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Speeding up hive growth


If I added a second package of bees 2 weeks after starting a hive with a package, would it help build up the hive faster? Since it takes 21 days or more to have new bees from the queen, it seems adding another package a few weeks between the start of the hive but before new bees start to hatch would give a nice boost and get to a mature hive faster.

I know it isn’t the most economical but my goal is to get to a mature hive faster.



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I have never heard of anyone doing this, but it should work if you are careful. You would need to separate the bees with some layers of newspaper, so that they have time to get used to each others’ scent. I would put a second box (with drawn frames if available) on top of the established colony, with the paper between that and box below, then empty the package of bees into the second (upper) box. Also, you would have to discard (or give away) one queen - only one queen per hive and each package usually comes with a caged queen.


Yes, my question exactly. What will you do with the 2nd queen?


I was planning to use the newspaper trick to install the second package with a second box. I am hoping it helps the hive to build fast enough to have surplus honey this year and still have enough for winter.


Probably discard the second queen. If I had more experience it would be interesting to use two queens seperated by queen excluders like I have read is possible. I am not that gutsy yet.


Its surprising how fast a package can develop into a full colony, why not run two colonies and that way you have a comparison between your two hives, it will also help in the long run if one loses a queen. A fresh frame of eggs can be used to develop a new queen and save them. Boxes are inexpensive and easy to put together.


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Yeah, I plan on at least two hives. I have 2 packages coming first week of May and 2 more coming the third week of May. I am also putting a box out with lure on the chance I can catch a swarm. I am definately going to create two hive by joining some packages/swarm but may start a third. I figure the extra queens coming is insurance incase one dies for some reason from the first packages.


Jape has hives as high as the Empire State Building, and his queens can fly over them in a single leap…



I just think if you have 4 packages coming with 4 queens, in the long run, you’d be better off putting them in 4 hives. You could be destroying 2 perfectly good queens.

The other issue is the large colonies will buildup to swarming strength earlier which means you may have to split them to let the splits make new queens & those queens might not be as good as the ones you killed.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do, cheers


Expensive way to get a honey crop IMO. If your flow hasn’t started yet, keep each package in one box and feed them till they take no more. They will build up quickly and hopefully be ready for your flows.

BTW! Where in the world are you? Advice is hard to give without a location.



His previous posts say Pennsylvania, US = east coast, cold(ish) winters, warm humid summers. Northern hemisphere, so spring is starting - probably one of the nicest times of the year for him.


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Jape is right about big hives. They take a bit more fiddling than a commercial person would have time for BUT they can sure produce honey.



How about 4 hives. Use one as your spare. Keep it nuc size by robbing emerging brood frames to bolster your other colonies


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I am in south central Pennsylvania. Our main flow is May-June. With my first packages coming in early May, I will miss most or all of the main flow if I don’t build up the hives quickly. If I catch a swarm in April I may go with 3 hives, although I will need to buy a third flow super. I could also not harvest from the third and use it as backup incase I need to save one of the other hives.

Thanks, for the advice everyone. There are a lot of ways that work, it is just a matter of what your goals are. Next year one of the fields near me will be birdsfoot trefoil and clover so I should get a longer flow season. But this year I think it will be shorter. I hope I am wrong.


You may have gotten your answer already from above but I thought I would throw a penny into the $.02 :slight_smile:

Total new beekeeper here installed my 1st NUC on March 12. In my area it is suggested you run two brood boxes , so I’m contemplating on when to add my 2nd.

From my mentor, the NUC I installed was not an ideal NUC for it only had 3 frames fully drawn out on both sides, the other 2 frames had less than 20% on one side and nothing on the opposite outer side.

The below video is me opening up the hive Tuesday after work. Truly 2 weeks and 3 days after installing NUC. 3 weeks after installing NUC I will be adding my 2nd brood box. They build up much faster than I ever thought

On top of building up quickly, the frames I added to make up my 8 frame box i.e. I added 3 foundationless frames and they have all been drawn out. And they all have eggs and larvae in them