thanks solomon, and likewise if you find yourself down this way. :)
regarding the queen castles, did you make your own?
I did make my own queen castles using the design found at my website: http://parkerfarms.biz/queens.html#Mating_Nucs
They can be made using only a table saw or a radial arm saw with some creativity. Having a dado set really helps but is not absolutely necessary.
i see you prefer the three by three in the ten frame box. that's what i'm leaning toward too.
if one of the three fails, can you simply pull a divider and let them combine?
Yes. In fact. in my most recent batch of mating nucs, I ran out of queen cells so I pulled two dividers and made two six frame mating nucs in two separate boxes.
I'll do the same thing when I find that one of the queens didn't return from her mating flights.
cool. i'm guessing that about when the first round or so of brood starts emerging they get moved into a bigger box.
i'm liking the idea of them ending up in five frame nuc boxes, mainly to have spare queens, brood, ect. to keep my my twelve production hives optimized and to have replacements for losses.
have you tried overwintering any nucs?
I think the long hives I've been experimenting with would make first class nuc batteries and queen castles. I'm using top entrances routed into the covering boards. It would be pretty easy to make up covering boards and dividers in the sizes you planned to use, and the system would be very flexible.
I imagine you could paint stripes of different colors, and have entrances on opposite sides, to cut down on confusion.
yep, i think that would work fine ray, and easier on the back too. :)
and there would be less heat loss if you tried to overwinter more than one in a box.
SOlomon, I do not have time to read yoru entire post much less this entire thread right now.
I will say it has captured my attention though. Right at this moment my apiary has expended from5 colonies to 10 in a little over a weeks time. I also found two of my hives queenless. I also desire to have a nuc for each of my hives. which I have none at this moment and not enough equipment for all of them. You comments on queen castles looks good to me at this moment.
I also believe that your Expansion model beekeping would fit into my inclination well. It is my base thinking on keeping of anything that thriving healthy and vibrant is the first order of business. For me it is like this. if you cannot take an average colony and build it to a healthy thriving colony. what makes you think you can take an ailing one and make it healthy. In general is see the effort is producing sick colonies form healthy ones. For me the whole thinking just does not fit. If you cannot keep a healthy colony healthy. you might as well exterminate them as they get sick. Bringing a sick animal back to health is a whole different level of skill.
I wish you well with your development of this method.
I feel your pain on the weather. Every time I think the weather has mellowed out I try something cool with the bees and the weather changes it's mind.