Double queen colonies for honey production
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  1. #1

    Default Double queen colonies for honey production

    I would like to hear what you think about double queen colonies pros and cons for honey production

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Nacogdoches, TX, USA
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    168

    Default

    Deleted. Sorry, I totally misread your original post. I read double deeps. Not queens.

    I will comment that a mentor of mine kept several double queen hives and according to him the bees went right along being bees. He didn’t mention any significant increase or decrease in honey production. I will try to get ahold of him to ask more specifics. I’m sure someone with more experience will come along on the forum.

    Ryan

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
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    1,189

    Default Re: Double queen colonies for honey production

    Just to be clear on what you are asking. Are you referring to raising two colonies that are separated by a double screen board?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,913

    Default Re: Double queen colonies for honey production

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    4,875

    Default Re: Double queen colonies for honey production

    I have done the side by side nucs with common honey supers on top but not long enough to see if there was any honey advantage. It does make the individual colonies harder to work.

    What I have done for a few years with good results is the two queen system Michael Bush describes in the last paragraph of his link in post #4. I use the snelgrove boards more as a swarm control method an rearing a few queens at the same time. The upper box colony and division board is above the supered bottom box so that has to come off for access. The upper colony above the division board raises mostly bees which are regularly diverted to the production colony below. This keeps the upper box relatively light so it is just awkward to lift off, but not impossible.

    Lifting is becoming an issue so I am considering some options but otherwise I find the Snellgrove system to be very workable for my weather and flow conditions. I dont think it is something I would want to do with a large number of colonies though.
    Frank

  7. #6

    Default

    Yes 2 separate colonies side by side and they both work on honey production

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    New Paltz, New York, USA
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    78

    Default Re: Double queen colonies for honey production

    Usually side-by-side colonies are used as nucs. They overwinter well that way, and like any nuc you can take resources from them to give to production colonies, or replace losses.

    But yeah, if you throw a queen excluder and some supers on top, then sure, they'll store honey. But I think few if any commercial operations use two-colony hives for the bulk of their honey production. I think the main reasons are just minor management hassles compared to standard hives.

    For example, Ian Steppler in Canada runs some 3-colony hives. It's basically 3 nucs on bottom, then two stacks of 10-frame supers, with a layer of queen excluders in between. Seems to work great, but it's not like he's switched his whole operation to that setup. I think it's more like a way to keep his nucs from swarming and get some honey to boot.

    As a beginning backyard beekeeper I've run some double nucs, and sometimes supered them when they were growing out of control. It worked fine, but I think ideally I'd pull resources more aggressively and not need to super.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
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    1,189

    Default Re: Double queen colonies for honey production

    We have beekeepers in this area that raise one hive on top of another and separated with a double screen. Just before the blackberry flow, one queen is removed and the hives are merged together as one giant hive. The increase in colony size will increase the honey harvest considerably and it will be much more than the 2 separate hives will produce. It is a lot of work to do it correctly an there is plenty of manipulation required. The blackberry flow is fairly early here and comes right at the end of the swarm season. Keeping the 2 hives from swarming before combining them is difficult. Simple inspections are also tough because you have an entire hive on top of another and getting to the one on the bottom requires you to totally disassemble the hive on top. The beeks in the area that use it swear by it. I personally swear at it.

  10. #9

    Default

    Sounds like I’ll have to experiment in the spring with 2 hives and see what happens

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Double queen colonies for honey production

    I started with 1 hive from a split. It was from an experience beekeeper and it was a very good split.

    The next year it swarmed and I caught the swarm and put it in a deep and added another deep. It made it through the winter as did the original.

    I then caught a wild swarm this spring and it has 2 deeps full of goods.

    So, I now have 3 colonies going into winter.

    THREE is all I want—period.

    I got about 30 pounds of honey this spring and the fall harvest produced nearly 100 pounds from the 1st 2 colonies—the wild swarm was filling the 2 deeps with brood and such.

    I have to borrow an extractor as I really am not going to spend the money for one as I am a bit uncertain I will maintain the "hobby"

    I still have nearly 50 pounds of honey not likely to sell it. We don’t advertise and really don’t have much concern selling.

    So, I guess I will feed the honey back to the bees as winter arrives.

    THREE is all I want—period. They are much more work than the books indicate!

    Don’t make it a job, make it a hobby—yea right.

    Good-luck...1/33rd

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