Two hives are better than one...right?
That's what we were told at least, by multiple people in the beekeeping community when we were first getting started.
At first, we thought - no way. Two sounds like a lot more work than just starting out with one. We didn't even know what we were doing yet! But the more we asked around and researched, the more we realized that they were on to something.
The top reasons people recommended us to start with two hives were comparison and utilization.
Having two hives to compare progress has become a very handy tool in our beekeeping. The hives that we have currently had for about 3 months have grown at very different speeds. Our one hive with "Queen Lizzz" is also known as our little hive since it has developed a considerable amount slower than the other. The second hive, home of "Queen Beeatrice" has been booming in comparison and growing much more rapidly.
Comparing them both also gives us a much better idea of what looks "normal" and what seems a bit weird. One of which we really have started to notice is temperament/excitement.
Having two hives to compare gives us a great look into how they are both doing and when to help if one looks like it's lagging behind.
The second reason why we doubled up was that we could utilize the hives to benefit each other.
We haven't resorted to using resources from one hive to help the other quite yet but we did look into it when our little hive seemed to develop at a much slower pace. Taking a full frame of healthy brood from the stronger hive and swapping it into the weaker one can create a jumpstart for the struggling queen and the colony back on their feet.
We are still dabbling with this idea since one hive is thriving at a considerably faster rate, while the other is lagging behind.
What's holding us back from making that call is that the weaker hive is still growing and doing well, just at a much slower pace. Do we mess with their progress by trying to boost them or let them grow organically on their own?
Our plan, for now, is just to monitor both hives development, separately and by comparison and make a more educated decision in about a month or so.
So there you have it, both reasons why we decide to kickstart off our journey with two new hives instead of just one.
When you started beekeeping how many hives did you start out with? Let us know in the comments below!