Spring Experiment: Two Queen Colony

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by dr.buzz, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    So here was one of my Spring 2012 experiments:
    I have often read that queens don't like to cross "honey barriers" or big open spaces, but never tested it myself. We also know that you can raise queens by simply putting a queen excluder between two boxes that both have open brood in them. (Or, of course, if you have the time, locate the queen and put her above or below the excluder and have larvae of the proper age on the other side of the excluder.)

    I decided to see if it would work to put a box of empty black Pierco plastic frames in between two brood boxes in March. I didn't have time to find the queen, so I just made sure that there was larvae in both boxes. My hope was that, without that queen footprint pheromone present, the box without the queen would raise their own. I made sure the upper box had it's own entrance so if the new queen was raised in that box, she could leave to mate and come back into that box without getting killed using the queen right box's entrance. I added a box of drawn comb under the box of empty frames, so we now have a stack four deeps high. Bottom box full of bees, next box drawn comb, next box empty frames, top box full of bees. So I figured the existing queen would lay, the new queen would lay like crazy, and the empty frames would gradually get drawn as the flow increased, so that eventually the two queens would be able to make contact and one would kill the other, and I'd have a huge population of foragers right when the flow is really in gear.

    But it didn't quite happen that way. I had two queens laying and the hive was booming, and all those empty frames got drawn out, but the queens never got around to fighting it out, they both just kept laying, until that hive produced the biggest swarm I've ever gotten. And the original colony is still so populous that you can hardly tell that they lost half of their number.

    I have to think about how to tweak it, but if I still end up getting honey from the original colony, I might try it again.

    Here's a photo of the swarm it threw:

    2queenswarm-april2012.jpg
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Wow, nice swarm! Did you catch it?
    Experimenting and trying different things is often how discoveries are made. We all learn something when someone "stretches" a little bit further. :thumbsup:
     

  3. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Oh, yeah, it's in a single deep right now, covering all ten (empty) frames. Something about letting swarms draw comb on a flow is so cool it always makes me feel like I'm getting away with something.
     
  4. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    That's a good experiment and produced quite a large swarm. You are to congratulated for thinking outside the box. Thanks for sharing your idea.
     
  5. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Dr.Buzz said:"makes me feel like I'm getting away with something". :lol:
    Up here a decent swarm fetches the same $$$ as a four frame nuc! More bees and the comb building mode are valued. :thumbsup:
     
  6. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Awesome

    Like to see new ideas, so does the original hive still have two queens or did one just fly.......
     
  7. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I figure one of the old queens swarmed, I started a nuc with the other old one (she was marked) along with a couple frames of bees and brood, and the new queen mated and came back and gets the hive to herself. Until the next experiment, that is :)
     
  8. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Wow - great experiment!