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.
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