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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the advantages I hear regarding the two queen tower hive configuration is that you can inspect the brood nest without having to remove the supers. With the brood boxes placed next to each other, the supers cover five of the frames in each brood box. Those frames covered by the supers could contain brood which would be hard to inspect.

I would like advice on my modification. What if the brood boxes were separated from each other so that the supers only covered two brood frames instead of five? It is less likely the queen would lay eggs in these end frames.

The space between the brood boxes and below the bottom super can either be covered up or you can build a landing board under the bottom super so bees can access the tower of supers without having to enter through the bottom boards under each of the brood boxes.

Thoughts?

Also, if the brood boxes are further apart, is a queen excluder needed?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Those frames covered by the supers could contain brood which would be hard to inspect.
I am keeping an open mind, but why is it necessary to inspect every frame during a honey flow? What are you looking for that cannot be determined by pulling one or two frames?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am keeping an open mind, but why is it necessary to inspect every frame during a honey flow? What are you looking for that cannot be determined by pulling one or two frames?
Good question. I checking the brood frames for swarm cells to manage swarming. I remove capped swarm cells and raise them in queen castles or nucs. That way I always have queens if I need one. If I remove swarm cells after the hive has swarmed, I can go to my queen castles and nucs to get a queen for that hive that I overwintered or a more recent mated queen.
 

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I question the benefit vs drawbacks analysis. I ran two of the Michael Palmer side by side units and had supers on for a short time. One of the four queens was not a match and developed more slowly. Inspections are complicated. If your bees have a tendency at all to rob it will make things interesting. You will be running the equivalent of single 10 frame brood boxes and almost guaranteed you will have to remove brood or cut cells to prevent swarming. When there is a flow on you will need at least 3 mediums for each 10 frame colony. I had 4 on at times last summer on my singles. That will be quite a stack of supers.

Somewhere I saw a design for a two queen, shared supers system that made brood frame access easier but it seemed like fairly devious modification of the bottom boxes. A search might bring it up and give you some ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I question the benefit vs drawbacks analysis. I ran two of the Michael Palmer side by side units and had supers on for a short time. One of the four queens was not a match and developed more slowly. Inspections are complicated. If your bees have a tendency at all to rob it will make things interesting.

Somewhere I saw a design for a two queen, shared supers system that made brood frame access easier but it seemed like fairly devious modification of the bottom boxes. A search might bring it up and give you some ideas.
Frank,
You bring up a good point. Robbing during a nectar dearth is a concern of mine too, especially if bees have direct access to the honey supers from between the deep brood boxes. There may not be enough guard bees to handle both bottom boards and an entrance directly under the bottom super. I may need to seal off the opening to the bottom super created between the two deep brood boxes.

I have done a Google search and was unable to find a design like the one I describe. If anyone finds any information regarding my design, please send me a post.
 

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Frank,
You bring up a good point. Robbing during a nectar dearth is a concern of mine too, especially if bees have direct access to the honey supers from between the deep brood boxes. There may not be enough guard bees to handle both bottom boards and an entrance directly under the bottom super. I may need to seal off the opening to the bottom super created between the two deep brood boxes.

I have done a Google search and was unable to find a design like the one I describe. If anyone finds any information regarding my design, please send me a post.
It was called the Drawhive. From the UK but the website is dead. I think you could build kind of a plenum joining the spread brood boxes but I think you would need to keep the bees entering through their own distinctive brood box entrances.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It was called the Drawhive. From the UK but the website is dead. I think you could build kind of a plenum joining the spread brood boxes but I think you would need to keep the bees entering through their own distinctive brood box entrances.
Frank,
I went to the Wayback Machine website and searched their internet archives and found the website you mentioned. An interesting concept. I wonder if it's use gained any popularity. Building such a hive is beyond my woodworking capabilities but the site does provide some interesting information. Thanks for sending me the information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The tower system was developed so you could access drone combs for culling
I saw this hive configuration from Penn State when I was doing my research. With this hive configuration the supers cover five of the deep frames. My idea is to separate the bottom two deep boxes enough so the supers only cover two of the deep frames in each box. By doing this, the chance that frames with brood will be covered by the supers is reduced.

A big part of my beekeeping activity is managing swarms. Therefore I need an easy way to inspect the entire brood nest. If a hive swarms then it is unlikely you will get much honey from that hive. Also, I live in the city and most swarms go into houses, not trees. I do not want to upset my neighbors.

During swarm season I go into my hives every seven days and remove swarm cells. I put the swarm cells in queen castles or nucs so I will always have extra queens if I need one. The queen castles and nucs also allow me to boost low population hives with brood and/or bees.

My goal is maximum honey production out of each of my hives. I don't have much space to keep a lot of hives so I need each hive to be as productive as possible. At the same time I don't have room for additional hives. So, if one of my hives swarms and I capture the swarm, I don't have anywhere to put it.

Basically I am investing a lot of time with each of my hives rather than having more hives that I cannot devote as much attention to.
 

