Rivers of Honey with Alan Wade & Danielle Harden
About this event
A good queen heading a strong colony peaking at the beginning of the main flow is essential for a good honey crop. What could be better than that? Colonies headed by two, or multiple, queens? If it were easy it would be the normal method of managing honey bee colonies worldwide: the fact that it isn’t, tells us that two-queen operations are far from infallible and, to boot, require a modicum of beekeeping skill and a lot of effort. However, when they work… the late 19th.C English pioneer George Wells reported an increase from an average of 41lb to 157lb per colony using his system. Twenty five years later Cruadh in Ireland, Medicus and Ellis in Scotland and E.W. Alexander in New York State developed further innovations sporting two queens. Their schemes made similarly spectacular gains but proved fiendishly difficult to operate. Since then numerous attempts have been made to perfect the techniques and configurations involved, a few very successful, the majority less so.
Alan Wade from Canberra Region Beekeepers has spent his beekeeping life studying attempts to harness the workforce of multiple-queen configurations, getting to understand operations across the global beekeeping diaspora, and putting some of them into operation in his own hives. In this talk he will explain what leading exponents of hives with extra queens have tried, what worked for them (and him) and the pitfalls encountered along the way. He will be assisted by Danielle Harden who has adapted her backyard apiary into a multi-queen experiment. She brings the early-years beekeeper’s willingness to try something different and guides us through her development.
Alan’s full exposition of a most interesting subject has recently been published by Northern Bee Books as A History of Keeping and Managing Doubled and Two-Queen Hives.