Double-Queen Colony

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by kemptville, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. kemptville

    kemptville New Member

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    Morning All!

    I have two swarms in seperate singles in different bee yards. Both are on the slow end of producing brood but producing nonetheless but doubtful they will survive winter at this rate as they're stores are low. I'm not inclined to feed them sugar syrup or requeen them - this is something I'd like to avoid but I'd like to combine both these singles into a "Double-Queen" colony with the use of two queen excluders seperating the colonies from one another.

    How should I go abouts doing this? Is this as simple as it sounds, Single-Excluder-Excluder-Newspaper-Single or is there something more I should be aware of?

    Thanks!
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I'll be interested in hearing some of the responses as well.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    If you wish to save either or both of these some feeding may be essential and I of corse have no idea of how much season or good weather you may have before you season is done????

    What I would do... separated into two parts.
    1) I would employ a newspaper combine with a queen excluder (you will need a top entrance which I like to face in the opposite direction from the entrance of the bottom box) and I would add a feeder in the top box<I would dribble a bit of feed here on some constant bases just to encourage some growth in both the top and bottom parts of the stack.
    2) once the two parts had some weight and some new bees I would then replace the excluder with a double screen which will physically separate the two units < depending on weight at this time you might wish (or not) to have feeders in both parts and if the double screen has a 'trigger' entry you can then use this plus the added top entrance to equalize the population in the two parts of the stack.

    as described this process or manipulation is something I am much more likely to employ in the spring of the year than in the fall.
     
  4. Yote Shooter

    Yote Shooter New Member

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    I'm curious also. But I will add that without a combine eliminating one queen or at least down sizing into say 2 nuc boxes with an additional box on top for stores (nuc super) and then feed. Many have success overwintering nuc's. I don't see them making it. My observation would be that without feed or a substantial flow the queens are not stimulated into the production you hope to achieve. Just my .02. But as I say I'm curious to see other replys. We all learn alternatives. Tim
     
  5. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    As tec said the manipulation is more of a spring and early summer management. The Question to be asking is why these colonies are not producing a lot of brood? In a hive the amount of brood is governed by 3 main things, Bees to cover the brood. Comb for the queen to lay in. And the availability of nector and pollen as feed and to stimulate brood rearing. Which of these have effected the colony build up?
    Either one of the queens has the ability to lay all the eggs needed if she has the support and resources.
    It is hard giving advise with out knowing what happened to get you to this point.

    When were the swarms captured?
    What size how many frames did the swarm cover?
    You hived them in? Did you moved them to? and how long?
    You gave them drawn comb, foundation, foundation less?
    you feed them Yes\No how much?

    The colony's may benefit by being combined to have all the resources in the 2 hives supporting one queen but there is not much reason to run it as a 2 queen this late in the year. this is the time of year when 2Q get broken down and one of the queens disappears.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I am totally on board with apisbee's analysis. I am guessing there are exceptions but as we move into the fall of the year you are almost always better to have one good hive than two weak hives.
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    If you really want to look at this as an experiment and are willing to find the hives not make it through the winter, Keeping Tec's and Apis' comment in mind, i would arrange them as follows from the bottom up:
    Brood box plus Queen #1.
    newspaper (slit)
    excluder,
    super with built frames,
    excluder,
    newspaper (slit)
    upper brood box with Queen #2.
    ​I would not have an upper entrance so that the two swarms would be forced to unite. Nectar or syrup would be stored in the middle super. ​All said and done, I wouldn't give them much of a chance to pull through in a BC winter.
     
  8. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Efmesch He is not in BC but Ottawa Ont. In a lot of areas in BC he could force them back down into 5 frame nucs, place 2" rigid insulation on the bottom and top of the nuc and place them in tight between 2 singles or doubles and they would come thru the winter fine.
     
  9. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    My prediction for this experiment.
    The problem with trying to overwinter this way is the bees will move up and abandon the bottom queen to the point there will not be enough bees to keep the cluster warm and they will freeze early. The top cluster will have the feed under it and will starve a little later in the winter.
     
  10. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    A month earlier Efmesch's maipulation would have worked in providing the shared resources to help both colonies and bring in some honey.2 queening creates vigor and competition in the hive causing faster buildup and increase foraging.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Although I am far from Canada my own concerns have been properly expressed by apisbee in post #10 and 9.