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Vertical splitting / Double queen


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I've been thinking about the best way for swarm prevention this season.  The last 2 season's I've had a hive each swarm. Conveniently I was home when it happened and I caught them with out much incident. I don't really want to repeat this again this year.

The last 2 years on the hives that didn't swarm I did walk away splits, and or spits into nuc boxes. I don't have the gear to do proper walk away splits, and I don't really want to get more lids/bases for it either.

I now have 4 hives, 3 double FD brood and one Single FD brood.  I've done some reading into virtical splits and I get the general gist, but I haven't quite figured out if once you do it you leave both hives as single FD's or slowly turn them into 2x FD and also what to do about Honey supers.  Would it go Brood, super, split board, brood, then super?

Does the split board need mesh in it so both hives can smell each other?

At this stage I think there are only 2 hives that are strong enough and would want to swarm.

 

The idea behind this is then to double queen after swarm season. Last year I tried 2 double queens and merged as per the NZ beekeeping book. Both hives went back to one queen each within a couple of weeks. Not that I was too bothered.

 

Has anyone done this or have any ideas on the best way to do it.

 

Cheers

 

 

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Split in two with a solid hive mat between the boxes . Move old queen up with all the brood and most of food and face the new top entrance out the back . leave a frame of eggs in bottom box . 

I use the vertical split method every spring, I started doing it when I didn't want any more hives. I usually carry it out in late Sept/early Oct.     My version goes: Bottom bro

Hives swarm because they are strong and short of room or because they are strong and doing nothing. Most years the majority of hives will only swarm if they are short of room so give them a box. If yo

We have done this at work before, once to make splits for sale and the other for production hive Queen replacement... 

split board is a mat with side entrance..

made the “top” with 3-4 frames of brood and shake the box full of bees.. add a ripe cell.. 

you need to box the QR parent on the bottom according to it’s strength, the “top” isn’t going to continue growing for a while as it has no laying queen and a lot of the bees will return to the parent below. 

I’d imagine it a pain if you were planning to run this for a season and honeyflow as you gotta remove the top to work the bottom.

 

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Split in two with a solid hive mat between the boxes . Move old queen up with all the brood and most of food and face the new top entrance out the back .

leave a frame of eggs in bottom box . 

 

No need to shake any bees off frames 

Youll need to to go back a week later and remove all but one queen cell in bottom box or they will swarm 

 

 

 

There you go , two different ways 😉

Edited by M4tt
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i havn't done this method but do know someone who does. however they don't do it for swarm control.

IMHO your better off doing other swarm control measures and leaving splitting as a last resort.

one of the issues with top split is that it now gets in the way for doing regular work.

by mem the guys used to have new queen on top but i think they remove the top split fairly quickly anyway. however old queen up top is probably better so you can still work that without disrupting the new queen below.

 

i've actually overwinter a double queen hive at home here. we don't have the same winter issues. they build up very well and its surprising the bees don't actually use the top entrance at all. 

now they are split apart for the rest of the season.

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Hives swarm because they are strong and short of room or because they are strong and doing nothing. Most years the majority of hives will only swarm if they are short of room so give them a box. If you have a dearth period in November then your hives may swarm from  boredom regardless of how much room they have and only regular checking and brood removal will solve that particular problem. As for making  splits I do it all the time but in autumn. I basically even up the amount of honey and brood in the two brood boxes but shake the majority of the bees into the top as a lot of those bees will drift back to the old entrance. If I am leaving the old Queen I put a few less bees up the top as she tends to hold onto them better than a queenless hive. I normally kill the old Queen and put a cell top and bottom. The top hive has a completely separate entrance and is not connected in any way to the bottom hive. You could split your hive now for swarm control but  it's getting pretty close to the main honey flow and the stronger the hive the more honey you will get. If your hives are really swarmy then get some decent queens of a breeder. This won't guarantee that they won't swarm but they will be a lot less likely to.

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I use the vertical split method every spring, I started doing it when I didn't want any more hives. I usually carry it out in late Sept/early Oct.

 

8 hours ago, M4tt said:

Split in two with a solid hive mat between the boxes . Move old queen up with all the brood and most of food and face the new top entrance out the back .

leave a frame of eggs in bottom box . 

 

My version goes:

Bottom brood box with brood and eggs, then a Super, then Hive mat with opening to rear of hive, Top brood box with Queen and plenty of pollen and honey. If the hive is really cranking, I will put another queen excluder and Super on top of this also. The original foragers return to the bottom box and fill the lower super with honey. There is plenty of feed coming in and the hive produces good quality emergency cells. The hive is not overcrowded and the resulting virgin queens scrap it out rather than swarm.  You can of course go back later and remove surplus emergency cells if you prefer. I did that in the first couple of years but decided the extra time wasn't worth it. 