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GMc; the site being dead is not a good omen.:unsure: I mulled over the idea of two queen hives for a while and believe that is when I came across the use of the Snelgrove board method of two queening. That really works as described unlike some of the confirmation bias driven reports on some schemes. Many such ideas, when you get up close to them, show up their warts.:oops:

Have a gander at the Layens "grenier hive" configuration and envision a Siamese one with the honey area shared and able to be supered. All the brood frames would be accessible. That would share concepts with your idea. I have not looked at it for a long while but I think there is a fair bit on the strategy of management of horizontal hives. (entrance at one end and honey at the other) I think Gray Goose may have messed around a bit with them.

Edit; I just now read your previous post. Agree with the swarming issues. I think what you are proposing would be very similar in operation the the doubled layens grenier with a common honey storage.

Having only a couple of brood frames encumbered would not be a game killer as they could always be hooked and pulled out from under the edge of the supers.

Use evenly matched queens, preferably new.
 

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Hi GMc

IMO IF you need to check every 7 days then the 2 queen setup is not your "best" choice.
I did 2 queen for several years, and the full inspections were a PITA.

As well with your setup, you CAN see 5 .5 frames, the 5 you can remove and the one side of the one you cannot.
Most QCs are on the bottom, a optical product allowing you to see the bottom of the remaining 4.5 frames should get you out of the weeds on the swarming. Worse case create a bottom with a drawer you can slide out to open the whole bottom, lie on your back under the hive and inspect that way.

To me if the only way you can succeed is to inspect every 7 days then either the bee race or the management method needs some refinement, as you will be time bound at some hive count where every hive on a 7 day cycle takes all your time.

GG
 

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GMc; the site being dead is not a good omen.:unsure: I mulled over the idea of two queen hives for a while and believe that is when I came across the use of the Snelgrove board method of two queening. That really works as described unlike some of the confirmation bias driven reports on some schemes. Many such ideas, when you get up close to them, show up their warts.:oops:

Have a gander at the Layens "grenier hive" configuration and envision a Siamese one with the honey area shared and able to be supered. All the brood frames would be accessible. That would share concepts with your idea. I have not looked at it for a long while but I think there is a fair bit on the strategy of management of horizontal hives. (entrance at one end and honey at the other) I think Gray Goose may have messed around a bit with them.
I like the idea of the Siamese hive, entrance the ends to "encourage" brood on the ends, super the center.

Still if 1 of the queen fail the thing needs attention. And a swarm will have both side participating. Think very big swarm, perhaps both queens leave, then a crap load of after swarms. Would need a non swarmy bee race.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Frank,
I can tell you too have looked into various hive configurations. I have used the Snelgrove board for several years. I have used it primarily as a way to keep extra queens when I run out of space in my apiary. I will regularly stack nucs and queen castles on top of each other or on top of my Langstroth hives because of space limitations. With all these configurations, the hives become so tall it's hard to manage them. Many times I have to work my bees on a platform ladder. Since I only extract honey at the end of the nectar flow, my hives can get quite tall. I am resisting extracting throughout the nectar flow because of the time it takes to setup, extract and clean up my basement for extracting.

I had ten horizontal hives, some with one queen and some with two queens. The hives contained 30 deep Langstroth frames. In several of the horizontal hives I put on a row of honey supers on top of the deep frames. I love working these hives. They are so easy to work. No heavy lifting or bending down. Unfortunately I could not get them to produce much honey.
 

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"Unfortunately I could not get them to produce much honey."

What did I tell you about the warts?:) I hear you about the tall stacks! I extract in small batches as I can leave extractor just covered up.

I do like experimenting with different things: my wife says she is sometimes surprised I have stuck with the same model! I telll her not to get too complacent.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi GMc

IMO IF you need to check every 7 days then the 2 queen setup is not your "best" choice.
I did 2 queen for several years, and the full inspections were a PITA.

As well with your setup, you CAN see 5 .5 frames, the 5 you can remove and the one side of the one you cannot.
Most QCs are on the bottom, a optical product allowing you to see the bottom of the remaining 4.5 frames should get you out of the weeds on the swarming. Worse case create a bottom with a drawer you can slide out to open the whole bottom, lie on your back under the hive and inspect that way.

To me if the only way you can succeed is to inspect every 7 days then either the bee race or the management method needs some refinement, as you will be time bound at some hive count where every hive on a 7 day cycle takes all your time.

GG
Gray Goose,
You are exactly right about the time commitment. I am raising Italian bees and they will swarm on me if I don't remove queen cells every 7-8 days.

I have also discovered, the hard way, bees will put swarm cells in the middle of the brood frame in addition to the swarm cells along the bottom of the frames.

I am always trying to manage the fewest number of hives with the least amount of time needed to yield the most amount of honey. At the same time managing for swarming.

Thanks for your suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
"Unfortunately I could not get them to produce much honey."

What did I tell you about the warts?:) I hear you about the tall stacks! I extract in small batches as I can leave extractor just covered up.

