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Author Topic: Two queened hive for increased honey production.  (Read 603 times)

Offline Lesgold

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Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« on: December 26, 2021, 04:25:01 am »
Hi folks,

Just thought I would ask if anyone has tried this method and if you have, could you tell us how successful it was. Basically it requires two brood boxes and bases to touch each other with entrances pointing in opposite directions. In other words, two standalone hives. A queen excluder is placed across the top of the two hives and then honey supers are stacked on top. Mini half lids are added to each brood box to cover the exposed section of each brood box. This creates one mega hive with two queens making heaps of bees. The field bees share the honey supers and produce a lot of honey very quickly. I had one just about ready to go three years ago but a severe drought followed by the bushfires prevented me from setting up this style of hive. I?m thinking that this method would be perfect for comb honey production during a flow. Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.

Cheers

Les

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2021, 03:10:46 pm »
Basic numbers for example to illustrate.
1 queen hive,  100 lbs honey
2 queen hive shared supers, 150 lbs honey
2x 1 queen hives, 100+100 = 200 lbs honey
The bees will spend the next 4 days in significant effort to undo and correct the wrongs that the beekeeper just did to them.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2021, 04:14:00 pm »
Thanks Honey Pump. I sort of assumed there would be some loss in production but for my situation I was looking for fast comb building with frames being filled and capped quickly. I?m purely considering getting this style of hive up and running if it can produce comb honey in a short period of time. Any thoughts on how well they work in this situation?

Cheers

Les

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2021, 05:23:10 pm »
Then I would suggest the single column double queen setup rather than the pyramid.
The bees will spend the next 4 days in significant effort to undo and correct the wrongs that the beekeeper just did to them.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2021, 06:25:44 pm »
Now that sounds interesting. Could you explain this setup. I?m interested to know the structure of this type of hive and how it is established.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2021, 04:58:20 am »
Many articles on the subject are available online.  As a starter ..
https://americanbeejournal.com/comparing-two-queen-colony-management-methods/
The bees will spend the next 4 days in significant effort to undo and correct the wrongs that the beekeeper just did to them.

Offline NigelP

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2021, 06:50:39 am »
There is an interesting book by an old French Priest  M. Dugat called the skyscraper hive. Basically he runs up 4- 7 boxes vertically spaced with a queen excluder to separate each box, they also have individual entrances. He allowed the hives to build numbers up until just before the major  flow when he would remove all the queens, bar 1 and all the unsealed brood from the boxes. He claims his yields were prodigious given the bee numbers he had....he also says it was an incredibly labour intensive needing at least 2 people to lift the boxes from the higher hives.He was claiming  a six body hive would produce 200+kg in a flow.

Just found some extreme examples of multi-queen hives from one of Eva Cranes books, these were in Canada.


« Last Edit: December 27, 2021, 09:52:10 am by NigelP »

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2021, 04:00:05 pm »
Interesting article. Thank you. When I did some research a few years ago, I was told to start with two young queens of the same age. It may end up being something that is established next spring unless I experiment with a couple of existing hives. I currently have a couple of swarms that have built up into two boxes. Would it be possible to move them together, put a queen excluder on top and use the newspaper method between a new super and the brood boxes? Would the bees fight when they combine in the super? My gut feeling is that they would. The reason that I ask is that I will have another flow starting in 2 or 3 weeks and it would be interesting to set up a hive for that period.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2021, 08:30:14 pm »
The timing of the season is essential to success in combining colonies, with queens. 
Spring/summer buildup periods and lots of resources available (flow). Go for it.  The beekeeper can get away with a-lot of non-standard setups during these times with no fighting. It is amazing how tolerant the bees are in those periods.
In the 2 weeks approaching autumn equinox, and anytime afterwards; meaning Fall/Winter; those times are no go for mixing and moving bees and queens around. The bees get defensive and fussy at those times. Lots of fighting and the hives usually select which queen they like most to take through winter, killing the other. 
So, what all that means is have a plan of what you want to do and how, but absolutely look at your regional bee-calendar and know where/when you are on it before doing it.

Hope that helps!
The bees will spend the next 4 days in significant effort to undo and correct the wrongs that the beekeeper just did to them.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2021, 09:02:37 pm »
Spot on HP. That?s exactly what I want to know. Thanks for that. I?ll give it a try. Here is an interesting scenario for you. This year there will be a strong flow throughout winter and the bees will work this and produce a lot of honey. I assume during the autumn equinox period the bees are defensive as they want to protect their winter stores. That will probably not be the case in this situation. Interested to hear your thoughts. It?s a pain extracting winter honey due to the cooler temperatures but it has to be done.

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2021, 04:40:51 pm »
Hi Nigel
from the photo, don't you have wind in Canada, they would blow over here. or need some ropes to hold them down.

Offline NigelP

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2021, 04:53:01 am »
Don't know as don't live in Canada. :cheesy:
 It was a picture taken from the book "the world history of beekeeping and honey collecting" by Eva Crane..

