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Two Queen System - page 2

Swarm Cells

If swarm cells are found, when making the split, the bees may just raise more swarm cells in the bottom box.. In this case, proceed as previously described, but leave one frame of sealed brood and any broodless frames below, all with adhering bees. Take great care there are no queen cells, eggs or young larvae in these combs. The remaining combs, together with bees and the queen are placed in the top box.


If there are any sealed queen cells, then it is advisable to put the top box above a screened board straight away. Better still, above a board on another hive for a week.

All the flying bees will join those in the bottom box.


Within a week, the bees in the top box should tear down the queen cells. The queen, on the comb where she is found, together with adhering bees, can then be returned to the bottom box, as the bees will have lost the swarming urge.

Bees in the top box will now rear a fresh lot of queen cells on hatching larvae.


New Queen

If new queens are available, then some advantage in time can be achieved and a quicker build up of foragers.


An over-wintered colony is built up and the two queen unit is made up in an early flow. Two or three frames of brood are placed in the second queen brood body, with adhering bees. One frame should be sealed brood. If the parent box has adequate supplies, then a frame of new nectar and pollen should be given to the second queen unit. Bees from three more frames should be shaken in, as there will be a heavy drift back to the parent box.


Obviously, the old queen must be left behind. The old box is made up with extra frames and the new unit is placed above supers and a screened board. A queen excluder must be used under the supers.  A queen is introduced, by your favoured method, and the entrance moderately stuffed with green grass.


The new unit should be slowly fed and a frame feeder of syrup is the obvious choice. Any other method would need a dummy board to confine the brood nest. The unit must be absolutely bee tight. Any robbing will reduce the chances of queen acceptance. After a week or so, the new queen should be laying well and the screened board can be replaced with an excluder. The new unit can build up very fast and more frames should be added ahead of need.


Points To Watch

Later swarming preparations when the colonies become very strong, particularly likely at the end of a flow. In this event an artificial swarm may be necessary.


Too many brood combs clogged with honey in the top box, restricting the new queen. Some strains are prone to this, seemingly reluctant to store honey below the excluder. This will probably lead to swarming if not dealt with. There are several ways of tackling this:


Replacing full combs with empty ones.


Uniting the two colonies below the supers and perhaps swapping some full food combs.


Adding an excluder and super/s above the top box and scraping the cappings on food combs, to encourage the bees to shift the honey into the super.


Using a combination Two Queen/Snelgrove Board under the top brood box. This will divert returning foragers below the excluder, encouraging honey storage in the supers.



The two queen units can be united, without any special uniting  procedure. If this is left until the crop is taken, the two colonies can be simply united below the clearer board.


Late Honey Flow

If the Drawhive is moved to one side and replaced with the top brood box, on a new floor, which is then given most of the sealed brood, plus an empty super or two; the resulting colony with a young queen and all the foragers would be very strong and ideal to take up to the heather for a late honey flow.

The Drawhive would need watching to make sure the colony maintained enough stores.

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