How can I make a double queen hive with one hive?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    69

    Default How can I make a double queen hive with one hive?

    It's almost at the end of spring here and I've got a hive in a deep box, probably 6 drawn frames. They are recovering from an infertile queen and I just introduced a new queen today.
    I'm pretty keen to get honey from this hive before the season ends but as you can see it's a little behind.
    I understand having a double queen hive boosts its growth rate significantly but comes with extra work and more prone to swarming.

    I was thinking once they draw out a few more frames, I could split them in half for a day and introduce a new queen in the queenless split. Then after several days allowing new queen to be accepted, move both splits into a deep box each. After that, combine them with the newspaper method with a sheet of newspaper and a queen excluder in between.

    Would this work? Is there a better way I could do it?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Tampere, Finland
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: How can I make a double queen hive with one hive?

    Tempted to say don't bother, it won't really help, one queen can lay as many eggs as that amount of workers can take care of, and trying to split it for two queens might just make things worse, even if the plan is to combine later.

    Also when I tried this last spring, it was suggested newspaper probably is not enough for hive with two queens, you need to put a 'net' that they can't get through for several days to give them time to get used to each other.
    Contrasting opinions from northern Europe.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Powhatan, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: How can I make a double queen hive with one hive?

    The queens can fight through the excluder.
    Some folks use two excluders with a super in between.
    Or a side by side arrangement with an excluder and a shared super above.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Topsham, Maine
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: How can I make a double queen hive with one hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Qkrwogud View Post
    It's almost at the end of spring here and I've got a hive in a deep box, probably 6 drawn frames. They are recovering from an infertile queen and I just introduced a new queen today.
    I'm pretty keen to get honey from this hive before the season ends but as you can see it's a little behind.
    I understand having a double queen hive boosts its growth rate significantly but comes with extra work and more prone to swarming.

    I was thinking once they draw out a few more frames, I could split them in half for a day and introduce a new queen in the queenless split. Then after several days allowing new queen to be accepted, move both splits into a deep box each. After that, combine them with the newspaper method with a sheet of newspaper and a queen excluder in between.

    Would this work? Is there a better way I could do it?
    You can also split a 10 frame box into two compartments with a divider board. Depending on how thin the divider is, you can fit either 4 frames per side or 5 frames per side. Once you sort out your frames and put your Queen in one side you can add a Cell or Mated Queen to the other side. Once they reach a certain level add an excluder on top followed by supers. This would be a two queen hive sharing supers.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,260

    Default Re: How can I make a double queen hive with one hive?

    One queen can keep roughly 6 frames full of eggs, so if you have only 6 drawn frames, no point to trying to get a two queen hive going.

    It's fairly strait forward math, a queen will typically be laying 1500 eggs a day. From egg to emerge is 20 days, so there will typically be about 30,000 cells in use for brood rearing in all stages from egg to emerging brood. I know we all like to see photos of the wall to wall brood frame, but, those are not typical, they are the exception. Typical usually has a band of pollen around the brood, and some honey above. A deep frame has roughly 7000 cells, of which, 5000 will be in use for raising brood if the colony is strong enough to support a full size brood nest. At 5000 cells per frame, a queen can fill 6 frames before the first one is emerging and she can go back to that frame. In addition, that colony will need 4 of more frames for storing incoming stuff during the early flow, hence over time folks have settled on box size of 10 deep frames as a 'brood box'. Then during a strong flow, a lot of nectar will be coming in, so that same colony will need another box of drawn frames for storing stuff to discourage backfilling in the brood nest.

    With only 6 frames drawn, your battle will be to prevent swarming once they start backfilling that brood nest with nectar. Splitting it and trying to make a two queen system will exacerbate that problem, not solve it, as you will be down to 3 drawn frames per brood nest.

    How fast will the colony draw out new frames now that you have introduced a new queen ? That depends on how many young nurse bees and wax makers are in the colony. If the prior queen was indeed poor, and the new one is prolific, most of the young bees will end up focussed on feeding brood because suddenly the hive will have LOTS of eggs, where it didn't before. If there are enough young nurse bees in the colony to feed that amount of brood, then you may see significant amounts of wax being made to draw new comb. OTOH, if there aren't a lot of bees at the right age for that task, it may take 30 days (time for the new brood to emerge) before you see a lot of wax being made to draw more frames.

    My take on it overall, if you have one weak hive, trying to turn it into something else by splitting, wont work. There are not enough resources available to support two brood nests. Until there are 20 drawn frames for brood nest duty, and _at least_ 10 more for nectar storage, there is no point trying to co-erce a two queen system in the hive.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Eldersburg, MD, USA
    Posts
    324

    Default Re: How can I make a double queen hive with one hive?

    I tried a vertical two-queen system for 2 of my colonies this past year (so 4 queens). A populous colony helps with brood care.

    My arrangement was as follows: deep with queen, excluder, 2-3 drawn supers, excluder, deep with queen. Each colony has its own entrance. The idea is that the nurse bees will move between the supers to care for the brood. It worked to an extent but became very unwieldy. I never felt that the top hive got as much "attention" as the bottom. But that may be my lack of familiarity/comfort with the system.

    Next year I'm going to experiment with this: http://www.beeculture.com/the-horizo...-queen-system/
    Two-queen systems are supposedly ideal for short nectar flows which is definitely what we have.

    Regarding the new queen. If the colony is STRONG, you can remove some emerging brood from the main colony to help set-up the new colony. However, as mentioned above, it doesn't sound like a good idea right now especially if you have fewer bees due to a failed queen.

    But something to try for next year!

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