Queen castle project

Discussion in 'Building plans, blueprints, and finished projects' started by crackerbee, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    I saw what's called a queen castle used for queen rearing on Brushy Mountain's site http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Qu ... tinfo/687/ ,and decided to build one.It can be sectioned off to make four two frame sections,or two five frame nucs.

    I had a deep hive body laying around that hadn't been assembled and and just needed to cut grooves in it for the dividers,seen here in the pic.

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    The next pic shows the other two dividers in place.Notice the entrance at the bottom that serves the third section,there are 4 entrances for all sections to have it's own(click to enlarge)

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    I decided to make the bottom board screened(I'm not sure if that matters or not),and supported the screen with blocks to ensure are no gaps under the dividers for the bees to cross,and the pic below that shows one of the individual entrances.I also had to cut grooves so the dividers went all the way down to the bottom board

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    The next pic shows the four separate covers to access one section at a time.

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    Pic showing side entrance(four total)

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    Here is the queen castle fully assembled with the telescoping cover.

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    Now all it needs is a couple of coats of paint,and me to learn how to use the dang thing :lol: .
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    :thumbsup: :coolphotos:
    Very nice Cracker, thanks for the pics!
    Anyone wanting to try building one of these now has a clearer idea how to do it.
     

  3. Robo

    Robo New Member

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    Very nice.

    Here is my take on the 4-way mating nuc.

    Robbing around here can be pretty terrible, so I have found a 1/2" entrance hole at the bottom is easy for a small nuc to defend and a 7/8" screened vent hole at the top helps lure robbers away from the entrance


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    Complete plans can be found here -> http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/downloads/
     

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  4. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    This is mine - built it last year. Haven't used it yet though:
     

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  5. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    Thanks Robo for the tips regarding the entrance size and vent holes,I can add the vents and block off part of the entrances,and thanks for the great pics too :goodpost: :coolphotos:

    Do you have anything on your site how to use the 4-way or where I might find some info about it?

    I wasn't kidding that I need to learn how to use them,I'm still real green trying to learn all this. :mrgreen:
     
  6. Robo

    Robo New Member

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    You use them almost like any other type of mating nuc. Since you have entrances on all four sides, it is best to just scatter them in random directions in your mating yard. Though I can tell you I have run them 4 to a pallet and did not notice any higher rate of queen loss. I hate feeding them, so I try to make sure each section has at least a 1/2 frame of honey/nectar, pollen, and space for the queen to start laying. When I first populate them I make sure they have capped brood as well.

    I recently did a small scale queen rearing podcast for Wildlife Pro Network which can be listened to here -> http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeepin ... -podcasts/
    Although it is based on using a graftless system, it does discuss mating nucs.
     
  7. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    multiple chamber mating boxes like this often sounds good but are somewhat difficult to manage. I myself often take almost worn out equipment and created multiple queen rearing units (most are simple two chamber spaces).

    I myself would suggest everyone notice Robo contribution. the entrance size is important but in a lot of places ventilation is of equal if not greater importance.

    lastly in most multiple chambered boxes I use here a bit of canvas or heavy cotton material draped over the top (under any hard covers) will greatly limit access (by workers and queen) from one chamber to the next.
     
  9. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    Here is the queen castle completed,and per Robo and Tecumseh's suggestions,I plugged the larger entrances then redrilled at 1/2",and added 2" screened vent holes.Robo's were 7/8" so I made mine 2" because it gets pretty darn hot down here in Florida,and figured the extra ventilation couldn't hurt.

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  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    With 2 inch, the bees can reduce. With smaller, they cannot increase. They will allow what is needed.
     
  11. Robo

    Robo New Member

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    Sure, got to outdo me ;)

    Bigger is always better, right :lol:
     
  12. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    You guys make me wanna go to lowes alot.
     
  13. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    So you're saying the larger vents are better Iddee?
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I would suggest that vent size should be somewhat to largely determined by your location and more exactly variation in temperature. with lower (generally night time) temperatures a smaller vent might be advisable and with high temperatures and/or limited night time lows a larger vent would be desirable.
     
  15. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    With a smaller vent, it is what it is and that's it.

    With a larger, screened vent, the bees will propolize it down to the size they want, and open it back when needed.
     
  16. Robo

    Robo New Member

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    What tecumseh said. :goodpost:


    I use 7/8" vent holes because they can easily be blocked off with wine corks. Where I am, we get some pretty cool nights in the spring and fall. Your weather and mileage will differ. :mrgreen: ........

    Don't forget, a two frame nuc doesn't have a large amount of bees and in a lot of cases have all they can do to take care of the brood when it is cold, let alone block of vent openings.
     
  17. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    how quickly will the bees outgrow this box an be well off enuff to put into a nuc box ??
     
  18. Robo

    Robo New Member

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    Highly dependent on the resources on the frames when they start, number of bees, the weather, how fast the queen mates and starts laying, and the flow.

    To keep them going as queen mating nucs, sometimes you need to swap out full frames for empty ones. Two frame mating nucs you need to keep an eye on, they can blister in a matter of days. If you are looking just to raise queens for a nuc, and not use it to continue to mate queens, you are much better off to start with the bigger nuc from the beginning.
     
  19. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    what do you mean by blister ?? Is there a reason they are 2 frames an not 3 ?? Could you put holes in the top an feed with a bottle feeder....the reason im asking is because i read once about a guy who took a few 10 frame hives an divided them up into 2 frame nucs an grew them into full hives...seems like it would take alot of work, resorses an a close eye on them to be able to do that but if i remember what he wrote he turned 10 hives into a 100 or something...an i think it read he took a whole year to do it....i wouldnt try that i dont think...but if i had a spare hive i would try for 5 just to see if i could do it....but not now.
     
  20. Robo

    Robo New Member

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    Become over crowed, honey bound, get the swarm instinct.

    It is all about resource management. When raising queens, mating nucs seem to be the limiting resource. I can get 20 mating nucs out of 4 10-frame deeps if I go 2 frames. If you go 3 you only get 13 queens. You can go with how ever many frames you want. If you go 5, your down to 8 queens from the same amount of resource.

    The plans I posted below have provisions for pint mason jar feeders. I try to avoid it. Not only is it a lot more work, but anytime your feeding syrup there is the chance you are encouraging robbing.

    Ya, I have heard similar tales...... Not saying it is impossible, but you need to have everything lined up perfectly and plenty of luck to pull that off. If it where that easy, the market would be flooded with nucs.

    At the end of the season, I take 1/2 the last batch of queens and combine the mating nucs into 5 frame nucs and winter them over.