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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Mindo, Ecuador
    Posts
    14

    Default setting up a mini hive

    hi

    i have decidedto rais myself a few queens.
    i have all the hardware - what i do not figure out: how do i start a mini/mating hive.

    it has four little frames with foundation in it and now?

    dump in some bees and let them built up the comb and then add a unfertilized queen.

    thanks
    ingo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    798

    Default Re: setting up a mini hive

    Many get a head start by putting the frames in a full hive to get them drawn out and loaded with brood.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Hässleholm, Sweden
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: setting up a mini hive

    Quote Originally Posted by alhambrast View Post
    hi
    dump in some bees and let them built up the comb and then add a unfertilized queen.
    They will not be very eager to to anything unless they have a queen. Add some bees, the virgin queen and some feed at the same time and confine them for 2 days. After that a lot of the frames will be drawn and they won't drift back. Start looking for eggs after 2-3 weeks.

    I usually shake bees from a super, spray some water on them and add them wet to the mating hive. If the queen is newly hatched (max 1-2 days) it is safe to spray water on her and simply drop her among the bees.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Hässleholm, Sweden
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: setting up a mini hive

    It is a good idea to schedule another batch of queens to emerge about 3½-4 weeks from the first. Just remove the now mated queens and this time add a queen cell instead and perhaps som more food. You may be able to repeat once more but usually the mating hive boils over with bees by then. If you remove frames you can continue you entire queen rearing season.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    455

    Default Re: setting up a mini hive

    Quote Originally Posted by alhambrast View Post
    hi

    i have decidedto rais myself a few queens.
    i have all the hardware - what i do not figure out: how do i start a mini/mating hive.

    it has four little frames with foundation in it and now?

    dump in some bees and let them built up the comb and then add a unfertilized queen.

    thanks
    ingo
    Have you figured out how you are going to hatch your queens? First you are going to have to have a plan on where and how you are going to get your queens. I just started raising some queens this year. I am only raising a few for myself and a few friends. The way I do it is make the hive queenless that I want to hatch new queens from, then I let them make as many emergency cells as they can. Then I set up my nucs. I use 5 frame deep nucs, but again I'm only raising a few queens. I pull a couple of frames of brood from some of my stronger hives and place them in my nucs. I go to my queenless hive where they have made the emergency cells and pick out a nice cell that is easy to cut out and cut it out and attach it to one of the frames that I am installing in my nucs. With 2 frames of brood and all the house bees covering them you will have enough bees to raise your queen, but since it is such a small amount of bees and they are all house bees you will have to feed continuously. I set up my ncs and add the cell on day 6 after queen cell is capped. I have had good luck doing this, and if for some reason you don't use your queen, just let them grow and later move them into a 10 frame or just add more nuc boxes. They will grow into a nice hive leaving them in the nuc if you keep adding boxes. A lot of people will tell you that emergency cell queens are inferior, but I disagree with them. I have raised some very nice, big queens this year that are laying lots of eggs and have nice patterns. This works for me and it is the easiest way I know for raising a few good queens. If I was planning on producing more than a hundred or so queens per season, then I would probably look at some more commercialized methods. Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Bill91143; 09-02-2013 at 08:06 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,603

    Default Re: setting up a mini hive

    I built several mini mating nucs. they have half frames that when fit together fit in a deep box as a full size frame. So I placed them all in hives this summer and the bees are working on drawing comb on them.

    My problem was that i had wanted to produce queens back when I made those boxes. long story short that plan did not work out well.

    So on to plan 2 which was queen castles. I made 3 of them from 10 frame deeps with 4 2 frame compartments each for a total of 12 compartments. I then grafted larva and attempted to get queen cells made. that did not go all that well but it is another story and lots of things for me to refine in the process. Anyway eventually I did get some good queen cells and the castles made it as easy as taking two frames form any hive that could spare them. one needed to be capped brood. I kept the queen cells in an incubator until they emerged and then they where introduced to the castles for their mating flights. Success at mating turned out to be about 50%.

    Next spring during the prime queen production period I will be ready with at least 17 various nucs or compartments to get queens mated. I can keep 100 or so queen cells in my home made incubator. so it is going to be something of a get them mated and moved to nucs process. I am also looking at just making a huge 8 or 12 foot long queen castle with multiple compartments. I will sell virgin queens that I cannot find room in mating nucs for. But I am out to save every queen cell my bees produce next spring.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Hässleholm, Sweden
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: setting up a mini hive

    If I start a mini mating hive without brood I prefer to add an already hatched queen rather than a queen cell. If I add a queen cell, I need to let the bees dry up for a while first (a couple of hours or so) before adding the cell, otherwise they will not keep it warm. Also I know how many mini mating hives to create if the queens are hatched.

