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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

Several months ago there was an excellent article in either Bee Culture or American Bee Journal that specifically outlined the procedures for setting up 2 queen hives to maximize ones yeild for comb honey production. (it also had the nifty added benefit of helping to prevent swarming). I, unfortunately have misplaced that issue (which really ammounts to putting it somewhere for safe keeping so I could pull it out this spring and follow the steps, and not being able to remember the safe keeping place:) - In any event, I would be greatly appreciative if someone could point me to a URL or web article that outlines this procudure, as I hope to apply it to several of my hives this spring.

The good news here (which does help offset the pain and shame of losing my bee-culture issue) is that all my hives have made it through the connecticut winter safe and sound. I have suffered 0 losses out of my 10 hives. This year I placed the plastic bottom trays under the screened bottom boards and wrapped each of the hives with Roofing felt.

Yesterday (Mar 18th) I pulled each of the bottom trays and searched for varroa - Worst case was a count of approximately 30-40 mites. Best case was a count of 5. I last pulled the trays and cleaned them sometime in mid December.

Last fall I utilized bi-weekly FGMO+Thymol fogging, and a late fall vapourization of Oxalic acid. So far this combination seems to be working for me here in Northeastern CT.


Cheers all

-todd
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the URL - that was exactly the article I was looking for.

After reading and reviewing the procedure I have a few questions. Hopefully someone can answer for me.

Querstion 1) In the first step of the procedure they recommend splitting the queen and brood chambers and laying the hive out in the following format (from top down)

(a) queen & brood chamber
(b) notched excluder
(c) empty half-comb super
(d) shallow super
(e) brood chamber

- (c) - the empty half comb super - is this simply just an empty super, devoid of frames cassettes, anything - essentially a hollow box?

- (d) - the shallow super - is this an empty shallow, should it contain frames, drawn comb? can I use foundation?


Question 2) At the end of the five week period, they advise reuniting the two seperate queenright colonies to form a two-queen colony:

- what is the recommended method of reuniting the two seperate colonies?

- do I keep the two queens seperated with an excluder - do I just join the colonies and let the two queens fight it out?


-- thanks
 

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The "empty" supers have the components inside (boxes, cassettes, frames, etc.)

Combine with newspaper, if you want. Or just combine and let the two queens find each other and fight it out.

By this time in the season, the advantages of two queens are over. One queen, hopefully the younger, will survive and carry on.
 

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What are your opinions on using Halfcomb vs. Ross Rounds?

Also, the procedure says to use a queen excluder "notched for drone exit". What does that mean?

Thanks
 

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Michael what do you think about this approach? Also, the article says after 5 weeks reunite the 2 hives...does this mean you only do this for the flow not the season, or, do you start the process 5 weeks prior to the flow?
 

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I have not read the article, so I can't say what I think of the whole method. I did my first experiments with two queen hives in 1975. My conclusion was that while it was a very effective way to have a super hive, it was more work than running three regular hives and I think I could get as much honey from the three hives for the less work. I didn't think it was worth the work.

But if you want to run a two queen hive you need to get a graps of the timing of everything. A cut down split will greatly increase your yeild also, for a lot less work, but it will not work either unless it's timed perfectly. Timing is the crux of all of this.

The timing is that you want to raise a lot of bees up until about 2 weeks before the flow. That's the point at which trying to raise more brood will tie up nurse bees taking care of the brood, that could be harvesting the honey. The brood they would be raising will not help with the harvest of the main flow, nor will they live long enough to overwitner. So from an economic point of view they are of no value and are actually a burden on the hive. At that point in time (two weeks before the flow) it would be better if you had no queen laying at all, and it would NOT be better to have two queens laying at that time.

If you time it right a two queen hive can make awesome harvests. If you time it wrong a two queen hive can eat up hundreds of pounds of stores and not make much honey at all.

Since the crux of it is timing and since a good cut down split will also double your harvest for less work, I don't do two queen hives anymore. I may do one again now that I have a system to cut down on the labor involved, but I still don't have a way to cut down on the tedium involved. Just a way to save lifting as many boxes and save disturbing the hive as much.
 

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So what do you do with all those bees going into the winter? It appears to me that it would enhance production, but, would you not need this as stores to feed through the winter because of the increase in population?
 

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I meant to say...would you need this as stores to feed...yada yada yada...

Also, I'm not sure what is meant by done exit. Is this just a regular notch like an entrance reducer?
 

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>So what do you do with all those bees going into the winter?

The bees you have during the harvest won't live to winter. The bees raised DURINg the harvest won't live to winter. SO you don't have to worry about that, but it's not effecient to keep increasing the population when the flow is going to run out before those bees do useful work. That's why you either do combine the two queens in the system you read about, to cut back on brood during and after the main flow.

>Also, I'm not sure what is meant by done exit. Is this just a regular notch like an entrance reducer?

Any notch that is 1/4" by 1/4" or bigger will let drones out. You can cut a notch in a bound queen excluder to do this. It's a drone exit because the top queen and brood nest is enclosed in two queen excluders and any emerging drones have no way to get out of the hive without you putting an escape somewhere. A hole 1/4" or larger in the brood box would also provide this, but you may not like putting holes in your equipment.
 
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