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  1. #61
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    The thing I don't like about the Brushy Queen Castle is that they are only two frames for each compartment. Two frames are hard to keep going well, particularly once the summer dearth kicks in. This winter I'm building a bunch of three frame queen castles. I'm hoping that the 3 frame versions are much more manageable in my local climate. I've never experimented with the mini frames, but I guess I'd prefer to stick with one uniform frame size. Got enough bee stuff rattling around already.....

    Regarding the screened bottom boards: I had several queens come back and get confused where the entrance was and found themselves trapped under the hive. This happened on some divided 5-frame nucs that I built with a SBB, not the Brushy queen castle that uses a mostly solid bottom. At this point I really don't see a need for the screened bottom on mating nucs, and perhaps even production colonies. Just need to make sure the nucs have adequate ventilation.

  2. #62
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    Nov 2004
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    Camas, WA
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    1,958

    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    I made my "queen castles" from a deep box and routed groves for 1/4" plywood dividers. I made divided the boxes in thirds and each third can take 3 frames. I have the 3 openings on different sides of the box. I actually like 5 frame nucs boxes better, but they take more resources. I don't think that I have a better final "take" with the 5 frame nuc boxes than the queen castles though.

  3. #63
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    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    "Just do it"!?? but that is where it all gets messed up and nothing works! Reality is like gravity. just drags you down.
    Well then, get back up.

  4. #64
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    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,661

    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    The thing I don't like about the Brushy Queen Castle is that they are only two frames for each
    The mediums are three 3-frame sections. I was told by a breeder that two frames were better for introducing virgins. Why would that be?
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  5. #65
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel View Post
    I am am also wondering where you get mini brood frames to replenish a hive mating nuc as you may have 7 - 10 days of a virgin queen in between breedings.

    How many breedings are you getting from a mini-nuc before needing to "re-make". Are your breeding yards completely isolated from your regular hive yards and as we increase I'm assuming we will need to increase drone production to insure good matings. We had considered drone combs in our best breeder hives to maximize our best drone breeders.
    My mating yard has 500+ minis, and is in the middle of 4 production yards. Plenty of drones in my hives.

    Not sure what you mean by the first sentence.

    Re-make the mating nuc? Why do you have to re-make it? Leave her there long enough and the new queen lays up the empty cells pretty well. Really, they get too strong and I pull a comb and give foundation with every catch. I get about three rounds from each nuc for the season. The mating nucs are wintered, built up in the spring, and split up when cells are ready at the end of May.

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Here's the feeder for that mini nuc. I wouldn't use it in a monsoon, but I've used it in the rain and it is fine, no leaks, no robbing, no problems. The hole is smaller that the lid so the jar rests on top the wood, not down in the hole.







    While I am at it, FYI, if you feed with mason jars over a screen, be sure to punch your holes (With a leather awl or equivelent tool) and then invert the lid.



    They can't quite reach the syrup throught the screen if the lid is slightly concaved. I use wide mouth jars because more bees can access more holes at one time. Here is how I get rid of my syrup when it is getting close to fermenting. All these jars were full when I set them out. But the wide mouth jars always empty faster. I generally don;t feed this way to avoid encouraging robbing and always set the jars away from my hives.





    Heres some feeding through a screened inner cover. This is a fall photo, Dadant Beemax deep quad with two of the dividers removed to house two mating nuc colonies.



    Half of my mating nucs were divided deeps . With a one gallon feeder to start until they got too full of bees. Works very well.


    I did a few divided shallows, but couldn't use an inner feeder. I liked the deeps better

    Last edited by Lauri; 12-03-2012 at 06:38 PM.

  7. #67
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    The mediums are three 3-frame sections. I was told by a breeder that two frames were better for introducing virgins. Why would that be?
    My problem has nothing to do with introducing virgins, but simply colony size during tough times. My guess is that a small the hive (2 frames), hence smaller population, will give fewer problems when introducing virgins.

  8. #68

    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel View Post
    Dan - you have tried several methods we have been considering and I'm wondering what your view is the full size advantage over the mini nucs.

