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07/09/2017 - 2 queens in a hive



The bees' continued attempts to make the beekeeper understand their behaviour still have no effect - the beekeeper still doesn't understand what on earth the bees are doing.


To recap:

03/06/2017 - capped queen cell - decided to keep it in the hive and see what happens

13/08/2017 - unmarked queen found with plenty of brood; figured a successful mid-winter supersedure had taken place

31/08/2017 - spotted a marked queen in the same hive. Hive is super busy and flowing over with bees and brood. Uh oh. Ran out of time but made plan to go back into hive asap to figure out what's up.

07/09/2017 (today):


Went through the hive again. Found both marked and unmarked queens, both appear visually normal (to my relatively inexperienced eye) with long abdomen etc. 


So - somehow the queens have not battled and judging from the amount of brood and bees in the hive, which is pretty much twice as busy as the hive next to it, they both may well be laying. Confusion ensues.


Well, I had to do something so I evenly split the brood and the stores and made sure I had one queen in each side of the split. I figured this way I'd find out whether one or the other queen has simply stopped laying and is just hanging out. 


I placed feeders with granulated sugar on top of each FD box and thought I might change from granulated to 1:1 sugar syrup tonight. There are a lot of bees flowing over the frames and while there's some uncapped and capped honey in the hives, it's not a lot and the weather is still quite variable - I don't want to accidentally starve the hive(s) during build up.


Now - I just placed the other half of the split next to the original location, which I presume can be risky as flying bees will return to the old hive location and possibly rob the split?


I only have one apiary (well, the inlaws' apiary is just down the road, within bee flight radius) so I can't easily move the split to a whole new location.


If anyone has great ideas as to how else to deal with this situation, I'm all ears. I didn't want to terminate either of the queens as I don't know if one or both of them are laying - it would suck to accidentally kill the only laying one.






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I have had two queens in a hive often.

In a case like yours over this winter there was the old queen who was failing and her supersedure daughter who never mated.

Both were drone layers .

The bees never got rid of the old queen as there was no proper replacement yet.

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I put a queen excluder between the queens.  This way you know very quickly which is the best queen and delete accordingly.

There is no problem with recombining the hives is one is a dud.

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2 hours ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

I put a queen excluder between the queens.  This way you know very quickly which is the best queen and delete accordingly.

There is no problem with recombining the hives is one is a dud.


I think I like this plan better than what I did. The FD's are just sitting next to each other so I'll probably just lift one over the other with the QE in place and be done with it.

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I often have two Queens in a hive when I want to requeen. I put a Queen excluder between the two brood boxes so I can see where the existing queen is laying and later add a new laying Queen and her brood. Then I put another Queen excluder on top and a honey super. The two Queens happily lay their brood in their own boxes and all the worker bees go up to put their nectar in the honey supers. That way I can get double the amount of brood for the honey flow, and then by the end of January when I go down to check the brood for AFB before taking off some honey to extract, I often find that the old Queen in the bottom brood box is not laying very well. If I see her I will squash her but if I don't see her I will take away the Queen excluder between the brood and let the bees get rid of the Queen they don't want. She will stay in the bottom box, and doesn't go up to fight the new stronger Queen. That way I can often get up to 100kgs of honey from one hive.


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