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Thread: Two queen hive

  1. #41
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    I understand the (reasonable) point on avoiding too much laying in the last few weeks of the flow. It's also well known that larger colonies make more honey, because they can either allocate and reallocate task forces more quickly and efficiently, or free more bees to deal with gathering/storing nectar (because some labor costs are fixed and require about the same number of bees, no matter how large is the colony).

    But I must have missed something, because I just can't see why timing would be more important for double queen colonies than for single queen colonies. Clearly, if you start stimulating SQCs too late, you'll get less honey than you could otherwise. If you start too early, you'll have to feed them more. Surely no doubts about that.

    Is that any different in DQCs? If you had a colony with a single SUPERqueen, capable of laying twice as many eggs a day as the average queens, would the timing be more critical for that colony? If so, I think every colony would have a different timing, because each queen is usually different from the others, in a greater or lesser extent.

    In fact, it seems to me, at first sight, that late stimulation should be *less* problematic for DQCs than for SQCs. Because if you agree that, say, 45,000 bees can be a good producing colony, a DQC would probably achieve this number several days earlier. It would not be the peak number for a DQC, but, in this case of a too late stimulation start, the honey loss would be less important.

    What do you say?

    João

  2. #42
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    A couple of points to consider Jaos. 1st. reread my previous post and think about the dynamics we are speaking of. Now consider one super queen (which does not exist) will have twice the nurse bees tied up taking care of double the brood through the honey flow. In addition to the honey those nurse bees burn taking care of brood and not making honey, the extra brood is chomping down more honey and pollen. Due to the increase in hive temps with extra bees more bees will be dedicated to bring in water and cool the hives. More bees are also tied up as house bees cleaning cells and gathering pollen for the double brood. Cut you maxed crop by 50% conservatively. Now you get through the flow and you have twice the bees to winter, subtract another 25%-30% for extra winter stores. Ever notice how bees know when to the flow is coming. The orginal hive has gone through the early season and whatever instinctive weather patterns drive them to populate (just like swarming, starts well before we see any signs) and consider that you now have 2 queens sharing the thousands bees. Certainly there are adjustments that have to made with 2 queens sending different messages, subtract say another 5 or 10%. Now you cut that double increase by 70,80% or more. The labor that is involved is not worth the 30% increase in production. Take the time to either read the Power study or the information in the Hive and the honey bee. It is a well established fact int theroy, studies and practice that timeing and limited 2 queen occupation of the hive is critical to success.

  3. #43
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    >I understand the (reasonable) point on avoiding too much laying in the last few weeks of the flow.

    No. Not the last few weeks of the flow. The last few weeks BEFORE the flow. Those bees reared DURING the flow are just dependants using up resources (honey and pollen), gathering no honey and tying up bees that could be foraging taking care of them.

    >It's also well known that larger colonies make more honey, because they can either allocate and reallocate task forces more quickly and efficiently, or free more bees to deal with gathering/storing nectar (because some labor costs are fixed and require about the same number of bees, no matter how large is the colony).

    A large colony makes more honey. A large colony with no brood to care for will make twice that.

    >But I must have missed something, because I just can't see why timing would be more important for double queen colonies than for single queen colonies.

    Only because the two queens exagerate the same principles. You can do a cutdown split on a one queen colony and double the honey production if you time it correctly. You can do the same with a two queen colony except that you started with even more bees.

    You can stimulate a one queen colony to rear more brood earlier by feeding pollen and syrup earlier and you will get more bees that will collect honey. You can simtulate a two queen colonly to rear more brood earlier by feeding pollen and syrup earlier and get even MORE bees that will collect honey. But in both cases you can end up with a lot bees after the flow that were raised DURING the flow that collected NO honey, tied up a lot of nurse bees that could have been foraging and burned up a frame of honey and a frame of pollen to make every frame of brood that was raised and are NOW eating up honey to stay alive when the flow is over. There are just twice as many of them in the two queen hive.

    >Is that any different in DQCs?

    Other than multiplying the advantages AND disadvantages by two, no. The timing is the same.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #44
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    Joel told it like it is and I also agree with Mr Bush. You want the bees to peak at the begining of the flow! My flow here starts with Bush honeysuckle a week or two after fruit bloom and a week before black locust. (usually the last week of April/first week of May). Flow is usually over first week or two of July. Sometimes we get a good enough fall flow to make a little surplus in late Sept/early Oct.