    Now the stupid questions - I have looked at the queen castles (mainly at the brushy mtn store), I like the concept a great deal but am wondering if the castles tend to loose more queens due to the potentail of bees intermingling when the top is open and frankly, at least the Brushy mtn unit, the internals and tops seem kind of loose and an invitation to queens getting a shot at each other. I am am also wondering where you get mini brood frames to replenish a hive mating nuc as you may have 7 - 10 days of a virgin queen in between breedings. How many breedings are you getting from a mini-nuc before needing to "re-make". Are your breeding yards completely isolated from your regular hive yards and as we increase I'm assuming we will need to increase drone production to insure good matings. We had considered drone combs in our best breeder hives to maximize our best drone breeders.
    This will be my first year experimenting with minis. I have used 5 frame nucs for the last few years for management reasons. My last round of queens stays in the nuc over winter to be sold as a 5 frame nuc in the spring. Each nuc gets supered with another 5 frames and fed till the top box is full. In the spring I sell off 5 frames and have 5 frames to continue the mating nuc. I'm wanting to try wintering a bunch of the half frame mediums to be able to make more mating nucs up quickly in the spring. It's all about what works for you. I'm not a big queen rearer but the small things make it a lot easier and saves a lot of time. Working a full time job and having two young kids takes it out of my family during bee season. I have 1- 4 way queen castle and I hate that thing with a passion. I have a hard time getting good queen matings in it and keeping it going just right. I have a few 3 way queen castles and they do pretty good. If I was going to go the queen castle route I would make more 3 way with each holding 3 deep or medium frames. I prefer the 5 frame nucs they are easier to feed and have plenty of room to grow if I have more queens then I need for that week. They are also nice to harvest full frames of brood from to make splits. But, it does take a little while longer to find the queens. Take my information with a grain of salt. I'm still learning lots and only ran 75 mating nucs this year.

  9. #69

    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    >>Don't read too much into the reports. Use what you have, change later as the need becomes apparent. Most importantly...Just Do It!
    I couldn't agree more!!!

  10. #70
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    Sep 2007
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    New Albany, Ohio, USA
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    368

    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Mike,

    Am I reading your post correctly? 500+ minis in your mating yard? Do you have all of your nucs in one yard? I am just trying to think in terms of what resources will support in my area for yard size. 500 minis would equal roughly 50 double deep colonies, is this correct? Do you have to do any feeding of your nucs? I know you have some pretty good summer forage in your area.

    Thanks,
    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  11. #71
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    That's right. They are all in one yard. 500 minis would be the same as 250 four frame nucs. I have to feed some when I set them up, if I haven't got enough mini frames of honey. After that, during the mating season, I don't have to feed. Actually, we catch the queen, remove a comb of honey, and add a frame of foundation, because they're getting so crowded.

    How strong is the flow in my valley? One day we were catching queens. Added the foundation to the minis and moved on around the circle. About 20 minutes later, we went back into one nuc, I forget why, and the foundation was nearly drawn. 20 minutes Joe!

    Sometimes in August there can be forage issues. In 2011, we had a drought, and no late summer flow. Bees couldn't raise brood, varroa decimated what brood they had, and I lost all the mating nucs. As per our phone conversation, this winter I'll be building supers that hold 10 mini frames. These will go on top of the expanded minis after the last catch. If we're in drought conditions, I'll move them out of the valley to the foothills.

  12. #72
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    JSL, I can tell you that 500 minis (deep bodies split 4 ways) would be 125 deeps or 62.5 double deep colonies.

    Everythign I have sen on Cell Builders says you need to feed them. that has to do with wax production. A mating nuc must have a feeder and be ventilated because the bees spend days at a time confined to it. Not all queens form a particular deep are allowed to make mating flights at the same time.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  13. #73
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Michael, with 4 frame nucs are you able to release both queens in that nuc for mating flights at the same time?
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  14. #74
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    In addition to the mess it can make have you ever had problems with bees "cutting" cells in a heavy flow. I love a lightbuildup flow but my experience has been that a heavy flow can create a lot of problems.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  15. #75
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    I have a question from what I read in Jim's post above. Why is cell cutting considered a problem. From what I understand it is the result of bees shortening honey storing comb back to brood rearing depth. Since the brood nest is in constant fluctuation this seems about as much of an issues as having to make comb in the first place. or cleaning cells after each bee emerges.