 

If I'm lucky and the Spring weather gods smile on us, some of these virgin girls mate and turn into decent queens which I take out and use elsewhere,  otherwise they get squished. Either way, one month later I remove the queens from the bottom boxes and recombine the hive with newspaper. The hive mat with the rear entrance gets put on the top of the hive (so the forages from the top box can get back in). At this point the top brood box has a very healthy population because the queen has been getting on with business upstairs. The bottom brood box has heaps of laying room and the hive typically has masses of bees. Timed correctly I end up with stonking big production hives ready for the main flow. 

 

As a system it requires only an extra hive mat per hive, rather than all the gear needed for a true split. It also means that you manage the number of hives you have, rather than ending up with more than you can provide forage for. (I have never sold hives, there are already too many).

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It’s basically just creating an artificial swarm, except you’re saving the hassle of catching them again because the queen can’t fly with only nurse bees in her part of the hive .

 

You can infact go on to run it as a two queen hive , one in the bottom box and one in the second just separated by a QE. I have been know to merge two weak hives like this and they  am produce a large honey collecting system when the conditions are right .

Two queens separated by a QE get on just fine .

Edited by M4tt
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7 minutes ago, M4tt said:

You can infact go on to run it as a two queen hive , one in the bottom box and one in the second just separated by a QE. I have been know to merge two weak hives like this and they  am produce a large honey collecting system when the conditions are right .

Two queens separated by a QE get on just fine .

And in  about three weeks they produce the mother of all swarms and I come along with my boxes going oh goody

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Thanks for the responses people.


@john berry I'm currently doing all those swarm control things, and in a couple of hives I have new queens. This idea is more of a plan if I feel I need to do an artificial split. I don't plan on doing it unless I feel I have to.

 

@milkandhoney when you do it, with your bottom box do you put an excluder between the brood and super? Or once there is a new queen in the bottom do you let her lay in both boxes.

 

@M4tt When you do a 2 queen hive, do you go brood, exluder, brood, excluder, then honey supers?

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From your experience, do they actually produce more honey when dual queen? Or about the same as a well managed single queen.  One advantage that I can see, unsure if its fact or fiction, but a double queen you might be less likely to have partially drawn out frames than having 2 single hives.

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31 minutes ago, BRB said:

From your experience, do they actually produce more honey when dual queen? Or about the same as a well managed single queen.  One advantage that I can see, unsure if its fact or fiction, but a double queen you might be less likely to have partially drawn out frames than having 2 single hives.

 

its a double hive so typically they produce double the honey as a single.

the only real difference between a double hive and 2 singles is you use one less base and lid.

if your quick enough you can put on one box at a time and that reduces the chance of ending up with less drawn out frames. but its also easy to get caught out and not have enough boxes on, or harvast honey quick enough to stop it becoming a massive hive you need a step ladder to get to.

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I agree with Tristan . 
 

I try to avoid them . 5 or 6 3/4 boxes in a hive is plenty. 
 

Double queening is a useful way to get two weaker hives up and going , and then split again before the flow . 
Requeening dud queens is easier 

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3 hours ago, BRB said:

when you do it, with your bottom box do you put an excluder between the brood and super? Or once there is a new queen in the bottom do you let her lay in both boxes.

 

Yes. Bottom box, excluder, super then division board. Second brood box with Queen above that.

No, I don't want her laying in the honey super, that goes back up on top when the hive is recombined.

 

 

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The two queen method sounds like a plausible method of boosting a weaker hive that has an old queen, with a new queen in a nuc placed in a10 frame box on top separated by the queen excluder and a sheet of news paper. Once strong, remove old queen and the queen excluder.  Any body tried this ?

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8 hours ago, eifion williams said:

The two queen method sounds like a plausible method of boosting a weaker hive that has an old queen, with a new queen in a nuc placed in a10 frame box on top separated by the queen excluder and a sheet of news paper. Once strong, remove old queen and the queen excluder.  Any body tried this ?

Yes. It works well .

 

It gets the hive up and running quicker than by just replacing the queen . 

 

Edited by M4tt
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Look up Demaree:-

 

Queen on one frame in lower brood box, space filled with comb/foundation. Excluder. Super(s). Excluder. Brood box with all the brood on top. The hive stays together as one with no loss of foragers as the flyers return to the hive entrance and forage as normal. Any queencells can be cut out of the top brood box after a week. The idea is that you seperate the brood from the queen to minimise any swarming instinct. You can swap the brood boxes later.

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7 hours ago, AdamD said:

Look up Demaree:-

 

Queen on one frame in lower brood box, space filled with comb/foundation. Excluder. Super(s). Excluder. Brood box with all the brood on top. The hive stays together as one with no loss of foragers as the flyers return to the hive entrance and forage as normal. Any queencells can be cut out of the top brood box after a week. The idea is that you seperate the brood from the queen to minimise any swarming instinct. You can swap the brood boxes later.

That's an interesting option.  No top entrance? 

Have you tried it yourself? 

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