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Author Topic: Queenless hive for comb honey production  (Read 2372 times)

Offline Lesgold

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Queenless hive for comb honey production
« on: June 16, 2023, 08:20:20 pm »
Hi Folks,

Although spring is a couple of months away in my area, planning is still occurring in the foggy grey matter between my ears. Before leaving home on my holiday, I had a good look at the potential honey producing trees in my district. The outlook is poor. It appears as though there won?t be any major flows this season and I may not pinch much honey at all from the girls. That particular situation occurs from time to time, especially after strong years. I?m fine with that as my shed is full of the golden stuff and will keep my customers happy for a couple of years. My only concern is that I won?t have any comb honey for sale which is a bit of a worry. With that in mind I have decided to try a few things to help the situation. One method I will experiment with is the construction of a two queen hive (which I will look at in another thread) and the other is to make a hive queenless for the short duration of the brief spring flow. This flow can give a small surplus but much of the nectar coming in is utilised by brood rearing. My thinking is to make a strong hive queenless during that period and therefore bees will tend to focus on honey rather than brood rearing. I have come up with a plan of attack but before I mention it, I would like to hear your ideas and advice.

Cheers

Les

Online Occam

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Re: Queenless hive for comb honey production
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2023, 11:55:12 pm »
I'm interested to see what ideas come up as well
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Offline NigelP

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Re: Queenless hive for comb honey production
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2023, 01:39:19 am »
Depending on your set up ....I find queenless hives store honey anywhere they like, rather than in the supers. Basically they clog the brood box up as nothing to suggest they should be keeping them clear for brood rearing.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Queenless hive for comb honey production
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2023, 03:04:04 am »
Good point Nigel. The plan was to have the brood box full of capped brood and a frame of eggs for the production of a new queen. Some pollen and nectar would also be helpful to aid in the formation of a good queen but in this particular situation, a small flow of nectar from one or two sources and a variety of pollens will also be coming in. My intention is to start this process in late august when I see evidence of white wax and drones.

Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Queenless hive for comb honey production
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2023, 08:21:20 am »
Les,
Judy and I split our observation hive just before the flow this spring. Normally this hive spends all of their energy on making bees and very little wax and honey. They made 4 frames of wax and filled most of it with honey while making a new queen. The problem we had with this hive is that by the time the flow was over, most of the field bees died. The number of bees in the hive was very low. The new queen is just now starting to build up the hive.
I recommend that you take your queens out with un capped brood and eggs and make a Nuc. This way when their numbers crash, you can supplement them with the bees from the Nuc.
Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote.
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Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Queenless hive for comb honey production
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2023, 08:24:26 am »
As you can see, lots of honey, very few bees.
Jim Altmiller
Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote.
Ben Franklin

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Queenless hive for comb honey production
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2023, 10:15:41 am »
Thanks for that Jim. That?s good to know and really fits with what I was thinking. My plan was to put most of the capped brood in the bottom box with some eggs and larvae for the new queen to be created. The box of comb honey frames would be placed above the brood box. I?m not sure if a queen excluder would be required at this point. I?d be interested in your thoughts. A Snelgrove board would then be placed on top of the super with the entrance facing the opposite direction to the main hive. The original queen, uncapped brood with bees attached and some stores would then be placed on top. Flying bees in the top box would then return to the original entrance of the hive. A queen should be produced in the bottom box as expected. With very little brood to rear, honey should be deposited into the super. The original queen will continue to lay and bee numbers in the top box should rapidly increase. Every week or so, the Snelgrove board could be used to bleed flying bees from the top box into the bottom brood box to overcome the issue mentioned by Jim. Eventually, a two queen hive will be the result. That?s my thinking at this point. Can anyone see issues with this approach?

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Queenless hive for comb honey production
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2023, 11:03:37 am »
This is an interesting subject. I will not go against the queenless hive/honey production ideas , but somehow it just doesn't seem added effort versus the drawbacks mentioned outweighs the benefits by a 'large enough margian' to me.  If I was really serious in spending the extra time and effort, I might look more closely into the two queen method explained here at beemaster by Mr Claude, "TheHoneyPump" some time ago. But that's just me, and we are always learning together new tricks and ideas, therefore ; "I reserve the right to change my mind" lol 
:shocked:  ...  :grin:

Phillip
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14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Queenless hive for comb honey production
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2023, 06:08:08 pm »
Les,
That sounds like a really good idea. If you have honey supers between the two queens they will probably bee just fine when you re connect them.
Jim Altmiller
Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote.
Ben Franklin

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Queenless hive for comb honey production
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2023, 07:26:23 pm »
At this stage, I?m thinking that I could get my comb honey production (which was the main aim) and use it as a swarm control method as I?m actually splitting a hive and getting a new, young queen as well. If it doesn?t work as planned, I can still combine the bees back as the original queen is in the upper box.

Phillip,

A few years ago I was shown a method for a two queen hive. I built all of the components needed but ended up throwing part of it out as I never used it. I will look into this again in early spring but I will make a seperate thread for that topic. I?m only looking at these methods this year due to the high chance that a surplus of honey is not likely. I?m a bit of a nutter when it comes to experimenting and trying methods that I?ve never attempted before.

 

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