Vertical Two queen hive - Top entrance or not?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, CA
    Posts
    125

    Default Vertical Two queen hive - Top entrance or not?

    I normally don't use a top entrance, and am struggling with this.

    A top entrance will allow the bees in the top brood box to come and go, and then I can hope they store honey below.

    No top entrance will force them to integrate with the colony below, and come and go out the bottom entrance. I expect they'd integrate with the colony below.


    I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,707

    Default Re: Vertical Two queen hive - Top entrance or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Metropropolis View Post
    I normally don't use a top entrance, and am struggling with this.

    A top entrance will allow the bees in the top brood box to come and go, and then I can hope they store honey below.

    No top entrance will force them to integrate with the colony below, and come and go out the bottom entrance. I expect they'd integrate with the colony below.
    I sometimes run 3-queen vertical stacks - one queen in a full-sized brood box below, with two 5-frame nucs over, with a queen in each box. Each queen kept separate by the use of a QX. The nuc boxes have their own entrances to the sides, with the bottom box entrance facing the front. I then stand behind the stack for inspections.
    This setup has been working well, but is only ever intended to create a few strong nucleus colonies late in the season, when newly-formed stand-alone nucs would normally struggle to get up to size with their relatively small numbers of bees.

    Under such conditions, especially late in the season, honey storage doesn't really play a significant part (that's addressed separately) - and may be an issue you'll face, as bees have a very definite preference for storing honey above their brood whenever possible.

    My guess is that they won't store honey below their brood, but will store it largely to the side of the brood, as is seen with horizontal hives - although much will depend on the depth of frames in the top box.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Houston, TX, USA
    Posts
    646

    Default Re: Vertical Two queen hive - Top entrance or not?

    I've run 2 queen with a brood nest on the top and bottom allowing for both top and bottom entrances. As LJ said, this was to build up small colonies.

    For any sort of "production", you need to provide an entrance for the upper brood box with a drilled hole or an "Imrie Shim"; plan on honey storage above the whole thing with or without a top entrance.

    Any vertical setup creates issues for inspections; more boxes to move, risk of mixing queens, etc. If I were to plan on using 2 queen colonies I would look at side by side with supers above, but that means some at a minimum specialized covers. Ian Steppler has an interesting 3 nuc setup with standard 10 frame supers above I've considered. I just can't make the jump to pallets yet.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,483

    Default Re: Vertical Two queen hive - Top entrance or not?

    My experience with a vertical two queen is they have a short life span, 2 or 3 months and it is a 1 queen hive again.

    If your goal is to separate, than run upper entrance so you have field bees trained for the separation.

    I don't think they will build down well, top of the frames first and then very slowly down, but your bottom bees will build up, top entrance or not.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,922

    Default Re: Vertical Two queen hive - Top entrance or not?

    Every brood area will need an entrance for the drones to escape.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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