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Is it true that two queen hives will become more vigorous if kept together with a queen excluder?
Aside from the top entrance- should there be any other special entrance for the upper hive or will those bees come up through the bottom and bypass the lower with their pollen/nectar?
I have a few weak hives and am coming into the end of the season flowers (Sept seems to be dry) and would like to get everything into two boxes. That's going to be a push.
I figured on having on the bottom the single hive, then an empty, then the excuder, then an empty, then a single. Is that about right?
Thanks!
 

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Two Queen hives

Actually you need to keep the two queens AWAY from each other.

I will preface this with the fact that I’ve done this and think it is USUALLY easier to just run two one queen hives. The biggest problem for me is that you have a super hive with supers stacked up to the clouds and bees everywhere and to do anything with the queens requires moving and disturbing every box. All those bees can be very intimidating to a beginner. I think to be practical it requires a system that does not require moving any boxes to get to either queen.

That said, the concept is that two queens will lay twice as many eggs and build up twice as fast in the spring. More workers, more honey.

Here is my design. I would set up a horizontal hive that is three boxes long. (48 ¾”) with the entrances on the long side. Make it so you can open or close an entrance on any third of the box on any of the two long sides.

The box needs two grooves into which a piece of a queen excluders fits to divide it into thirds. This allows a queen on each end and supers in the middle.

You can use any of several methods to get the hive to accept two queens, but they are separated enough to not fight and you have two brood nests and one stack of supers in the middle. You can purchase queens, leave the hive queenless for 24 hours and split the brood nest into the two brood boxes with a caged queen in each and try for simultaneous introduction.

If you raise your own queens, you could put a virgin on each end and hope they fly back to the right hive when they are done mating.

You can split the brood into the two brood boxes and divide the hive with a partition, instead of an excluder to make one side queenless and then remove the partition when the queen cells are doing well on the queenless side. It is an art and you need to practice and accept that it may not work the way you think the first few times.

The best time to get two queens laying is early in the spring. The earlier the better. During the honey flow you might be better off to split the hive and put all of the open brood in one of them and most of the bees in the other to up the production in that hive because lots of brood rearing DURING a honey flow does not help production.

Snelgrove had a plan for using one hive to stock the other that was quite ingenious and perhaps some way could be figure out to do that in a more horizontal configuration.

It's always a good idea to do a search. This has been discussed many times and some of them are recent. Here are a few discussions:

http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000474.html
http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000360.html
http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000434.html
http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000307.html
http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/001367.html
http://www.beesource.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=003152#000001
http://www.beesource.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=003275#000007
http://www.beesource.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=003238#000003
http://www.beesource.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=002635#000001
http://www.beesource.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=002539#000002
http://www.beesource.com/pov/usda/abj1968.htm
http://www.beesource.com/pov/usda/abj1968b.htm
http://www.beesource.com/pov/usda/beekpUSA64.htm
http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000158.html
http://www.beesource.com/pov/usda/breeding5.htm
 
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