Overwintering demarees?

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Apr 29, 2023
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Location
Northumberland
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
100
This has been my first year using Demaree's and they proved invaluable in all that hot weather preceding this terrible past month, I've still got a couple configured as such and am now turning my thoughts as to how best to overwinter them - currently, although the queens in all are this year or last years queens, when I went in one today, the top brood box was full of brood, bees and doing excellently, whilst the original queen at the bottom entrance was scarcely covering three frames of brood. I'm tempted to put them into some of the half brood boxes I got from bee-equipment, sharing the brood and side by side with the same arrangement above and food on top. Is this feasible? Would be really great to have a spare laying queen for early splits in the spring and from the book from NBB on two-queen hives, it sounds too like colonies with two laying queens in are better honey producers than two single colonies. Just wondered what people's thoughts and experiences were - the book I'm talking about covers Wells hives to the present day, so interested in others experience of trying to maintain more than one queen, cheers.
 
You could nuc the bottom queen and drop the top box down
Perhaps it is the best option since the lower queen looks a bit loose and leaving the demare when the bees form a wintering ball will keep one of them.
Either you choose or they choose, but the chances of both seeing spring are only possible by separating them into two different hives and still nothing is guaranteed.
 
original queen at the bottom entrance was scarcely covering three frames of brood
Weak colony and at risk of robbing; queen likely failing, so best in a nuc.
Strong top colony better on the floor, as Deemann suggests.
 
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when I went in one today, the top brood box was full of brood, bees and doing excellently, whilst the original queen at the bottom entrance was scarcely covering three frames of brood.
In normal circumstance (single queen colony) that colony would probably supersede about now.
In a case like this I would introduce the bottom queen to the gatepost and bring the top queen down.
All my Demarees are now back as single broods - any with strong queens top and bottom have been split into two colonies, in one case the top queen was just moved over to the neighbouring hive and united (failed imperfect supersedure) Any with old/weak queens in the bottom, the old queen has gone and boxes consolidated.
 
Perhaps it is the best option since the lower queen looks a bit loose and leaving the demare when the bees form a wintering ball will keep one of them.
Either you choose or they choose, but the chances of both seeing spring are only possible by separating them into two different hives and still nothing is guaranteed.
You're talking sense - the only realistic option is to nuc or run in adjacent half brood boxes but nuc would be easier. I AM tempted to run them in adjacent half's, doubled up, but ofc it deviates ever further from the holy KISS principle. I'm definitely impressed with Demaree's though, and am intentionally double-queened colonies aren't more popular, at least during the season if not for overwintering. Cheers, R
 
You're talking sense - the only realistic option is to nuc or run in adjacent half brood boxes but nuc would be easier. I AM tempted to run them in adjacent half's, doubled up, but ofc it deviates ever further from the holy KISS principle. I'm definitely impressed with Demaree's though, and am intentionally double-queened colonies aren't more popular, at least during the season if not for overwintering. Cheers, R
Just a thought you could of used the top queen as a single brood for the heather if you move have heather?
 
Just a thought you could of used the top queen as a single brood for the heather if you move have heather?
It's not going to be strong enough for the heather, either broodwise or worker bee population
 
Just a thought you could of used the top queen as a single brood for the heather if you move have heather?
I've got heather a mile away and usually it's my main/only crop so they're alright where they are - just not getting enough time to cross the Tyne and get onto the fell for it in these brief, sunny spells, despite the ling flowering well.
 
It's not going to be strong enough for the heather, either broodwise or worker bee population
Why Rory said the top box was full of brood that implies to me that they are on at least 10 frames of brood?
Possibly if they were split earlier they would be a strong single brood .
 
Why Rory said the top box was full of brood that implies to me that they are on at least 10 frames of brood?
maybe so - but when you move the top box off a Demaree the majority of the foraging bees stay with the bottom box so you get a hiatus in income
 
maybe so - but when you move the top box off a Demaree the majority of the foraging bees stay with the bottom box so you get a hiatus in income
Aye I agree you could of bulstered them by putting them side by side and swapping hives so foragers would of populated the top demaree colony
Or used another strong colony in the apiary? To populate?
 
by the time you've faffed about the heather would be over - and the ivy probably! :D
Got far more important things to spend my time on.
Sun is out and bees to fettle
I was thinking before the heather starts possibly not waiting untill the flow ends
 

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