Ken Record along with his son, Gerald, rule over a castle of prolific Queen bees.
Jokingly touted as the “King of Queens” by a fellow club member, Ken Record gave a detailed and informative demonstration on how he produces Queen bees that lay beautifully patterned and full brood frames.
Counting days till hatch is precise work. Jerry was quick to point out his father’s miscount as he found one queen on the run across the castle frame. She had hatched that very day.
Ken and Jerry work well together and are an invaluable source of honey bee information for our club.
Former Maine State Bee Inspector, Paul Szott, presented his own twist on an older practice of managing two queen bees in one hive.
I was aware that this can happen, rarely, in nature. Two queens bees existing in a single hive is not the norm, but it can have many
An ever continuing student of beekeeping, Paul Szott has studied the methods used for managing two queens in a single hive. As with most alterations to the bees normal situation, running a hive with two queens does demand more attention. It does not, however
require the bees to change their behavior, but rather relies on their ancient behavior to react to their altered environment.
Without going into all the details of the methods that Paul explained to his audience, it can be said that some bees from the same hive are to be separated or excluded from their queen for some time in order for them to create a new queen. This can be done with stacked boxes or a two tiered method.
Interesting facts worth mentioning are:
• Sister queens seem to accept each others close proximity more readily.
• Two queens in one townhouse style hive produce more brood and therefor more honey.
• Young bees and small clusters starting out do better in warmer hives surrounded by other bees.
• When you want to split the “two queen hive”, you will be splitting a hive that is already established giving it a better chance of success.
In my opinion, if there is one reason you should consider trying the two queen hive, it would be the last fact mentioned. Splitting hives successfully in Maine or any location that has a cold season the bees are coming out of prior to their natural swarming depends on timing. If you split too soon, they are weak, hungry with cool conditions, late pollen and limited food. If you split too late, they are already
swarming. At that point you should just split using a swarm cell – not a bad choice, but you risk loosing bees.
Any walk away split takes a whole lotta time, making the queen,
getting her mated and laying and waiting for brood to hatch. That is a small hive for a long time waiting for reinforcements. And they may not make a queen or the queen may not make it back to lay.
The two queen hive split is already up and running. They are strong enough to last through a Maine winter.
The following is offered by George and Harriet Robinson. It is their first hand advice on how to deal with mold on frames.
The honey frames from our dead hives were moldy.
Although the bees can clean them up to eat the honey if we give these frames to another hive, Carol Cotrill recommended killing the mold by wiping it with a solution of 9 parts water to 1 part bleach (I used 3 cups of warm water with 1/3 cup bleach).
We spaced the frames out into hives with 5 or 6 frames in a box so there would be plenty of air circulation and put them all outside in the air and sun on an above freezing sunny day (Feb 2).
We then moved the boxes back under cover. Hopefully we can split our remaining hives this spring and have lots of honey to put with them. We may use some as spring feed, too.
We won’t use the moldy frames as winter feed since cleaning off the mold isn’t something we want our winter bees to have to do.