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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    1,875

    Default Two queen hives for overwintering

    Here's what I am doing this fall. Not my idea, I've seen it many times on the internet and some have made reference to Michael Palmers system that is similer, I believe.

    A little different than a split. Divided 10 frame deep box's. You don't really make a split so to speak, you have the same size hive, same amount of bees and frames. Just divide with a queen on each side. Let them mingle above a queen excluder. If one queen dies overwinter it is said they will move to the other side to cluster with the other queen.

    I am doing this to many of my hives due to a surplus of really nice queens.

    2 divided deeps with pollen patty above brood nest.



    Add third box for fall expansion. Queen excluder on top.



    Some of the queen excluders need a small pan head screw in the center to keep it tight to the divider.



    Bees can mingle above if the two queens are established in their hives and laying well. Here you see they share a top feeder:



    Blue tape has notes about each side and each queen



    Perfect is close enough when dividing the box's. You will invariably have some irregularities on wood at some point. Then use the old carpenters saying;
    A little putty, little paint we can make it what it ain't ! In this case I use clear silicone to fill in any gaps.



    Always staple your bottom first. This must be perfect to avoid bees sneaking through. You can calk the top easier than the bottom if necessary.



    I use 3/8 plywood for my dividers. If you trim of the shoulder on two frames you can get five on each side if they are not drawn out too fat. If you use solid wood for the divider beware it can shrink after you install it and leave a gap at the top or bottom. Plywood is more stable. I'll be overwintering at least 35 hives just like this + my full sized hives. The love the vertical hive set up.

    Here's my bottom board. Fully screened with a divider and entrance on each side. This is for mated queen use. For mating nucs I have an entrance on each end. Screened front landing deck for my wet winter climate.


    Divided mating nuc ready for second box:
    Last edited by Lauri; 08-15-2012 at 01:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    442

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    Hi Lauri, looks great.
    Looks just like the Nuc boxes we are going to make up.
    We just started a single Nuc with mated queen and plan to over-winter them on top of an established hive.
    Hope it goes as planned for you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,872

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    It looks like a great idea to me but I have a thought for you. In extreme cold winters, maybe the bees won't go thru the excluder to get stores needed for the clusters below. Just a thought. I guess you'll be finding out how it works for you in your location this winter, and keep us posted with the results in spring.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    Lauri: Nice work!

    Ray: Regardless of whether or not the workers will migrate up through the excluder as stores are consumed, the queen can't, and would be left behind as the cluster moves up. I'm sure Lauri will pull the excluder at the appropriate time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,872

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    Won't be able to pull the excluder as the box above the excluder is not divided, I think, from the post... and the queens would then be able to get at each other.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
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    1,875

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    No box above excluder, just a little room to mingle if they want. I have a feeder on the photo above just for fall.
    My top screen has about a 3/4" space for pollen patty and top entrance. No possibility of the bees leaving the queen below to freeze or starve. If they run low on stores I would add another divided box with more feed above the cluster.

    So in this configuration, you would see the queen excluder under this type of screen. I fold up a food grade burlap sack with some shavings in it and insulate the space on top between the screen and top cover. Just add an empty super to house the sack.




  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Australia, NSW
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    No box above excluder, just a little room to mingle if they want.
    So if that's the case, what you are doing is making to nuc hives 3 deep. Seems like a lot of trouble compared to running 2 separate hives 1 or 2 deep? The taller the stack the greater temperature gradient, should be easier to maintain temps in a shallower single hive I expect?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    Hi Lauri:

    Awesome work! I used a similar setup to get my nucs built up for wintering. There is only one drawback to this setup - it is a pain to get them separated once you want to move them to new equipment.

    I kept mine just until the queens started laying and then put them into singles. Once you have to move them to new quarters you have to deal with a bunch of bees left on the bottom and the walls and moving them to their new home while trying to keep the quuens with their respective colonies. Not fun. After this year's lesson I think I am going to stick to stand-alone 5 frame nucs or put them straight into singles with a moveable dummy wall to restrict the initial space.

    Maria

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    1,875

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    No doubt single nucs are easier to manage and handle. But you get more bang for your buck with 10 frame deeps, no matter how you arrange it. I build all my bottoms divided whether I need them or not and all my 10 frame lids fit any hive.

    I did these last year and yes, they are a pain to inspect or treat, etc when you first start handling them. Two high would be best, but some will have to be three just because they are to big. I have my system for inspecting and it isn't too hard. My cart has a solid surface and I just turn my top screen on end to keep the sides seperate. They rarely boil over.