    Rick

  5. #45
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    Dear friends:

    It seems to me that we are discussing only two points here, besides the usefulness of double queen colonies:

    1) Is timing different in DQCs and in SQCs?

    2) How long before the end of the flow should the laying be halted, so the presence of brood/young bees won't lessen honey producing?

    About the point (1) Michael agreed with me by saying

    > Other than multiplying the advantages AND
    > disadvantages by two, no. The timing is the same.

    I do believe that, although I'd replace the "multiplying by two" for a more cautious "increasing".

    But the point (2) still seems disputable. First, I have to swear to you that I'm already pretty convinced that this procedure can be useful, at least for european bees (AHBs are much more rigorous about their queen, and I'm not sure that caging the queen for a long time will keep the bees working calmly). So, please, no needs to keep explaining me the benefits of this method [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Michael said:

    > No. Not the last few weeks of the flow.
    > The last few weeks BEFORE the flow.
    > Those bees reared DURING the flow are just
    > dependants using up resources (honey and
    > pollen), gathering no honey and tying up
    > bees that could be foraging taking care
    > of them.


    If you are talking about few (two) weeks before the (very short/two-week) flow, I can agree, but, in this case, you are saying exactly the same as I did.

    But if you refer to a longer flow, let's say 8 weeks like the Rick's, so I'm tempted to disagree. First, I think there's a little conceptual flaw in this reasoning (or I didn't get it correctly). Honey production doesn't depend on field bees only. Younger hive bees, the nectar processors (receivers and ripeners) are an equally important task force. Seeley (Wisdom of the Hive) found that as many as half of the bees in a normal colony (with a laying queen) can be involved in this task when the flow is heavy. That's in agreement with the considerations of Crane (Bees and Beekeeping) and Sammataro and Avitabile (Beekeeper's Handbook) for whom, in a large colony, about only half of the bees are foragers.

    Nectar processors usually start their tasks by 10-11 days after the emergence, but, if there's no brood to tend, and there's a heavy flow to gather, wouldn't they start earlier? I think so, and I'm pretty sure that the studies of Lindauer and Seeley (among others) on labor allocating strongly support this view. If it's true, so the presence of young bees are truly beneficial in a no-brood colony.

    Second, bees dye. And they not only dye, but they dye soon in the active season. Jim Fisher said recently that he works with the perspective of a lifespan between 45-60 days, but it sounds a little too optimistic. I checked some books, and found that Winston (Biology of the Honey Bee) talks about 38 days, Crane (Bees...) about 3.5-4 weeks, Caron (Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping) about 4-5 weeks, and Morse (ABC & XYZ) about 4-6 weeks.

    So, if you consider a developing period of 21 days, a fairly optimistic lifespan of 40 days, and a constant death rate (which is unreal), all the bees disappear in less than 9 weeks. It does not happen so quickly, in fact, because under such conditions not all bees become field bees, and those who keep doing house tasks get a longer lifespan. Anyway, it gives a good figure of how fast the population can decrease in the active season, when the colony is deprived of new eggs.

    So, my point is that, for one side, young bees are important to honey production, for another, the colony probably shrinks very quickly when the queen is caged. So you will lose honey if you cage the queen (or remove one queen in a DQH) many weeks before the end of the flow. This idea only opposes the one presented by Michael, but doesn't answer the question I posed in item (2). Now, taking Moeller as another reference, (quoted by Crane in Bees..., and by Ambrose in The Hive and the Honey Bee), I read that he stated that four weeks BEFORE THE END of the flow is the right time to remove one queen in a DQC.

    So far, I've presented only rhetoric and vague references, which sometimes are not very convincing (and often not even read), especially when written in a mistakefull English [img]smile.gif[/img] . But maybe those bravehearts who had guts to read all of this will find it useful to take a look at a spreadsheet (MS Excel) I've just made, with a rough model of the colony development:
    Colony model

    There are two sheets, in fact. CDM1 has some periods highlighted with different colors, and commented. In CDM1, I used some parameters you may consider arguable, although I've tried to be realistic. Then I made CDM2, which is an unprotected sheet, where you can set the parameters as you like and get different results from the model. The sheets show the colony development by counting the daily increases in eggs laid, deaths, open brood, capped brood, nurse bees, and other [hive + field] bees. Nurse bees number is calculated according to Lindauer's estimation (quoted by Crane and Winston) of one nurse being capable of feeding 2-3 larvae (I took the average 2.5, so nurses = 40% open brood), but you may change that if you want. The model is very unreal in the start and in the end (colony with no bees), but I hope it gives a fairly good figure of what happens in between. Of course, it's a very simple model, based in averages and constant rates, and it was never intended to mirror the reality.