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2021, 03:02:14 pm »
Depends on what area in Canada the apiary is located.  Yes it can get plenty windy.  I see the picture in deep wood, sheltered.  And with poles to stabilize them.
The achievable size of the hive is also area dependent. When conditions are good, the genetics are good, and the hive is healthy and well managed by the beekeeper; a single queen hive easily achieves six to eight deeps tall.
There is no -need-to double queen. It is just another tool in the beekeepers toolbox. for goals such as;
- used in the spring to boost the rapidity of population buildup in the 6 weeks before a very short monocrop flow.
- to help small/weak colonies to get over critical threshold in a much shorter timeline.
- to requeen a hive with an old slow queen, easentially a beekeeper-made supercedure.
The multiqueen configuration is always short term, with specific purpose, and never permanent. As mentioned before, know why you want to to it, how you will go about it, and when are start and end times of the window to do it.
Some folks will mistakenly look to multiqueen to improve a colony that is slow, nonproductive for reasons of poor genetics, old or defective queens, unhealthy hive conditions (poor comb, pests, disease, virus etc)

Hope that helps
The bees will spend the next 4 days in significant effort to undo and correct the wrongs that the beekeeper just did to them.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2021, 05:53:17 pm »
Thanks again HP. I was considering the two queen system for a brief honey flow that will be coming up in a few weeks. I may be a little slow on the uptake to get it ready in time. Will definitely try it next season as I think there may be potential in this area for comb honey production. Your comments are very much appreciated. Without them, I would continue to plod along, experiment, test, compare and obviously make quite a few mistakes along the way. Your contributions have made me stop, think and adjust my planning. It may, in fact, end up being a waste of my time. Thats OK as well. It?s all part of the learning experience. Being a hobby beekeeper, I have the luxury of being able to play with ideas and techniques without having to worry about maximising honey yields or following the most efficient methods. Keep your thoughts and ideas coming. I?m enjoying reading your contribution to the topic.

Cheers

Les

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2022, 04:50:58 pm »
When trying to catch a flow, what most folks miss is the critical element of timing.  You need to think farther ahead than a week or few weeks.  The basic math is this:
1.5 week for colonies to combine, get settled, and reorganize the nest resources.
1.5 week for each of the queens to lay out a large patch of brood. (bees ordered)
3 weeks from egg to nurse bees, (bees being shipped/delivered)
2 weeks from nurse to foraging bees. (Bees maturing and flight training)

In other-words, to maximize a honey flow the beekeeper needs to know the calendar flowering period of the target bloom.  To maximize the foraging force, at the right time, the beekeeper would do the prep and prime work to the hive 7 weeks in advance of when the flow is expected to occur.  It is useless and a miss of the mark to have a hive full of brood and young bees.  Sure the hive will appear big and strong but it will be unproductive. There has to be alot of bees, but more importantly they have to be of the matured age to go get the flow.  A smaller hive of right aged bees will out produce a much larger hive for this basic reason. 
To get better results, think farther back, longer prep period, in the calendar.

Hope that helps.
The bees will spend the next 4 days in significant effort to undo and correct the wrongs that the beekeeper just did to them.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2022, 05:15:32 pm »
Good advice and logical thinking. Thanks again HP. I?ve always tended to make silly mistakes in relation to planning ahead with bee related issues. Your advice is going to be really helpful. In my situation, it will mean an early spring start if I am going to catch next years main flow. This season would have been a good time to establish a two queen hive. A major flow has just finished and another flow has already started. Within two weeks, another species of tree will start flowering and will keep the bees working until autumn. A major flow will then run all though winter and just make it to September. Looks like a lot of work coming up.

Cheers

Les

Offline Bill Murray

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2022, 12:20:36 pm »
HoneyPump, to build on what your saying this is what I try to inform others on also. Ex. if your flow starts 2nd week of march that means the egg for that forager had to be laid approx. 40 days prior, which would make it the last week in January. My January looks something like this.Inspect and install Apistan 1st week. Start feeding 1:2 sugar on queen-rite hives, queens no older than 2 yrs. Ill be using for honey production, if maple pollen not coming in yet add pollen patty. This stimulates and gets the queen laying. Reverse brood chambers, remove apistan and switch to 1:1 sugar in Feb. Add Bait supers 1st week of march and quit feeding. 15th put on supers.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2022, 04:05:26 pm »
Wow, that is good planning and organisation. Makes me realise how lucky I am not having to feed bees, use pollen patties or Apistan for mite control.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Two queened hive for increased honey production.
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2022, 03:21:04 am »
Set goals
Make a plan
Prepare materials for the work
Schedule the work
Work to the schedule
Check for results
Adjust the goals
Revise the plan
.. repeat
The bees will spend the next 4 days in significant effort to undo and correct the wrongs that the beekeeper just did to them.