    But for overwintering I love them. Share the warmth, etc.
    Each of these colonies would fill a 10- frame deep, but when they cluster up for winter tend to go to one side and stay there. In the divided narrow hive they can move up or down much easier to feed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, Washington, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    100 TD, for winter, you will not be inspecting them all the time, so that's not really a big issue. In this setup, however, the bees have the added benefit of always moving up to eat, so they will not make a mistake of going to a side that they already ate.

    Basically the cluster is moving up unobstructed via intraframe highway, rather then doing hurdles over the frames as each one gets depleted off honey.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,151

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    Lauri, with all your monkey frogging around that you do, how much honey do you get with how many hives? You have the skill for carving wood that others would dream of but I wonder what your yields are for the effort you put in. Should we admire you woodcraft as much as your beekeeping?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,755

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Lauri, with all your monkey frogging around that you do, how much honey do you get with how many hives? You have the skill for carving wood that others would dream of but I wonder what your yields are for the effort you put in. Should we admire you woodcraft as much as your beekeeping?
    Lauri is the next person whos postings I'll miss on Beesource.

    While I don't know what "monkey frogging" is, I do recognize creativity and craftsmanship when I see it. Lauri has brought an incredible amount of enthusiasm to the forum and has proudly shared her work with us.

    Acebird, If you were following Lauri's work at all you would know that she has been building up hive numbers and working on raising queens. I suspect that your honey yield might be comparable to Lauri's.

    Lauri has been kind to you in her postings so you can admire her for that, in addition to her beekeeping and woodcrafting skills.
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    There are 3-5 people whom it seems can always be counted on to tell you you are wrong.
    I know it isn't literally "always", and that it is just a perception, but [name redacted lest I be perceived of personal attack in violation of rules] seems to be one of them.

    Beesource can be a valuable resource, though, and so I continue to participate despite that irritation.

    He and [name also redacted] in particlar also often make it unpleasant to to participate here.
    Maybe they aren't aware how unpleasant they often are.
    I've spoken with one of them on the phone, and he was very pleasant in when communicating that way.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,151

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    She should be proud of her work it is excellent like I have said. Monkey frogging is doing what you like to do with out expecting something in return for you toil. Is there a reason to separate single 10 frame boxes and run them three or four high when that makes it harder to work the bees? I am trying to see the logic. How is that an advantage to running two hives two boxes high? Does it give an advantage when you are trying to raise queens? Is there some other purpose?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, Washington, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    FYI, Lauri is in the same boat as the Boy named Sue. I believe Lauri is a male version of Laury name, but I am willing to stand corrected.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    Good craftsmanship and nice looking supers. I don't plan to add butons/snaps to mine though!

    Members need to think about how their posting may be offensive to others and there is no need for tactless posting of this nature.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,134

    Thumbs Up Monkey frogging is good ;)

    I do what pleases me concerning my bees. They are my hobby, I can afford to keep them without financial gain. I enjoy reading how people do different things. Some ideas work out, some don't. Some equipment or processes work for some but not others. The times that people think outside the box are the times that new things can be (re)discovered and we can all benefit from the risks others have taken. Maybe someday I'll give one of Lauri's queens a try.

    I'm working on a Master's degree in Monkey Frogging (a term I learned from Acebird today). I've flown in between machine gun bullets overseas, driven cars too fast, climbed mountains, cross country skied and many more exciting things......But, since my first hive in 1977, Nothing gives me more of a thrill than working a strong, defensive hive, with all the uproar that entails. When that is done and things are right in the hive, Nothing gives me more peace. Monkey frogging is good
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryville, tn, usa
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    Quote Originally Posted by AramF View Post
    FYI, Lauri is in the same boat as the Boy named Sue. I believe Lauri is a male version of Laury name, but I am willing to stand corrected.
    You stand corrected she has posted pictures posing with a elk she took bow hunting.

    And Lauri we like you picures, ideas, and follow ups. Like all forums some are just caustic they dont know better. Keep us posted on how the winter I can see that this could keep two queens alive through winter with the same amount of equipment essentially.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    Cool idea Lauri! And I really like the super adornments. I find my neighbours and guests are much less afraid of the hives, and more enthusiastic about backyard beekeeping if the hives are decorated in some way, and the bees are able to orient better too among otherwise identical housing.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Hinesburg, Vermont, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Two queen hives for overwintering

    I'm planning on building up some nucs using this method next year. Lauri, what's your bottom board look like? I can't quite make it out. Is it screened, perchance?

    Ken

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