I do like experimenting with different things: my wife says she is sometimes surprised I have stuck with the same model! I telll her not to get too complacent.:)
Frank,
My wife says the same thing about me. I wish I did not have to completely setup and take down my honey extracting space each time I wanted to extract.
 

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Gray Goose,
You are exactly right about the time commitment. I am raising Italian bees and they will swarm on me if I don't remove queen cells every 7-8 days.

I have also discovered, the hard way, bees will put swarm cells in the middle of the brood frame in addition to the swarm cells along the bottom of the frames.

I am always trying to manage the fewest number of hives with the least amount of time needed to yield the most amount of honey. At the same time managing for swarming.

Thanks for your suggestions.
The "best way I found with 2 queen was the following from " the Hive and the Honey bee" book

start at dandelion bloom:
with a 2 deep hive add a queen excluder, a medium super, a second queen excluder, and a newly hatched queen in a 3rd deep on top. (or a NUC or an Introduced queen)
in 2 weeks check the top queen, verify the bottom is Queen rite, add a 2nd and maybe a 3rd super.
in 10 days verify the top queen in not honey bound, add another super.
in 10 or so more days at or near the beginning of the main flow (here in Mich it is sweet clover) do the following:
tear the whole thing down to the bottom board, Place the top deep with new queen on the bottom board. Add the next 2 deeps on top of that, reverse the supers, adding 1 new super of comb above the brood nest, then the emptiest to the fullest on top. (4 to 7 total at this time )Add 2 more supers of foundation. often needed a ladder to put the top on and used braces screwed to stakes and the hive stack in 2 directions to prevent tip.
Watch the top 2 foundation supers, like a hawk, every 3 days) as this setup can/and would fill a medium super in 4-6 days.

Features:
would do the annual requeen VIA the top new queen
would move honey from the top deep into the supers, after it was placed at the bottom..
would have a 3 deep to winter
would get 8 to 10 supers of honey
Would get stung a lot...

this needs a certain flow to even work, IE in some places would fail. for me it worked, if you are OK with super big stacks of boxes.
GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Gray Goose,
Interesting two queen concept. I will pull out my "The Hive and the Honey Bee" and read more about this two queen setup. I am thinking, the setup I wrote about initially will allow me to maintain a two queen configuration without having to remove any boxes, supers or deep, while allowing me to inspect the entire brood nest for swarm cells. Of course, it's just an idea now that needs to be tested. If it doesn't work, the method you mention may be the way to go.
 

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Correct me if I am wrong; I am surmising you are contemplating single deep 10 frames as the brood box for each queen. That is basically single deep 10 frame brood system. I am thinking that sharing supers will not have much impact on happenings in each brood box. I ran some singles last summer and found they produce populations that would not be contained happily with only 2 or 3 additional medium supers. Combined for two colonies that predicts a high stack indeed. You definitely will be squishing queen cells. This is a regular routine according to U of Guelph who are big promoters of single box brood. You will have a wild overflow of bees when you pull supers end of flow. I put a medium box of undrawn plastic foundation under each one to ease my fears of swarming. You will have to feed immediately.

It will be interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Correct me if I am wrong; I am surmising you are contemplating single deep 10 frames as the brood box for each queen. That is basically single deep 10 frame brood system. I am thinking that sharing supers will not have much impact on happenings in each brood box. I ran some singles last summer and found they produce populations that would not be contained happily with only 2 or 3 additional medium supers. Combined for two colonies that predicts a high stack indeed. You definitely will be squishing queen cells. This is a regular routine according to U of Guelph who are big promoters of single box brood. You will have a wild overflow of bees when you pull supers end of flow. I put a medium box of undrawn plastic foundation under each one to ease my fears of swarming. You will have to feed immediately.

It will be interesting.
Frank,
Your experiences with a single brood box colony is similar to mine.

I do not think my configuration of two colonies side by side in one deep box per colony is going to produce the same amount of honey as two separate single deep colonies. I think having the supers shared by the two colonies and not covering all 10 frames of the brood box will somewhat hinder honey production. I could be wrong but that is something I will find out when I test this setup.

When I harvest the supers at the end of the nectar flow, I was planning to separate the two hives and give the bottom two supers to each of the hives for winter food. Hopefully this will reduce the bee crowding when I remove the supers for harvesting. Currently, towards the end of the nectar flow I build queen castle and nuc colonies to raise queens using the excess bees that the colonies don't need now that the nectar flow is done. The hives I don't use in building queen castles or nucs at the end of the nectar flow, I too add several supers with foundation frames to ease crowding. I can do this to the hives in the tower configuration if needed.

In the spring I will bring the two colonies back together and stack the two supers that wintered with the colonies between the colonies serving as the beginning of my super tower.

Yes, swarming is something I am more sensitive about than most beekeepers since I want as much honey as possible and don't want the swarms to end up in the houses of my neighbors. Having two single deep colonies next to each other and the supers covering only two brood frames in the tower configuration should make it easier to inspect for swarm cells.
 
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