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  1. #1
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    Aug 2009
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    Default 2 queen colony questions

    A two queen colony with a queen excluder separating colonies.

    1. Is this a nuc type situation or can you grow this colony to share a honey super? A Qn X would be necessary between brood super & Honey super.

    What is the benefit of a 2Q colony vs two individual colonies?

    If you can peacefully & productively maintain a 2 Qn colony, what is to stop you from a Qn bank type box w/Qn X separating any others? (room for brood?)
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Phoenixville, PA
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    579

    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    I forget the name, but I'm thinking about trying it this year.

    If I recall correctly, two deeps on typical bottom board, a double queen excluder, another deep with second queen and top entrance above, supers above that. The double excluders keep the queens from stinging each other. The top entrance also lets the drones out. I've got a 3/8" spacer made to use between excluders.

    The thinking is workers below will travel past the double excluders to the supers above. More workers per super. I hear you need to harvest throughout to keep super space available and help avoid swarming. When described to me, that configuration helps make full and presentable comb honey.

    Keep us posted.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    725

    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    You will get more honey off the nucs with a 2 ways system. Remember that one strong hive will outproduce two smaller colonies.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
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    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    Quote Originally Posted by lakebilly View Post
    A two queen colony with a queen excluder separating colonies.

    1. Is this a nuc type situation or can you grow this colony to share a honey super? A Qn X would be necessary between brood super & Honey super.
    I used a double width hive with a vertical queen excluder in the middle. Thinking 3x width would have worked better to have easier access to brood nests. You can put a queen excluder under the shared supers on top.

    Quote Originally Posted by lakebilly View Post
    What is the benefit of a 2Q colony vs two individual colonies?
    - Combination of desired qualities. For example: one hygienic, the other a great honey producer.
    - Produces a bit more honey than two separate colonies due to increased numbers.

    Quote Originally Posted by lakebilly View Post
    If you can peacefully & productively maintain a 2 Qn colony, what is to stop you from a Qn bank type box w/Qn X separating any others? (room for brood?)
    Allows more room for each brood nest.

    Other things includes:
    - If a queen dies or is removed the hive continues without any setbacks.
    - My hive drew out nearly 50 deep frames of foundationless comb (without feeding).

    Here's more details about my experiences: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...fferent-breeds

  5. #5
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    Aug 2009
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    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    Matt, Your post is what prompted my interest along w/ a suggestion that it would be a good way to replace some of the 40+ hives I lost this year. I saved your post to my favorites until I get the whole idea cemented in my thick skull.

    Without building a dbl wide, just split a 10 frame down the middle w/QnX?


    Any pics of your setup? I can't visualize the super above a double wide.(20 frames horizontal?)

    throrope, interesting. bottom box lets drones out through porch exit? 3 deeps & Honey supers sounds like heavy lifting. Sounds like a good way to take brood frames, add queen for overwintering, or taking capped brood for cell builder.
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Grass Valley, California, USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    I know of a russian man who disigned a two queen hive that was divided vertically. I have also been told of a man who made a 15 hive super. I am a jr in high school and I am going to do my senior project on the differant numbers of queens in one hive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Livingston County, NY
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    527

    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    post it here.
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
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    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    Lakebilly, below is a photo of the setup with supers. The half width boxes on each side allow easy access to the brood chambers. The top entrances are into these and access to the super is via each roof. There is a pallet on top in the photo, which is not needed.

    There is a vertical queen excluder in the center of the double width box. A queen excluder goes under the super. So the queen excluders are in a "T" shape. There is 14 frames for each queen.

    The half width boxes are also great for making Nucs and it makes it easy to do a split.

    I had to add another level of supers on as well. So thinking a 3x width box may be better if wanting a horizontal hive.

    I found frames were drawn quickly in the half width boxes, so I moved frames to the center super and they would then cure the nectar there. Then more frames were drawn in the half width boxes.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Livingston County, NY
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    527

    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    Nice! This is when a "like" selection would be good.

    Are you getting brood in the nuc boxes? I bet you could get a lot of nurse bees in the center box for cell starters.

    What does the honey supers look like? a nuc box on each end & 10 frame in middle like the pic?

    I think I am going to make a couple of these.
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
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    660

    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    Yes, getting brood in the Nuc boxes. That's why I said each queen has 14 frames. 10 in the bottom and 4 in the Nucs.

    I just had 10 frames supers above that. But you could just continue with the Nucs on the sides if you wanted. May need to put a strap on then.

    I should also mention that they started winter as two 4 frame colonies with a solid partition in the center. Once they had 3 frames of brood each, I then merged them with the vertical queen excluder.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,142

    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    >1. Is this a nuc type situation or can you grow this colony to share a honey super?

    Usually a two queen hive is two booming brood nests with one stack of supers. This greatly increases honey production.

    > A Qn X would be necessary between brood super & Honey super.
    >What is the benefit of a 2Q colony vs two individual colonies?

    Production. More surplus workers to make a surplus.

    >If you can peacefully & productively maintain a 2 Qn colony, what is to stop you from a Qn bank type box w/Qn X separating any others? (room for brood?)

    I've never tried that many queens. None would have room to lay much...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestwoqueenhive.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
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    Aug 2009
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    Livingston County, NY
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    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    Michael, do you run any 2 colony hives?

    48 3/4" is that inside or outside dimensions?

    How do they cluster in the winter & is it harder in a cold winter for them to break cluster & move?

    Thx Matt.

