Is a Two Queen Hive Better Than One?
The main reason to create a hive skyscraper with two queens is to amplify honey flow. Results have been recorded at up to three times the amount of honey from two individual strong hives. Hives reach full strength when populations reach between 40 and 60 thousand bees. If the hive population does not reach 40 thousand chances for honey are diminished. By creating a scenario where there are over 100,000 bees in one hive, you have a small honey machine. Two colonies combined produce more honey than two separate colonies of equal strength. This technique is often practiced in colder regions where honey flow is short and nucleus families are slow to get started because of the cold weather.
On the Eastern Shore of Maryland, our spring weather is often unpredictable. If winds are coming from the north; we have cold weather, if they come from the south; we have warm weather. I’ve always said, “If you don’t like the weather here, just wait a few minutes.”
I am brand new to this idea but the theory interested me and we’ll have to see how I do with it this year. On April 25th I purchased four nucleus families, each with 5 frames of brood and large strong queens. I installed them into deep brood boxes with 5 blank frames of foundation. At the top of the first brood box, I installed a queen excluder, on top of that, I installed a medium brood box with a blank foundation; next, I added another queen excluder and a second deep brood box topped with a medium.
There are plenty of disadvantages in combining hives to create larger and more productive ones. These problems include the size of the colony, the number of visits to the apiary, the need to maintain and care for the colony and the potential need for relocation of at least one hive, disruption of the colony, and the problems associated with that.
3 deep brood boxes 2 for colonies, one for feeding
10 frames of foundation (nucs came with 5 frames each)
2 medium brood boxes with 10 frames each of foundation each
2 Queen excluders
I will track progress periodically. So far, so good. In the end. Not-so-good. Too many variables and I was not, and am still not experienced enough to pull this off.