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Thread: Two queen hive

  1. #1
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    hi everyone:
    I was wondering if anyone heard of two queen hives. I know I was surprised to hear of such an arrangement.
    I'm hoping if anyone has tried it or have any info on how this thing works would share that info with us.
    It's like a book, I think, this bloomin' world, Which you can read and care for just so long, But presently you feel that you will die, Unless you get the page you're readin' done, an' turn another - likely not so good; But what you're after is to turn 'em all.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    thanks Michael for those links. you know what I'm going to be reading for the next few hours/ days
    It's like a book, I think, this bloomin' world, Which you can read and care for just so long, But presently you feel that you will die, Unless you get the page you're readin' done, an' turn another - likely not so good; But what you're after is to turn 'em all.

  4. #4
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    Do you mean the artificial two queen hives, which are essentially vertical hives with two broodnests separated by excluders, or the natural multiqueen hives, where mother and daughter or sister queens tolerate one another within a single broodnest?
    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  5. #5
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    hi robert:
    I meant the vertical hive with two queens and broods nests, separated by excludes.
    I'm still wondering if an excluder screen is also placed at entrance to prevent one of the queens from leaving?
    It's like a book, I think, this bloomin' world, Which you can read and care for just so long, But presently you feel that you will die, Unless you get the page you're readin' done, an' turn another - likely not so good; But what you're after is to turn 'em all.

  6. #6
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    I've done a few two queen hives. I wouldn't do them vertically, they are too much work. Too much lifting and too much disurbance of the bees to get to the queens to do anything. When I HAVE done them vertically I didn't put an excluder in "includer" position. For one thing, if the queen can't get out, neither can the drones. And there's no reason to make the bees work so hard. If you have seperate boxes for the queens then both will need an exit for the drones.

    IMO it's a fun experiment to do once. But it's too much work to be practical on any scale. You can run two one queen hives more simply and get the same amount of honey as one two queen hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
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    I've had 2 queen hives happen by accident, when the brood nest is full, I like to raise the sealed brood abouve the excluder, and replace with empty frames, however a queen must have developed, from uncapped eggs, and mated through the top opening of the hive and viola - 2 queen hive.
    Happiness comes from within

  8. #8
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    I will have to take exception to Michael Bushes comment that two one queen hives will produce the same honey as a two queen hive. Not true. at least in part A hive of 60,000 bees will pruduce four times the honey of a hive that has 30,000 bees.
    Before I began migrating to Florida with several hundred colonies I managed 125-150 hives for 20 years. About 2/3 of these colonies were double queened for at least 4 weeks. The method I used pratically eliminated swarming and I averaged DOUBLE the honey crop as my neighboring beekeepers. Swarming averaged 1-2%. Here is how. First consider fruit trees usuallly bloom April 12 and locust the first week of May with poplar about May 10.
    The last week of March you work every colony dividing it into two parts. It is easier if you insert queen excluder between hive bodies and you wont have to search for old queen in hives with brood in two hive bodies. Place 4-5 frames young brood/eggs in bottom hive body with old queen on bottom board. Place 3-5 frames brood in top hive body OVER a double screen with a top entrance with new queen, DONT REMOVE CORK IN CANDY END. Try to equalize all colonies (in bad years use 3 frames brood, in good years use 5. If a colony is short of bees/brood you can get from a strong colony that has extra.
    Just try to equalize where all colonies are approximately the same strength. Go back in 5 days and check for queen cells in top box. If there are none remove cork, If they are some, remove them and remove cork. This step will increase acceptance to 90%( a little extra work but worth it with queens at $12-15.) If bottom or top gets stronger due to drifting you can reverse them putting old queen on top and new on bottom but make sure to mark where new queen is. The last week of April of first week of May depending on flow/strength of bees you either do the following. The following should be done about 1 week or less prior to flow.