    Well, since I have already written much more than the common sense would recommend, I think I won't do any worse in adding one more point:

    (3) How much more honey can the beekeeper expect by caging the queen before the end of the flow?

    I think, from what I've read from your posts and some books, that honey increase is mainly due to (a) extinction of the nurse tasks, freeing bees to participate in nectar gathering/processing, and (b) saving more honey because of no more need to feed the larvae.

    Michael said:

    > A large colony makes more honey.
    > A large colony with no brood to
    > care for will make twice that.

    Would be "twice" a realistic figure?

    Let's take a look at (a). How many bees are in fact freed by the extinction of the nurse job? At first thought, it may appear a lot. But, for a constant laying, the number of brood nurses tends to stabilize as the number of open brood stabilizes too, so nursing becomes a fixed cost for the the hive (and that's one reason why a large colony stores proportionally more honey than a small one). Qualitatively, you may reason that, when you cage the queen, the population is already at its peak, so the brood nurses are at the smallest possible percentage.

    Quantitatively, it's sometimes difficult to visualize what really happens within such a dynamic group. But you can take a look at the model I pointed above. For the Lindauer's estimation, you'll find out that the percentage of bees in charge of brood in the peak of the season is only 5% of the total adults. So, probably no huge honey increases here.

    Now, let's look at (b). From Winston (Biology...), we learn that a larva needs about 142 mg of honey and about the same weight of pollen to be reared. Assuming that the cost of gathering pollen is about the same of gathering nectar, I will consider that, roughly, each larva not reared saves about 300 mg of honey. I also assume that this is the total cost, including the pollen eaten by the nurses to produce food secretions, and the additional nectar spent in additional heating/fanning/water collecting due to the presence of the larvae.

    If you take some 30 days as the useful period to produce honey with the queen caged, you'll get about 9 g of honey saved for each viable egg previously laid by the queen in each single day (in average). In other words,

    Honey saved = 0.3 g x 30 days x ADL (average daily laying, in eggs/day)

    If you consider ADL as 1,200 eggs, you'll get about 11 kg (24 lb) of honey saved. Or 13.5 kg (30 lb), for ADL = 1,500. Roughly, a shallow super in excess.

    My conclusion is that one more supper of honey for each hive is indeed a very good result, although hardly a "double production", unless the flow/weather are very poor, or I'm grossly underestimating some aspect.

    Just one more thing: since you don't know me, I'm afraid that this long post may appear to you as an arrogant flooding of data, intended to overwhelm and suffocate the discussion. Nothing is farther from the truth. I always appreciate your alert and critical posture. The long reasoning is only necessary for my own needs, because the topic is about a subject I'm not familiarized with - although general bee biology actually is a matter of interest to me. So, please (and I'm sure I wouldn't need to say this) feel completely free to point out the flaws and omissions in my ideas, references and calculations, so I can see it more clearly.

    Best regards.

    João

  6. #46
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    >Nectar processors usually start their tasks by 10-11 days after the emergence, but, if there's no brood to tend, and there's a heavy flow to gather, wouldn't they start earlier?

    All the evidence and all of the people doing cut down splits have come to that precise conclusion.

    > I think so, and I'm pretty sure that the studies of Lindauer and Seeley (among others) on labor allocating strongly support this view.

    Exactly.

    >If it's true, so the presence of young bees are truly beneficial in a no-brood colony.

    Exactly.

    >> A large colony with no brood to care for will make twice that.

    >Would be "twice" a realistic figure

    In my experience, yes, I think that is a realistic figure. You will free up a lot of bees and a lot of resources. Not only are the nurse bees foraging and bringing in more, but there is no brood consuming it. Also there is no need for pollen which frees up MORE foragers for nectar.

