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Double hive

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Scout Bee

Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 358
Location: UK Cornwall, Falmouth

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 8:13 pm    Post subject: Double hive Reply with quote

Last year in early July I went to install a large established swarm into an empty TBH only to find a swarm already moved in! (R) So I put the colony in the other end (L) with 2 followers between them. The little swarm (R) grew but remained fairly small (7 small combs) going in to autumn. During the winter during a warm spell L was very busy. R was not and later, I even observed a fly going in and out of R and only one bee at the entrance. 3rd Feb, very little activity, 17th March masses of activity and very little from L. In April there was no activity from L.

This week I inspected starting with the "empty end" (L). There was some empty comb with perhaps 10 sealed unhatched worker brood, then several combs of crystalised honey with a lot of bees on it - squeezing past the followers back into the other side.

When I inspected R I found 4 combs of brood in all stages (but not seen eggs or queen, but I find that hard) followed by 3 combs of sealed and unsealed honey + pollen. It looks as if the L queen failed over the winter and the colony moved into the R side! Done their own combination! I gave R several of L's combs and 2 empty bars between so they have more room now.

So I am pleased in the circumstances that my followers leak bees but what are other people's experiences of 2 colonies in one TBH?
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Foraging Bee

Joined: 27 Nov 2015
Posts: 136
Location: Ireland, west

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bridget.

Just a question and hope its not a silly one......

If the bees could get between the follower board, would the stronger bees R have killed the queen in L, resulting in the bigger R colony? Sorry if its asilly question but just curious.

Hope all your other bees are doing well. Weve had fantastic weather here in west of Ireland and my 2 hives are a humming..... soo pleased with them especially for my first year.
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Silver Bee

Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have run a hive with two colonies one at each end with no trouble.
You can balance the colony sizes with brood transfer.
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee

Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 589
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One year I caught a swarm from a hive and put the resulting swarm in to the other end of the original hive, with a follower for each colony. I used masking tape to seal the two colonies off from each other. I don't know if it really made any difference.

I just about got them through the summer and following winter without running out of room, but it was a close run thing. The two followers were jammed up to each other by the end of September.

I got a new hive for the following spring. Obviously it depends on the size of the hive and the general conditions, but I wouldn't have managed the following year.
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