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I live in a harsher climate, temperature is always an issue in spring. Anyone have any experience with two queen systems? (Up and down not side by side) Does it require two queen excluders with a super in the middle? Or can it be done with a single excluder? If I am requeening a hive in spring can I just put a single frame of brood above an excluder and introduce two queens one up one down? I have heard some say it is that simple and others who figure you need 2 excluders and a super as well as newspaper in between, etc...

Simple methods from those experienced please.
 

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Re: Any Comercials Use Two Queen Systems in Spring?

Side by side is better than a vertical setup from what I experienced so far. It is easier to work the hives, it also seems that the bees store honey better (above the broodnest, but where is the top of a double broodnest? Confuses the bees. The side by side setup doesn't confuse as much. I am still experimenting. Some commercials here use a Jumbo Dadant brood with a bee-tight follower/divider board in the center. For me it is good to have an extra queen as backup, so a queen failure doesn't mean the hive fails in production. And it is good to have some extra bees and brood per hive.
 

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Re: Any Comercials Use Two Queen Systems in Spring?

The simplest is to just put an excluder between two brood boxes and forget it. They will raise a queen in the other brood box most of the time and will end up with two queens. Just make sure the drones can get out of both sections.

Some other options: http://www.bushfarms.com/beestwoqueenhive.htm
 

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Re: Any Comercials Use Two Queen Systems in Spring?

I agree with Bernhard, side by side is much easier but up and down can make you huge honey crops

I know a guy who use to run all double queen hives. I will not get into the details unless you want me to. I have not run any hives this way.

He would split his hives, and place the split over a solid board on a new hive, entrance pointed the opposite direction. Once the new queen had established her nest, he would merge the two hives, by adding a second box , then excluder, then split hive, then fourth box.
As you would normally shake the bees into the single box, you do the same. the first box gets the first queen, the other brood box is placed with its queen in the second postion, with excluder under and over it. Boxes are stacked accordingly. After the first pull he would remove the first excluder and have the queens decide which is best to take the hive through winter.
This hive arrangement is a terrible amount of work as all the manipulations it requires but your hive will be stacked in 10's +++ around here.
Most guys have gone to side by side queen systems as it yeilds honey and increased hive numbers with less work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Any Comercials Use Two Queen Systems in Spring?

I agree with Bernhard, side by side is much easier but up and down can make you huge honey crops

I know a guy who use to run all double queen hives. I will not get into the details unless you want me to. I have not run any hives this way.

He would split his hives, and place the split over a solid board on a new hive, entrance pointed the opposite direction. Once the new queen had established her nest, he would merge the two hives, by adding a second box , then excluder, then split hive, then fourth box.
As you would normally shake the bees into the single box, you do the same. the first box gets the first queen, the other brood box is placed with its queen in the second postion, with excluder under and over it. Boxes are stacked accordingly. After the first pull he would remove the first excluder and have the queens decide which is best to take the hive through winter.
This hive arrangement is a terrible amount of work as all the manipulations it requires but your hive will be stacked in 10's +++ around here.
Most guys have gone to side by side queen systems as it yeilds honey and increased hive numbers with less work.
My intent was to have them share resources till Mid-June, then have them in separate hives during the honey flow. Basically depending on the weather a split might not fare so well here in spring. I could either purchase the insulated nuc boxes which are a bit more handling and more/different equipment or I could split later. I was looking to shortcut the system a little. As soon as the bees had the first super full I would pull a frame or two of brood as Michael Bush suggests and put an excluder between. I have seen them raise a queen naturally like this but I had more supers in between. I would rather control it. I was just wondering if re-queening at the same time would ease the royal tensions so to speak.
 

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Re: Any Comercials Use Two Queen Systems in Spring?

My intent was to have them share resources till Mid-June, then have them in separate hives during the honey flow. Basically depending on the weather a split might not fare so well here in spring. I could either purchase the insulated nuc boxes which are a bit more handling and more/different equipment or I could split later. I was looking to shortcut the system a little. As soon as the bees had the first super full I would pull a frame or two of brood as Michael Bush suggests and put an excluder between. I have seen them raise a queen naturally like this but I had more supers in between. I would rather control it. I was just wondering if re-queening at the same time would ease the royal tensions so to speak.
Jodie, in our northern climate, would it make any sense to double up hives in spring to kick start the double queen process. Small hives with large hives. Sharing the bees, heat and resources. Obviously you would need newspaper / queen excluder between for a bit. If a queen is weak and that's why the hive is small, it may make better use of those bees, than watching them dwindle away until the beekeeper recognizes the problem and requeens. In 4-6 weeks, they could likely be split apart again, and process repeated with a queen or cell.

Luke
 

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Re: Any Comercials Use Two Queen Systems in Spring?

I would suggest by simply inserting a queen excluder between the two boxes, or by pulling up brood above the excluder will not work at all. You need to seperate the brood from hive to initiate that queen cell building response.
 

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Re: Any Comercials Use Two Queen Systems in Spring?

My intent was to have them share resources till Mid-June,
I will do this from during the early months of spring. Any hive with a good laying queen, but in a smallish hive, gets sprayed down with HBH and placed over a queen excluder over a strong hive.
 

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Re: Any Comercials Use Two Queen Systems in Spring?

>How many double queen hives do you run yourself, Michael?

Most years three or four. I've been playing with them off and on for 40 years...

My first was a 12 frame deep box with a masonite divider and an excluder on top and supers on top of that. 6 frames for each queen. Not really enough room for the queens but the hive boomed. I wonder how much of it is the extra pheromones rather than the actual laying of the queens.

My next was a deep with a queen an excluder a shallow with no queen, an excluder and another deep with a queen. It did well but was a lot of work.

My next was a horizontal hive with two vertical excluders so there was a queen on each end of the horizontal and a stack of supers in the middle. This was much easier to work but takes special equipment. I haven't tried it, but the two brood boxes side by side with the supers straddling those seems like a good idea from the point of view of using standard equipment, but it's still hard to work it. Still not a bad design.

I put the queen on top and there is a box of brood below her with an exluder between. They usually raise a new queen when I do this and the hive usually builds up quickly after that. I usually take that brood box with the new queen and make a split before they swarm.
 

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Re: Any Comercials Use Two Queen Systems in Spring?

2 queens was standard in one outfit I used to work for.

In this area there was a coldish winter, spring dearth during the buildup period, then a flow of maybe 4 months that could be sharp. All swarming attempts stopped once the flow started.

Hives were wintered in 2 deeps. The method was in spring make a split from each hive. The bottom box had the queen, an excluder was put on it and then a honey super. On top of this was a division board and the split which was given a queen cell.

After mating we'd combine the split as follows. Bottom box with old queen, newspaper on top with a queen excluder. The split went on this there were some chocs to raise the front of the box so the bees another entrance. Another queen excluder on top of that & the honey super on top of that.

The idea was that just as it was coming into swarming time the hive got split which prevented it. Then by the time the hive was reunited they had to sort themselves out & they would just be building a big population as the flow started. We did not go in the brood area again once they were combined, just added boxes on top as required.

In fall honey was pulled and excluders removed, by next spring old queen would be gone.

So the method was ideal for the particular area. It controlled swarming, requeened the hive, and produced a large honey crop.

In that region there are still commercial beekeepers who use that method. Where I am now though different weather and flow patterns, 2 queening is not such a good plan.
 
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