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Author Topic: 2-queen tower system, does it work?  (Read 869 times)
D Coates
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« on: March 04, 2013, 10:11:02 AM »

I use drone removal as one of my IPM techniques for varroa control.  I'm considering trying the 2-queen tower system written about here.  http://ento.psu.edu/pollinators/publications/twoQueesn  Currently my 15 production hives are separated in groups of 5 in a "U" set up. Each hive is on their own set of cinder bocks.  Changing a few to this set up would require moving some hives onto leveled pallets.  Currently, it takes me about 30 minutes total to remove and replace my drone frames every 3 weeks as I only do 5 at a time.  I freeze them overnight and repeat the process on the next "U" the following day.

Does anyone here have actual experience with the 2-queen tower set up?  Is it worth it as a time saver and does it increase honey production as some claim (though not in this published report)?
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 12:29:29 PM »

Instead of going through all of that trouble, why not let the bees take care of the problem. if you are constantly treating the problem, the bees don't have to. Last year I collected local swarms and used local queens from colonies that are not being treated. The bees have taken control of the mites and SHB (I do you oil pans). I just made 15 splits and in almost every hive we had to clean up rogue brood comb, lots of it and the  hives were all full of young drones in every hive. We opened capped drone larva and had them all over the place, almost everything we looked at was mite free. We did find 1 mite in a hive at a rate of 1 mite per 5 hives. These hives were busting at the seams, I was afraid they would swarm before I split them.
I watch the bees in my OB hive and you can see them grooming each other, very aggressively. I have never seen a mite in the OBH. About once a week or less I find a mite in the bottom tray, usually alive. None of these hives have ever been treated but they seem to be doing quite well.
Jim
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D Coates
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 03:30:14 PM »

I've focused on using local swarms, local queens, etc. since I started in '06.  In '11 I went cold turkey on treatments and lost 14 out of 15 hives and 11 out of 15 nucs as they overwintered.  They were strong and had good stores as they headed into winter.  I ended up buying 6 nucs and 6 packages ($1,200) and 2 queens ($50) and resolved to not repeat that mistake again.  I got all my hives back up and running with the above purchases, a couple of the overwintered nucs.  Otherwise I filled up my apiary last year with local swarms and a cut out.  I headed into winter with 15 hives and 17 nucs.  Currently, I've still got 15 hives and 12 nucs so something is working and I'm going to keep at it.  Now I have to find if there's a way to do it more easily.  That's why I was asking for those with actual experience.

I'm happy for you and your success.  I hope it continues.  I tried it the way you explained and it failed miserably.  Last year I was only getting into my hives once every three weeks (unless I can see something odd going on from the landing board activity).  Pulling out a frame of drone brood gives you a quick overview of what's going on in the hive.  A side benefit is you can quickly see/feel how full the supers are and you know you're killing off a nursery of reproducing varroa.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2013, 09:55:28 PM »

I hope it works for you. Let me know how it works out.
Jim
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Finski
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2013, 03:50:40 AM »

.
I wonder how it can work?

Modern queens are so good layers that 2-queen hive is only bad idea.
Ordinary queen makes hives at the level of head and it is enough.

I have habit to join smaller hives to main yield. If I have 4 box hive, I join them. Big hives bring more honey but naturally taking off drone combs is more difficult.
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edward
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2013, 07:20:04 AM »

I've used a tripel when queen breeding.
Three hives side by side with one entrance in the middle.

The middle hive was queen less and made new queen cells , the side hives warmed and finished the queen cells

I would recommend that the queens are the same age and preform equally.

mvh edward  tongue
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Moots
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 07:09:13 AM »

D. Coates,
At the CABA meeting last night (Capital Area Beekeepers Assoc.), which is the local club in Baton Rouge LA....One of the members did a presentation showing a number of different methods for performing splits and other task.  One of the things he touch on, with quite a degree of excitement was a two queen tower.  For whatever it's worth, he raved about this approach like it was the best thing since sliced bread.  His emphasis was really on the increased honey production, which he made sound, extremely significant.

He had pictures of a hive that had been stacked 13 boxes high, says at the time he was too busy with his full time job to yank any Supers and did it just to see what the hive could produce.  It was quite a picture!

Good luck, and if you try it, let us know how it goes.  Smiley
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D Coates
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 09:07:06 AM »

Moots,

Thanks for the info.  It looks interesting and I was wanting to know the downside from anyone who's tried it.  I'll let you know what I find.
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