    Would you suggest top entrances?

    I take it you stack a 10 medium in the center w/ migratory lids @ each end.

    Monitoring for swarms weekly?

    I bet you could get a lot of nurse bees in a center box for cell starters. I want to raise queens w/cloakeboard, would you say this setup would be a good way?
    Last edited by lakebilly; 04-23-2013 at 06:20 PM.
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    >Michael, do you run any 2 colony hives?

    Most years, a few, yes.

    >48 3/4" is that inside or outside dimensions?

    Outside.

    >How do they cluster in the winter & is it harder in a cold winter for them to break cluster & move?

    I pull the excluders for winter and they cluster at one end.

    >Would you suggest top entrances?

    If you have two brood nests on the bottom, I would give them each an entrance, and if you have a stack of supers on top I would give them an entrance at the top. A booming two queen hive has no issues with robbing. They are just too strong. They are so strong, usually, that they can get intimidating...

    >Monitoring for swarms weekly?

    I guess I never went weekly, but the whole purpose of having a long brood box at the bottom is so I can get to the brood chamber to monitor things like backfilling the brood nest or swarm cells.

    >I bet you could get a lot of nurse bees in a center box for cell starters. I want to raise queens w/cloakeboard, would you say this setup would be a good way?

    Any strong hive will do to get more bees for a cell starter. Certainly the density of bees in a two queen hive tends to be high.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    I have 4/ 10 frame deeps split in middle w/luaun. I was thinking that I would swap the luaun for an excluder & start 4 2 Qn colonies until I get the 4' boxes built. Starting w/a split 10 frame seems to me to be a safer way than dropping 4 frames x 2 of bees in a 4' box.

    I want to raise queens w/cloakeboard, would you say this setup would be a good way?

    Matt was saying that they tend to draw out frames faster in the nuc boxes.
    What does the frame config look like; Empty-H/P- Brood- Brood-H/P -QnX-H/P-Brood-Brood-H/P-Empty?
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Victoria, Australia
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    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    As Michael said, for winter put each brood nest hard up against an end and put in a solid partition to divide them. This is so they don't get isolated from honey during winter. The partition is because the first queen to start laying in early spring may be preferred and the bees get rid of the other one. That is why I wait until they both have a few frames of brood, before merging the two.

    I tried different entrance configurations and prefer having both top and bottom entrances. The bottom entrances are small, only a 1/2" most of the year and opened up more when very hot. The top entrances are in the lid. The bottom ends in the photo can be pulled out.

    Had no issues with swarming. I believe this is because they were constantly building the comb in the Nucs. I also tried to made sure there was always about 1/3 open brood and plenty of space for the queen to lay in. If there isn't, I would insert a new (foundationless) frame BESIDE the broodnest.

    I raised queens by just by placing a couple of brood frames a couple of boxes away from a brood nest or just do a spilt by removing a Nuc box with some brood in it. I did three splits with this hive as well.

    The 4 frames in each of the Nucs were mostly nectar/honey, but occasionally had some brood in the bottom of them. I would move two of the nectar/honey frames into the Supers and replace them with new (foundationless) frames. Didn't seem to matter much if alternated or just put on the outsides. If two had brood I would keep them together.

    Make sure you have gentle strains of bees, because you have a lot more bees to deal with.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    That is why I wait until they both have a few frames of brood, before merging the two.

    You remove the Qn excluder?
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,594

    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    Isn't it easier to manage a Tower Hive?



    http://beeinformed.org/2012/06/tower-hives/
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
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    660

    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    Lakebilly, yes I remove the queen excluder and replace with a follower board.

    Beecurious, it may well be easier with two separate hives next to each other in a tower configuration. Especially if you are just trying it without wanting to make special equipment. I started off with the longhive, then decided to try two queens. I also wanted the bees to be able to freely mix between the brood nests, rather than just in the supers.

    I think the larger area (2x 10 frame) of brood nests under the supers encourages comb building.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Livingston County, NY
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    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    when do you remove excluder?

    what's the difference other than a period of time(?) with the two tower config?
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: 2 queen colony questions

    Lots of ways to run two queen hives. One thing I have experienced that has not been mentioned here. Many times the bees will prefer one queen over another. Maybe not right away, but eventually, They will jump ship to the other side, especially when over wintering. Perhaps one queen has more pheromone and is more actively laying over winter than the other. Hard to say why.
    Remember, when banking queens you must add them all at once. Any new younger queens that are installed will get preferential treatment and the older queens will be neglected. Same would go for multiple queen hives. I'd introduce them at the same time, possibly make them with queen cells or newly hatched virgins of the same age and from the same queen mother if possible. Multiple Daughters are generally more tolerated within one hive it seems.
    Timing is importaint. Remeber bees are more defensive in the late fall because of pressure from robbing. I would have the hives assembled before the day length starts getting shorter.
    Two queen hives are something done in Alaska, since they have a pretty short season. You might look that up..I don't have any links handy.
    I ran divided deeps X2 with Q excluder on top so bees could mingle and share supplimental feed too. If you do this, grow them in these box's, don't try to move them into it from a different box.. The disruption of the colonies interior arrangement sets them back and they won't winter well if it is done late fall.

    Also remember at some point you will have to seperate these colonies because of their size. That will also set them back because of broodnest disruption. All in all, it sounds like a good idea, but I won't do it again unless I have mating nucs I want to leave intact to overwinter.

    Those that experiment with it be sure to let us know your results!

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