    I also mark the newly hatched queens, it is easy to handle them since they are slow and don't fly. The next time it is possible to handle and mark them is not until they are mated.

    When replacing the mated queen with a new one in the small hive I'm still looking for a method to add hatched queens with good acceptance. That is why I'm using cells the second time, but marking them later on is a lot more time consuming, as well as handling the 10% hives that the cell did not hatch in.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Jacksonville, NC
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: setting up a mini hive

    Quote Originally Posted by OlofL View Post
    When replacing the mated queen with a new one in the small hive I'm still looking for a method to add hatched queens with good acceptance.
    I've been making and working with quite a few of these mini nucs all year long. I also like replacing the mated queen I take out with another virgin, not a cell. These mini nucs at times, might not keep a cell warm enough to hatch. I have no problems with placing cells in normal size nucs ( 3, 4 or 5 frames), however, I like virgins for the mini mating nucs.

    If the virgin is very young, 1 day to max 2 days, I take the mated queen out and in 2-3 hours I just dump the virgin in. I sometimes dip them in honey, some times not. But, these are 1-2 day old virgins.
    If the virgins are older than 1-2 days ( I have used them all the way to 10-12 days old), then I take out the mated queen, shake the bees from the mini frames out in front of the hive...and place the caged virgin in the nuc, and let her be for 3 days. At the same time, I also add a nice chunk of fondant/bee candy or even crystallized honey to the mini nuc.

    After 3 days, I take out any Q-cells that the mini nuc might have started, take the virgin out of the cage, dip her in honey and with a tea spoon I take her out and place her in the mini nuc, sort of on the back wall or between the frames...never failed...in the sense of acceptance by the mini nuc. Great acceptance...no balling...no fighting. And like you mentioned, the virgin queen is marked already...

    Now, just like with any other set up, the queen might not return from mating fights, but the chances of that are similar, at least in my case with the regular size mating nucs, or queen castles.

    So, what works/worked for me might not work for others...one of the typical tenets of beekeeping.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Mindo, Ecuador
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: setting up a mini hive

    hi

    so many great tips - thanks a lot.
    am overwhelmed and still reading :-)

    one thing though: if i make a hive queenless, can i put that queen in another queenless hive??

    thanks
    ingo

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,603

    Default Re: setting up a mini hive

    General advice would be that yes you can add her to another quenless hive. But I have lost every queen I have tried that with. my hives accepting queens is not good and usually I go through two or three of them before one takes. I could be it is my method that is lacking though. My advice to myself about increasing the acceptance is to introduce them in a cage with candy. The other idea is no queen is transferred without being moved with two frames of her own brood and bees. My favorite plan is to simply place any removed queen in her own nuc with her own daughters and not have not worry about it. I never loose a queen that way. Queenless hives get dealt with with produced queens. Plus it is one more place to let a virgin get mated. The risk of ending up with laying workers makes it all a bit more dicey. So in all it is a bit more of a complex decision to make. It does stink to just end up with two queenless hives though.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,448

    Default Re: setting up a mini hive

    I raise queens and have an Agricultural facebook page just for bees, farm, self sufficiency and science.
    Lots of photos and instruction. Scroll down for lots of info.
    This winter when I have more time, I will be posting more queen rearing info as well as the mini mating nucs I have built and used/their advantages, disadvantages and how to get the mini frames filled. There are several different ways to accomplish this. Some of this is already on the facebook page.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mille...56954971040510
    Your climate/stocking resources and plans for cycling queens in and out will determine the size you will want to use.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Thomson, Ga, USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: setting up a mini hive

    If you put the pulled queen in a Cali. cage with a candy plug ("Dots" work fine) and force a slow introduction (at least six or seven days), that should work, right? I've also stuck a frame of varying stages of brood right beside the queen being introduced to a queenless hive so that when they hatch they will hopefully feed her through the cage wire and "think" of her as their true queen (heck, use some of the queen-in-question's brood, for that matter!). Anyway...with a lot of patience and finger-crossing, I have had an excellent success rate of introducing mated queens to queenless colonies (even some colonies with laying workers...I shake all the bees out of a laying worker hive and put the new queen [mated already/a pulled queen] in a cage directly between two frames of brood and WAIT for six or seven days before even allowing the bees access to the candy plug).

    Lauri, I sure wish y'all were closer! We're a nation away, but I love the FB page. It looks great!

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