Mating Queens in Two Queen Hive under Shared Super
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  1. #1
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    May 2019
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    Idaho, USA
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    Default Mating Queens in Two Queen Hive under Shared Super

    I am new here and asked this question of a couple of people and it was suggested that I post it.

    If a ripe queen cell is placed in a divided hive under an excluded super that is shared with a queenright hive on the other side of the division, will the bees hatch and raise this virgin queen and will she mate and return to lay in her half of the divided hive? I suppose it would basically be like mating nucs sharing a super separated by a queen excluder.

    I have read many posts on the subject but cannot find many firm answers. It seems some say it can be done but I have not seen specifics and others say she will hatch but not be mated or brought to mature laying status.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Mating Queens in Two Queen Hive under Shared Super

    Quite a few articles about it mention the need to have similar age, condition, queen in each side to keep from having the bees choose one or the other of the queens. Quite recently an article mentioned unpredictable results in regard to queen rearing procedures.
    Frank

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Mating Queens in Two Queen Hive under Shared Super

    Thank you. Unpredictable is what I had gathered from my reading also. Perhaps the better question to have asked would be is there anything one could do to improve the odds of success?

    This is not of commercial or financial concern. My son mostly runs the beehives but I find some of these things interesting and like to experiment.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Warren County, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: Mating Queens in Two Queen Hive under Shared Super

    i have tried a few times with zero success. Yes, it would be nice to use honey producing setups as mating nucs. in my experience it wont work this way tho. two queen hives are successful if they are created with queens of the same age and lineage. any deviation has not worked for me. perhaps when bees sense an imbalance of queen pheromone then only one queen is maintained. double nucs work for mating, but not if they are connected with a shared super over an excluder. maybe try pheremone strip to improve success?

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Mating Queens in Two Queen Hive under Shared Super

    I agree with both queens needing to have the same status. I've experienced absconding to that half of the box which presents the 'better' chance of survival several times, both with a virgin and a mated queen in adjoining boxes, and with an ageing queen and a first-year queen housed in the same setup.

    Perhaps the better question to have asked would be is there anything one could do to improve the odds of success?
    It might be worth considering pulling the mated queen, and placing her (say) into a nuc box with a frame of bees, and then placing ripe q/cells in both halves of the double-queen set-up. That way both halves of the double hive will have more-or-less the same status, and you'll then have a Q+ve Nuc as insurance against failure, or as a means of expansion ...

    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Mating Queens in Two Queen Hive under Shared Super

    Double Queen.jpg

    This is a setup that I have run in the past. The bottom two boxes were originally mating nucs, where cells were inserted simultaneously, with small entrances facing in opposite directions (Michael Palmer style). As the brood nest grew, I supered with additional 4-frame nucs, then placed an excluder over the tops of the nucs and started supering with 10 frame equipment.

    I like this configuration and have had good production with it. However, I have the same concerns as others have expressed with having one queenright beside a new mating nuc with a fresh queen cell. I like the TempQueen idea that reaper floated. Don't know if that would work or not.

  8. #7
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    May 2019
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    Idaho, USA
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    Default Re: Mating Queens in Two Queen Hive under Shared Super

    Thanks for the ideas. I had read/watched some of Michael Palmer's stuff and it just got me thinking of combining production with queen rearing. I assumed all along I was far from the first to have such ideas but still find them interesting to play with. I figure that even if I try something that is unlikely to succeed maybe I will learn something else to try along the way.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Mating Queens in Two Queen Hive under Shared Super

    I think you might have a better chance with a queen cell if you closed off the queen excluder on one side or the other.

    That would revert you two adjacent hives, as opposed to a two queen setup. Depending on the relative strengths of the colonies, you could give the super to whichever looked stronger.

    Ideally, once both were laying well, you could open it back up.

    I have a setup for doing that, and played with it in two hives last year. Due to my ineptitude and general lack of detailed record keeping, I can't give a definitive answer as to how well it worked.

    One hive made it through with both sub-colonies productive through the year, even though I had supercedures on both sides at different times, but generally while there was a good flow on. However, I didn't close off (split) the hive because the flow was on, and I figured the bees were too busy to notice.

    The other hive one side went queenless in the fall and despite my attempts to requeen all of the bees moved to the side with the queen, and took most of the honey with them. That was OK, as we have a long dearth in the fall, and otherwise I would have needed to feed them excessively. I didn't close that one off either, though I had closed it off earlier making a vertical split to a 4-queen hive, which ended in disaster. Don't even ask. I had made such a mess of managing that hive through ill-conceived manipulations that I lacked the confidence to do anything more with it. In retrospect, I suspect if I had closed off the top of the queenless side (in a dearth, neither side needs the supers) I might have had more success with requeening. In my observation, bees will keep using the entrance they learned to fly out of unless there is a reason to change.

    In the end, the bees gave me some honey, and I have 3 strong colonies going into winter.

    Comments on this would be welcomed, As I intend to use the same approach next year.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Mating Queens in Two Queen Hive under Shared Super

    I have used the cloake board to set the scene for cell starting and finishing and having honey supers on top would be a nuisance at the least, as you may be in and out of the brood hives quite a few times.

    I have a queen that is going into her second winter and that I want to raise queens from. I wont even bother supering that colony. I likely will have to pull some brood or maybe a nuc from her if she looks swarmy
    Frank

  11. #10

    Default Re: Mating Queens in Two Queen Hive under Shared Super

    True enough.

    I forgot to mention I have access to the lower hive bodies from the side (it is a different hive design). It makes it a little too easy to meddle with the brood chambers, perhaps.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Mating Queens in Two Queen Hive under Shared Super

    Quote Originally Posted by Beut Idaho View Post
    Thanks for the ideas. I had read/watched some of Michael Palmer's stuff and it just got me thinking of combining production with queen rearing. I assumed all along I was far from the first to have such ideas but still find them interesting to play with. I figure that even if I try something that is unlikely to succeed maybe I will learn something else to try along the way.
    When I tried this type idea 2 or 3 queen cells in the same hive body. Either I had a swarm issue, one queen would swarm, or they would find each other and fight so I ended up with 1 at the end any way.. I now just put the ripe cell in its own NUC with 3 frames for bees. Post mating, I often add a mated Queen, with 3 frames of bees over double queen excluder, and coast them up there to grow. It works much like a super bees eventually move up and start building cells. The queen then lays in them, soon the whole top 10 frames are full of bees and brood. At that point a split or requeen process can be done. Having more than one ripe cell in the same hive is somewhat unpredictable.
    GG

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Albany NY
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    Default

    In my experience running a 2 queen hive (palmer style, side by side, with shared supers) works when colonies are queen right with laying queens and brood. So place cells in nucs and super only after they are laying. Then in winter they need to be separated again. They behave as 1 hive, so both sides swarm together. If 1 queen stops laying the bees will choose the other queen.... Only reason to do it is if you have small colonies during a flow that othewise would not produce honey.

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