Two-queen hive management using package bees in the Peace River area, Alberta, Canada
For ten years we have used a two-queen beekeeping system for our 1500 colonies starting each year with 2-lb packages of bees. Our results have been sufficiently economical and beneficial for us to continue with the system, although it involves extra equipment and labour. The Peace River area is the northernmost beekeeping area in Canada, and although the honey flow can be over by the first two weeks of August, we do not start the second queens until the first two weeks of June. This leaves very little time for the colony population to build up, but for some reason the honey production is better than when the second queen is installed at any time between 1 April and 1 June. I do not know why this is, but Don Nelson of Beaverlodge has shown that honey production depends directly on queen-related factors and he found that as few as 28% of package queens remain good queens throughout the season. The use of two queens enables many of the troubles to be corrected, thereby increasing the final honey crop.