 21 day intervals. If conditions go off, we may increase the number of cakes fed per hive. The only restriction we place on feeding is the cost, we would prefer to feed all hives two cakes at 14 day intervals, prior to and during nectar flows. The cost of the cakes are $143 for a 20kg ctn of approx. 200 cakes. Other sizes are available
There are 20 kgs of protein cakes per carton and one carton will feed 100 hives.
Has feeding protein cakes been worthwhile? Without hesitation we say YES! For two seasons we only feed the cakes at mediocre levels and took a little time to learn the right time for feeding and the amounts required to produce consistent results.
Our policy now is "If in doubt - FEED"
If hives are down prior to a honey flow do we feed? YES.
If the bees are on the way up but pollen a little short, do we feed? YES.
If pollen is coming in heavily, do we feed? NO.
Do the bees stop eating protein cakes on a heavy pollen flow? NO.
Do bees like protein cakes? Not particularly.
Could they be more attractive? No need, they consume them at a steady rate without being too fast.
Cake placement is in a super of sticky combs, the cakes are placed between the bottom bars of the centre frames, above the queen excluder. We do not favour placing the cakes between the wall comb and the wall of the hive. In our experience, the bees are not attracted to them in the position, the outer areas being cooler and less densely occupied by bees could be the reason for this.
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.
Protein cakes were fed every time a super of honey was removed. 600 single queen hives on the same honey flow being fed protein cakes in the same manner, produced approximately 150 kg per hive. In poor seasons, two queen hives are less successful in the Channel Country, the bees will often kill one queen and thus diminish the brood area available. To overcome this problem, we pull the divider and supply an extra protein cake.
Where one side of the two queen unit drops back a little in brood area we will often feed an extra protein cake to stimulate the brood rearing. When placing protein cakes in two queen hives, the cake is positioned over the centre of each unit in the super of sticky combs. At this stage of the season, if the colony is not producing honey and others are the non-productive hives, are marked for checking and not fed. They are often queenless.
Crops worked with protein cakes include, Yapunyah, Blue Top Ironbark, Narrow Leaved Ironbark and Yellow Box. Among the natural flows worked in the channels are Gidgey, Sandfire, Ellangowan and a wide variety of wildflowers in better seasons.
Hive population is critical, we endeavour to operate hives with at least five well filled out frames of brood and maintain hive population levels in the area of 35,000 bees per hive. To sustain these levels we must provide supplementary protein, this is where the protein cakes come into their own. We have no faith in supplementary foods for bees that do not contain pollen or honey! Our bees are what we feed them.
From our observations we believe that by caring for the nutritional well being of our hives, assists hives in dealing with bee diseases often related to stress.
For the future we plan to continue to fine tune our supplementary feeding program and have developed an interest in the value of supplying water by means to top feeders to hives. Comments by researchers and our own experience of supplying water for hives indicates that a ready supply of water may add another dimension to our understanding of the complete nutritional needs of our bee hives.
Research into honeybee nutrition should be ongoing, we have already benefited as an industry from research in this field.
The area of cost effectiveness needs to be carefully studied in order to convince many uncommitted honey producers of the value of supplementary feeding. We have diminishing honey resources, but are in the unique position to improve yields from existing resources by better utilising our management tools. Supplementary foods themselves may need to be evaluated in order to ensure that only the most useful formulas are used by beekeepers.
Perhaps the title of this paper has a place in our overall view of this subject "Your Bees are What You Feed Them", feed them well and they will feed you well.
The article could fit in feeding bees.
[This message has been edited by thesurveyor (edited January 16, 2003).]
They are talking about 300Kg which is 660Lbs. That's impressive. But how much do they get from a one queen hive? That's what you want to know. I do not think the payoff is a quantum increase in production. My two queen hives produced roughly twice what a one queen hive did with more than twice the work.
Let us know how the experiment works.
Dennis, (BWrangler) I used to live in Laramie and had bees there. I don't ever remember being in Casper when the wind wasn't howling even worse than in Laramie. How do the bees ever find a calm enough day to fly?
The article stated 150Kg per single queen hive. Its like you stated around double, not triple or more like some articles or books claim.
But we did find a commercial beekeeper that apparently practices this somewhat frequently.
A Good Day To You Beekepers: I did some research on the two Queen system a few years back, my intention was to use the double screen board also known as the Snellgrove board. After careful research and talking with old beekeepers who had tried this system , I found that the two Queen system is most pratical when you are keeping bees in a part of the world that has a fairly long (about two months)intense and predictable honey flow and no need to move hives. I determined that in my case while we have longer period of honey flow the flow is less intense and very unpredictable here in my part of SC and would not warrent the extra work involved in a two Queen system. Our honey flow begins with Red Maple and Dandolines in late Ferbuary and ends with Aster in September, but ebbs and flows with the weather , how much rain, when, hot, dry, windy. Is there any one who belives as I do, that even though you may be getting a good honey flow a hot dry wind can dry up the flow before the bees can harvest it?.
I still have two of the double screens,if any one would like to give the two queen system a go you may have them for the price of shipping as I will never have a need for them. Those of you contemplating the two Queen system please go to the Hive and The Honey Bee, page 632 and read The "Two Queen management System".
You folks have a stand tall wave the flag kind of day.
Les in SC
Thanks to all who have responded. I am in the same general area of Les in SC. However I have a slight elevation difference and our amount of hardwoods is greater. Our flow is also predicted by the weather. Our flow is a little more stable. We have maple, tulip poplar, sourwood and the gereral agricultrual crops, corn, beans, etc.
I think my 2 queen hive should do well. I am excited and I am going to try it.
I am open to any other info that any of you may have. You can post it here or email me.
Hello Michael and Everyone,
>Dennis, (BWrangler) I used to live in Laramie and had bees there. I don't ever remember being in Casper when the wind wasn't howling even worse than in Laramie. How do the bees ever find a calm enough day to fly?
Laramie? Did you know why they put the federal bee lab there? They figured if they goofed up in their foulbroud research no damage would be done as bees couldn't survive in this environment. So much for living in beekeepers paradise :> )
I do have a theory about bee flight in our winds. A good blow should transport most of my field force east to north east of here where the bees would take up residense in any available hive. Did your production increase in eastern Nebraska over what you produced in Laramie?
Ha, that proves my theory :> )
I've had bees in Western Nebraska, Eastern Wyoming, the front range of Colorado and Eastern Nebraska. All of the Western locations had about the same production. Eastern Nebraska has better production. But then sometimes, here it Eastern Nebraks it actually rains. That's that water that falls from the sky in some places.
Maybe your bees do end up out here. It wouldn't surprise me. Maybe your's come from Utah and Nevada? Migratory Beekeeping. Or is it just Migratory bees?
I guess the jet stream, would just keep sending them east to say--- North Carolina. After that they will be swimming.