    I'm sure this will vary by climate and length of flows. But most places you will get more honey with a cut down two weeks before the main flow. Experiment in your climate and see how it works out in pounds of honey.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #47
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    Joao, You're way over complicating this simple but challenging manuever. Time your brood so the peak is at the beginning of your largest honey flow. Each queen will lay approximately 5 to 7 frames of brood in the 21 day period. The population of hatched bees will peak for 3-6 weeks about 49 days after setting up the unit giving you a maximum of foragers during any long flow. That will be approximatly 49 days from the start of the flow to put up the 2 queen unit. (21 for brood to lay, 21 for brood from both queens hatching together, 3-7 days for the queen to be released, accepted and start laying. If you have a realatively steady flow like we do in our region you should start your units at the 1st. major pollen source (dandelion here)when the weather is settled.

    Never mind caging any queens, you won't have a chance of finding her in a hive with 60,000 bees at the beginning of the flow.

    Beekeeping is about trusting experiance and trying your best to duplicate it, the science is already proven.

  8. #48
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    Ah-ha! I get the cutdown split for more honey idea. Why had I missed it last time I read it when doing it to break the brood cycle therby reducing varroa mites? Sounds like a good way to make spring increase.
    One question on that though.
    Will the change in population dynamics effect wax production. I have little drawn comb so I wouldn't want to slow down any emerging bees that may be making wax. So to focus my question, what age or type of bees are the wax producers?

  9. #49
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    Young bees are the wax producers. You can feed empty combs into the split with all the open brood and get more nice combs there. There will also be plenty of house bees in the old hive that will draw wax.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #50
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    hello everyone.
    I found your answers truly amazing and extremely informative. thank you for your input.
    If I understood the setup correctly, we are shooting for four deep supers for brood and queens. bottom two for first queen. an excluder. then two more deep supers for the second queen and an excluder then the honey supers on top. is this correct?
    one more question would be should I have an additional entrance between third and fourth super to expedite movement, or just the main the main entrance is sufficient.

    thanks
    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.

  11. #51
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    >If I understood the setup correctly, we are shooting for four deep supers for brood and queens. bottom two for first queen. an excluder. then two more deep supers for the second queen and an excluder then the honey supers on top. is this correct?

    When I've done something similar, I just did one deep for each queen and tried to keep it from getting to congetsted. I put two bound excluders between or an excluder a shallow super and an excluder between, so the queens can't sting each other between the two. Both the top brood nest and the bottom brood nest need some kind of exit for the drones to get out. Either a hole in the box, or a notch in the bound excluder etc. With mediums I could do two mediums for each brood nest.

    >one more question would be should I have an additional entrance between third and fourth super to expedite movement, or just the main the main entrance is sufficient.

    I like to have one above the excluder for the feild bees whenever there is an excluder and an exit for the drones from the brood nest. Everything else is optional. It will need a lot of room for the traffic. There can be an amazing number of bees in a booming two queen hive.

    But I prefer the long hive. I don't have to disturb all of those supers to get to the brood nests. I have a brood nest on each end and a stack of supers in the center. I can keep the brood nests open by pulling out frames of honey and feeding in empty frames and I can leave the supers alone and not disturb them so much.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #52
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    Michael, in an earlier post, you shot down the idea of a nuc highrise,( 4 nucs stacked with screen between each), because of the condensation. Have you tried banking nucs in your long hive?
    Something like 2 frames w/queen - excluder- single frame - excluder- 2 frames w/queen - excluder-single frame - excluder- 2 frames w/queen....ect.
    I am aiming at banking queens through the winter with out putting them in little boxes.
    The premiss I am going with is that if you can make a 2 queen hive, then 3,4, or 5 should be posable. I was told that keeping them in queen cages all winter stresses them, therefore weakens them. Do you think the clusters would abondon a queen for a prettier smelling one?

    I understand that if this did work, the springtime buildup would be explosive.

    What happens when you leave a 2 queen hive as a 2 queen hive all winter?

  13. #53
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    >Have you tried banking nucs in your long hive?
    Something like 2 frames w/queen - excluder- single frame - excluder- 2 frames w/queen - excluder-single frame - excluder- 2 frames w/queen....ect.

    No but I've made the mistake of leaving an excluder on and the cluster left the queen behind. Im quite certain the bees will all cluster around one of those queens and most of the queens will be left to die.

    >I am aiming at banking queens through the winter with out putting them in little boxes.

    I'm banking some this winter in a five frame nuc with a terrarium heater under it and in the middle of my row of nucs with the heater. So far they are doing well, but we'll see what winter brings.