    1. If hive is very strong (both boxes full of bees. /brood ie 16 frames or more), you can remove old queen and put in nuc box with 1-3 frames of brood and hold to replace bad queen later or start new colony or sell.
    2. If colony is not full of brood and bees, find old queen and kill her and unite colony. No newspaper needed.

    At same time add at least two perferrably 3 supers. All colonies are about same strength, with new queens and supers swarming is minimal. I have had bees fill a DEEP in 5 days. Almost all colonies will make same amount of honey...you dont have one making 4 supers while others make 1. I averaged more than double other beekeepers. One year the president of our local assoc wanted me to help pull off his poplar honey from 40 colonies and he would help me pull the honey from mine on poplar. Some of his made 4 supers some 1 some swarmed with none. I AVERAGED 4 supers only a 1/2 mile from his bees. My worst one made 3 and best one 5. From then on he use the above system...loved it! Rick

  9. #9
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    suttonbeeman
    Well have to agree with you on the production of 2 queen hives.The norm in one new Zealand operation with only one possible floral source year after year and surrounded by sea is 4 -6 metric tons per 100 hives.Single hand sized excluder with two seperate entrances to single brood boxes,new queen on the bottom only.Over winter as two queen.The method of increase is unique making 3 new 2 queen production units from 2x2 queen hives.See example in photo below,this is a trial sister queen hive and we would normally run 4 of these to a pallet.There ia a way of getting the honey off without a crane.Sorry about the other photos in this album.

    http://tinyurl.com/cxhqu

    [size="1"][ December 03, 2005, 11:48 AM: Message edited by: Bob Russell ][/size]
    BOB

  10. #10
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    We've run 2 queen hives for years. There is and excellant instructional on this in the Hive and the Honey bee. Powers did a study that showed they out produce standard hives by a mimimum of 40 percent and as much as double. We've found timing and methodology is critical. This should be done when the weather is consistenly warm and 1st. thing in the morning to allow the hive to organize and settle by dark. make sure your hives are absolutely level due to the end heights and weight and have firm bases. Hives must have a strong population. We are basically making a split at dandelion bloom. Locate the queen and set her aside. We take 3 frames of capped brood and 1 with some open brood to hold nurse bee interest.(we need lots of bees hatchin in the 1st. week to give this population) Make sure you either have plenty of honey in the "split" brood frames or give them a frame, it is extremely important as they will not have a field force of any size for several days. They are placed in a hive body with drawn comb and we shake a large portion of the bees into the new split (most of them will return to the lower so don't worry about shorting them). The queen is relocated in the orginal hive body and left on the orginal stand. We then add 4 honey supers, preferably with 1 of darker combs directly over the orginal hive (the lower field bees will occupy this and leave some space for the new queen to be accepted in the top). On top of the 4 supers we add a 2 queen board which is basically a bottom board without the bottom support rails with a small section of queen excluder secure stapled to a square cutout in the center of the queen board. This must lay flat on the honey supers below and allow and entrance for the top "split". Place your split on top of the queen board and reduce the entrance. Place a new caged queen in the upper split. Do not facilitate release by poking a whole in the candy as you want the "split" to have time to adjust to the queen. Even better plan to do a hand release after you know the queen is accepted. Once the queen is installed for release or is accepted and released do not disturb the hive for 7 days. There is a high tendency to ball the queen do to phermones coming in from the lower hive. Once you know the queen is accepted and laying let the "split" in this format for a full brood cycle (21 days). After the 21 days has passed recombine the split using the newpaper method and be sure to add another (5th) honey super. Often the 2 queens will continue to lay for a week or 2 because the bees have been intermingling. The queens will eventually work out their differences. For the next 21 days you will have between 2000 to 3000 bees hatching out a day. It is sight to see because they just explode. We've found the hive will peak at about 5 weeks which should coincide with your target honey flow. Plan to have 7 or eight 3/4's for each hive and a step ladder at harvest time as the hives will be well over 6 feet. Our best year, 1996, we averaged 240 lbs of honey on 40 hives. Plan to leave more winter stores as you will have larger clusters to winter. It is more labor intensive as others have stated, hefting 40 lb honey supers off 6'-7'stacks is no picnic but it is a great production increase for operations running 50 or less hives. I would start small and do 4 or 5 the 1st. season and go from there. Have fun!

