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Author Topic: Two queens in one hive  (Read 4547 times)

Offline D Coates

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Two queens in one hive
« on: January 23, 2015, 06:27:29 pm »
I've heard of it before but never seen it.  I've got a 5 frame OB hive in my office that has a queen I marked.  The bulk of the paint had been removed but a small amount remained.  I thought I'd seen her a few times since but unmarked and thought they had completely removed the paint.  I'd never seen them completely remove the paint before but there's always a first. 

Today I see the queen with her little mark,... about 10 cells away is another unmarked but much larger queen.  Dumbfounded I watch the large one walk up the to marked one.  They sniffed each other and moved about their merry way with workers giving them both interest and a wide queen birth.  They are both clearly queens, but I would believe it if I didn't see it myself.  It'll be interesting to see if they'll both over winter and I'll separate them if they do.

Does anyone have experience with 2 queen hives overwintering?
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Offline OldMech

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2015, 08:59:15 pm »
Usually after a few weeks the older queen will vanish.  I have seen two and even three queens in one hive, but the situation did not last more than a few weeks before there was only a single queen left.  I do not know what happened. If she left? Died? Was killed?  No clue.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2015, 09:21:00 pm »
I've seen two enough times, but it is rare to see two this time of year... usually the older one has disappeared by now...
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Offline sc-bee

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2015, 06:49:12 am »
Neat..... I always thought the two queen thing was during the height of the season. Jan 23 looks like they would have had to be there together for months...... seems she would make it through winter now. Wonder if they take her out just before things ramp up?
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Offline rwlaw

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2015, 12:28:07 pm »
Maybe the old queen doesn't have enough pheromones left to warrant a war over?
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2015, 08:39:59 am »
That is really neat. Keep good notes and keep us up to date on what is happening.
Jim

Offline vmmartin

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2015, 10:47:49 am »
Fascinating to hear.  Would love to hear "the rest of the story"

Offline D Coates

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2015, 10:54:58 am »
They're both there this morning.  It's a relatively small cluster so now that I know there are two I'll keep and eye on them.  I've seen both laying and there's a small patch about the size of a lemon that currently has open brood in it.  I've got a decent amount of traveling coming up so my posts will be sporadic but I'll post anything notable when I observe it.
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2015, 12:33:49 pm »
Thanks D.
Jim

Offline capt44

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2015, 10:45:50 am »
I believe having 2 queens is more comman than one thinks.
I've had folks go thru their hives and say I found an unmarked queen and quit looking.
Then again in a week or two say I found my marked Queen.
Beekeepers have a tendency when they find a queen in a hive to quit looking for queens.
You can have a queen in each box and the hive still work.
That's just my observation the last couple of years.
Richard Vardaman (capt44)

Offline D Coates

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2015, 11:15:39 am »
They're both still there but the older one appears to be lethargic, almost frail, whereas the larger one is moving around quite a bit.  The older one is about 2/3rds the size of the younger one.  I don't ever remember thinking the marked one was small but in comparison to the unmarked one she is clearly smaller.
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Offline Rurification

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2015, 02:36:49 pm »
So, if two queens can co-exist pretty well, is it OK to leave both queens when you do a combine in the fall?    Or is it better to pinch one...?
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Offline D Coates

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2015, 12:27:43 pm »
So, if two queens can co-exist pretty well, is it OK to leave both queens when you do a combine in the fall?    Or is it better to pinch one...?

From what I've read I think multiple queens can only coexist if one is the daughter of the other.  The hive recognizes the mothers scent and apparently the daughters scent is close enough that it's tolerated and then accepted?  From my (accidental) experience, combine non related queens and you'll end up with only one and a decent amount of dead on the landing board.
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Offline AR Beekeeper

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2015, 12:55:32 pm »
Usually in a combine it is best to make a decision about the queens yourself.  The queen that is killed when doing a combine is killed by the workers in the strange colony, and it is possible for both queens to be killed.  It is safer to pinch one queen and give the now queenless colony time to realize it has no queen(an hour is enough) and join the two colonies using the newspaper method.

Offline greenbtree

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2015, 06:06:06 pm »
I think the hive will often stop feeding the old queen when they decide to supercede her, so she may be smaller than she used to be.

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Offline D Coates

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2015, 11:30:55 am »
Cracked the OB hive open Saturday (upper 60's!) to remove the 1" layer of winter dead and kill off a few hive beetles that'll lay their eggs in that.  I saw both queens moving about.  Baseball size pattern of eggs. 

Saw the large queen this morning but not the small one.  There were a few small masses she could have easily been hiding in though.  The bottom of the hive is clean and she's definitely not laying down there dead.  The large queen was moving about with quite a bit of vim and vigor.
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Offline D Coates

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2015, 10:25:04 am »
The old queen appears gone.  I've not seen her in a week and the cluster is about the size of a softball.  I don't see her at the bottom of the hive in the dead but she's no definitely longer moving in the cluster.  The large unmarked queen is easy to spot and she's laying.  Unfortunately, it appears the only larva that are now capped are drones.  I've yet to see any worker cells capped.  There's nothing I can do at this point until Spring so I'll at least get to see how the hive reacts to an apparently unmated queen or I'll get to see her hit her groove and start laying fertilized eggs.
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Offline Rurification

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2015, 06:59:41 pm »
This has been a really interesting thread.  Thanks for the updates [and for answering my tangential questions.]
Robin Edmundson
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Offline Bee-Haven

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2015, 09:42:58 pm »
It would be awesome if you could get some pictures of your OB hive. I think those things are so awesome to watch.
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Offline D Coates

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Re: Two queens in one hive
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2015, 04:48:37 pm »
http://s196.photobucket.com/user/Drew454/library/Observation%20Hive?sort=3&page=1  The photos are pretty self explanatory except for the outside ones.  The outside ones are showing the way I hid the entrance/exit in plain sight.  It looks like a small sewage gas vent pipe, but it's not.  If you're going to try this make sure to hang a strap down inside the pipe so they can more easily climb into and out of it and make sure to have a clean out at the bottom. During the winter they just toss the dead out as far as they can get without it getting too cold.  For a 2" pipe this means there can be a serious clog come spring if there's no clean out.
Ninja, is not in the dictionary.  Well played Ninja's, well played...