    >The premiss I am going with is that if you can make a 2 queen hive, then 3,4, or 5 should be posable.

    But I don't see how it would help other than wintering queens, and to do that, my theory was to cram enough bees into the nuc to keep the cluster big enough to cover the queens, feed them so they don't starve, and keep them warm enough that the cluster won't shrink too much and leave them too cold.

    >I was told that keeping them in queen cages all winter stresses them, therefore weakens them.

    I don't see that it matters. The queen won't lay all winter anyway.

    >Do you think the clusters would abondon a queen for a prettier smelling one?

    No, but they will abandon her for a warm spot in the main cluster in a heartbeat.

    >I understand that if this did work, the springtime buildup would be explosive.

    It won't.

    >What happens when you leave a 2 queen hive as a 2 queen hive all winter?

    The bees all move to cluster in one spot and they may even leave BOTH queens behind. In the winter the bees aren't looking for the queen, they are looking for a warm spot in the cluster and the cluster isn't looking for the queen, the cluster is looking for a warm spot with food.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #54
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    thanks , I was just getting back on to see if this had already been discussd in another thread. Sorry to go off thread with that, but in my mind it was all related.

  15. #55
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    When I've done something similar, I just did one deep for each queen and tried to keep it from getting to congetsted
    That's what I'thinking to do. Did you find less/equal/more honey near the brood in this configuration than in conventional SQ? And how about the pollen ditribution?

    I put two bound excluders between
    That's exatly what I thought to be necessary, but some authors report they use only one excluder. In the other hand, they previously keep the hives piled for a week or more with a double, bee-proof screen. Maybe this helps the queens to get used with the pheromones of each other and decreases the mutual agressive tendency.

    Either a hole in the box, or a notch in the bound excluder etc.
    I was thinking of an entrance in the excluders, but I think they'd have to be large enough to support the heavy traffic in the season (would a small landing board help/encourage the bees to use this entrance?). But then maybe the rims would have to be a little higher, for providing a useful entrance, and that could slightly violate the bee space. Anyway, maybe excluders should come normally with a closable entrance, don't you think so?

    João

  16. #56
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    >Did you find less/equal/more honey near the brood in this configuration than in conventional SQ? And how about the pollen ditribution?

    I think it's typical of a regular hive. There is the bee's tendancy to start backfilling the brood nest to prepare to swarm and then you have to open it up. But up until then they will be expanding it. Pollen, of course, is always near the brood. Some colonies will store lots of it and others just some. I never figured out why but it must be just a genetic variation.


    >That's exatly what I thought to be necessary, but some authors report they use only one excluder.

    Maybe one would work. I never tried it, to be honest, but I think they might fight otherwise.

    >In the other hand, they previously keep the hives piled for a week or more with a double, bee-proof screen. Maybe this helps the queens to get used with the pheromones of each other and decreases the mutual agressive tendency.

    Maybe.

    >I was thinking of an entrance in the excluders, but I think they'd have to be large enough to support the heavy traffic in the season (would a small landing board help/encourage the bees to use this entrance?).

    I don't see any difference with landing boards. I think they are to make beekeepers feel better. [img]smile.gif[/img] I guess my point was that drones can get out. You can have other entrances that are larger.

    >But then maybe the rims would have to be a little higher, for providing a useful entrance

    1/4" high will do. Anything over 3/8" is just more ventilation and probably won't speed up traffic any.

    > and that could slightly violate the bee space.

    Slightly larger than bee space at the entrance is easier to get away with since the bees don't tend to burr up a high traffic area.

    >Anyway, maybe excluders should come normally with a closable entrance, don't you think so?

    Seems like a good idea. [img]smile.gif[/img] I don't really use them so I don't think about it much.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #57
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    Joao
    Take look at this 2 queen board we use in New Zealand commercial hives.If you want a complete breakdown on the simplicity on how these two queen hives are created,ease of making increases, reason for placement of queen excluder section and placement of queens for pheomones just contact me off line if you wish.

    http://tinyurl.com/btze5

    [size="1"][ December 16, 2005, 12:52 PM: Message edited by: Bob Russell ][/size]
    BOB

  18. #58
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    Hey Bob, Us lurkers would like the complete breakdown too! Could you please post all that good two queen info to the list?

    Thanks, Patrick

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