  11. #11
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    > I averaged DOUBLE the honey crop as my neighboring beekeepers.

    Precisely my point. For three or four times the work.

    >We've found timing and methodology is critical.

    Absolutely. Timing is everything. Bad timing on when you make it a two queen hive can actually peak the brood rearing during the flow and peak the population AFTER the flow and actually cut your honey crop in half instead of doubling it.

    If I wanted to maximize a honey crop with no concern for how much work (other than compared to other labor intensive methods for a maximin crop) I think I'd do this:

    Put two hives right against each other side by side in the early spring. Maybe even put them in five frame boxes if there's only ten or fifteen frames of bees. We'll number boxes from bottom to top, 1,2,3,4. Sort all the frames and put the honey on the bottom (1) where you don't have to move it so much, the queen in the next box (2) with a little open brood and some empty drawn comb, the rest of the open brood in the next box (3) and the capped brood in the top box (4). If you only have two boxes worth of bees then you may have to just put the capped in the top and the open brood and empty comb underneath with the queen and do this every ten days. If you have three boxes of bees,then rotate the boxes up, while leaving the queen in box 2. That way the empty comb that the brood emerged from moves from 4 to 2. The open brood and eggs the queen just layed moves from 2 to 3. The capped brood moves from 3 to 4. If you do this once a week, that's one brood cycle and the brood is nicely graded into empty comb, open brood and capped brood. Now, about two weeks before the flow, you pull all the open brood and empty comb and honey(which is nicely sorted for you already in boxes 1,3 and 4 just at time to rotate again), off of both hives and one of the queens for a split to another location 10 yards or more away. Consolidate all the capped brood at the old location in one hive with lots of empty supers. You now have, for the flow, the consolidated field force from two hives, plus all the emerging brood that will have nothing to do except forage. I call this a DOUBLE cut down split/combine. I bet you'll get even more than a two queen hive makes. But who wants to work this hard?

    The other variation is to do this on a three box long hive with a brood nest at each end and a vertical queen excluder to keep the queens at each end. Stack up all the boxes you need for the brood on the ends and the supers in the middle. Roate the boxes, as per above on both ends. (remember the honey is on the bottom so it doesn't have to rotate) Again, just before the flow (May 30th here) pull out the open brood, the empty cells and the honey and one queen and make a cut down split off of the two queen hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
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    An even simpler method is practiced by Paul Brown in North Carolina. Paul concentrates on setting swarm traps in prime areas. As he catches swarms he newspapers them into existing hives. he had a hive which produced 480 lbs (confirmed by the state bee inspector. Paul has a an excellant video out on his method although I can't remember the name.

  13. #13
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    Michael
    It is very little more work than a regular hive as you need to either split it to prevent swarming or at lwast check brood pattern/ disease stores ect about the same time you would be making a two queen hive. You get lots more honey, less equipment and I gurantee you I made more per hour of work that way! In 1982 I averaged over 300# colony. Wish I lived close to you, would love to run about 24 colonies in a yard...you do 12 and I do 12 DQ colonies, track time spent and I'll bet I'll produce more honey per hour of work!! Would be fun anyway...try it as see what happens! Rick

  14. #14
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    No, you do 12 DQ and I'll do 24 regular hives. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    I've done them. I'm not saying they aren't interesting and they will, if the timing is right, make an awsome crop, but in a good year I've gotten 200# of honey from each one queen colony. Of course in a bad year I've gotten none. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Also, I have my own preference for running a two queen hive that is much easier than one vertical stack. The long hive with a brood chamber on each end and the supers in the middle is much easier and actually not that much work.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
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    Wished we lived close togather...would be fun to try..maybe have a friendly wager!! Bet I could get a free cup of coffee!! Ha Ha. I liked the system I used because it nearly eliminated swarming, bush honeysuckle blooms a week before black locust and a week after fruit is over. This nectar source is almost always dependable and blooms dont vary as much! So I timed bees for it. the colony wasnt a DQ but for about 4-6 weeks depending on season. Probably the biggest advantage was the equalizing of colonies. Equalizing colonies has great advantages! I did it all at once. By the way you got more investment...extra bottom board, top, innercover and TWO colonies to get thru winter!(grin!) Rick

  16. #16
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    >TWO colonies to get thru winter!

    And twice as many queens in the spring.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17

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    Hi Friends
    I’m going to tell you the 2 queens system I use for many years. It’s not my invention. The author of this system is the Romanian beekeeper Adrian Huica. He patented this system in Romania few years ago.
    The system. The materials you need 2,3 or more clipped queens, their hives and newspapers. No queen excluders no other material.
    The queens must be clipped. Here in Romania we don’t use to clip our queens. For some years I started to clip my queens bur never in her first year.
    The method: if you want to have a hive with 2 queens all you have to do is to unite 2 queenright colonies using “newspaper method”. The set up description: bottom, hivebody with brood and clipped queen, newspaper over the hivebody, next hivebody containing brood and the second clipped queen, innercover and cover.
    Now the set up is ready. All you have to do now is to let the unit undisturbed for one week or until your next visit.
    Well, for me and for other beekeeper friends this system works. I have 3 failures out of 17 attempts in last 7 years. In all this years I realize that some times you fail when you try to unite the queens in their first year of live.
    The next trip to your beeyard you’ll take the newspaper off (or remaining of it) and take a look to see what happened. For sure you’ll find out 2 queens laying and the bees doing their job.
    An interesting thing for sure you’ll see: after 2-3 weeks you’ll find up to 6 nice queen cells. If you want you can use them they are very good queen cells and you’ll get nice queens. After 3-4 weeks you’ll see another bunch of queen cells. It’s up to you to use them or destroy them.
    Using this method you can have in your hive 2,3,4 queens. All it’s up to you but you end up with a very strong colony able to gather a lot of honey.
    You can winter the hive with 2 or 3 queens. You’ll observe a big cluster bigger than usual (when you use one queen). Last winter I wintered only one hive with 2 queens because 2 years ago somebody stole 19 of my 27 hives. The colony is well and I made a nuc with the queen cell from this 2 queen colony.
    Well, perhaps you’ll think that it’s impossible and I’m writing a lot of nonsense but I want to ask you to try it you you’ll see that this work. Last month a beekeeper friend from Denmark Jorn Johanssen (the author of beekeeping program Apimo) visits me and he has seen this system.

  18. #18
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    {Probably the biggest advantage was the equalizing of colonies. Equalizing colonies has great advantages!}

    Probably one of the best management tools for any beekeeper 1 or 2 queen!

    Suttonbee, you and I agree on every aspect, well worth the efforts for all those reasons.

    ARad- What keeps the 2 queens from coming together and killing each other? What causes them to draw out new queen cells?

  19. #19

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    Hi Joel,
    Just call me George.
    I’m sure that all of you saw 2 queens(mother and doughter)laying side by side for some time.The bees don’t let them fight. The reason why the bees don’t let them fight is unknown. Some master beekeepers said that the bees want to make sure that the new queen is ok. The same thing happen in the 2 queens system.The bees understand that the queens are not OK and they decide to replace them, so new queen cells.It’s only an opinion

  20. #20
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    I have found two queen hives from supercedures or from simply adding a queen cell that's about to emerge or smoking heavily and adding a virgin. All of these sometimes work. But all of them sometimes end up with one new queen instead.

    I guess I haven't done it with the intent of ending up with a two queen hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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