    I am not sure I am thinking of the same thing though.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  16. #76
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    I wanted to build box's to hold mini deep frames. My box joint jig isn't set up yet and I really didn't want to make butt joints. Here is the prototype box's I used last year, made with standard 10 frame deeps. The only thing I am doing different this year is making them out of 8 frame deeps instead of 10 framers.

    This box is so versatile-you can use it as a 6 frame nuc or for mini frames-or both.

    I staple in a follower board as a divider and frame holder. Internal feeder on the other side. With the 10 frame box's I added another frame on the off side just to control the empty space, but the bees will never build burr comb there. They will cross the barrier to feed, but never to build comb. If I put a frame of honey on the other side they empty it and move it to the mini frames.
    Here's how standard frames fit into the space:


    I run one long side of my box on the router table to cut a shelf for one side of the frames to rest on. You can do it before assembly, but you can also do it after.
    Here's the same box with the mini frames:


    (I have a photo of the box occupied with bees, but am still looking for it)
    Here is how it fits with a one gallon feeder. This is the configuration I will use in the 8 frame deeps.



    The last thing to do is make a follower board to divide the mini frames-and you turn your growing box into two instant mating nucs. Just make you bottom board ready to accommodate the divider and two entrances.



    A grove in the box for the divider is not necessary, but if your follower board is just slid in with out a grove, be sure you don't accidentally move it when manipulating the frames.

    This is also nice for combining mini frames and standard frames. Place a few standard frames of bees and brood on the small side. Then they'll combine nicely. Once the brood has all hatched they'll only store honey on that small side, queen won't go over there.

    I actually made a combo box for one larger colony and two separate mini mating nucs..LOL yes it worked well and would be great for a person who just wanted to raise a few queens. (Shown here with four frames in each mating nuc side, I would suggest using three instead) Remember, the queen won't go over the divider, So to stock the small sides, you need to move frames with bees, brood and stores to prepare them for your cell insertion. Then add your ripe queen cells and seperate from the parent colony with top inner covers.

    Hmmm, I think I need to make a video.



    Here is that combo box in use. Just remember to allow for separations on the bottom board and give them separate entrances. Separating the top is easy. Cut thin wood inner covers for each section-then top with one lid. Also, this photo is Shown before I added the queen cells to the small sides.)



    Dividing the box in half worked too, but I liked the above designs better. They are my version of a single colony box with more versitility and room than a five frame nuc:


    Above photo shows why I make my mini frames 9 1/4" instead of the standard 9 1/8" Using a standard 3/4" piece of pine or cedar for the divider, a smaller frame will fall off one side or the other. Frames shown are 9 1/4" and they barely catch the edge.

    Here is a clean photo of the divided deeps with one gallon feeder.Very easy to make and use.



    Screened bottom board for divided deeps. I have some with the entrances on each side, some like this which work fine when you queens are already mated. Notice the 'front porch' is screened for my wet climate.



    Here is a combo box with two separate colonies-this is an October 2012 photo. A warm day with lots of very young bees congregating on a big soft protein patty. Right side is mini frames constructed from combining a few mini mating nucs, left side is a colony on standard deeps, 3 frames over 3, also from a mating nuc. 3 frames of bees, brood and queen below, I added three frames of stores above to over winter. They kept growing to fill up the sections nicely.



    After this year I'll probably be having an equipment prototype sale to get myself standardized with all like equipment and designs. But for now, I'm having fun with it.
    Last edited by Lauri; 12-04-2012 at 09:32 AM.

  17. #77
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    Sep 2007
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Mike,

    Wow, 20 minutes is fast! It always amazes me what the bees can do when conditions are right. I might be able to put those numbers in a yard early, but our dearth starts about the first week of July and things can be a little ugly until mid-September.

    I think you will like the 10 frame boxes for the mini frames. I know I sure do. If only I could work nucs all the time!

    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  18. #78
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Call me crazy but I really prefer having builders in an area where flows arent too intense. A few years ago I decided that we needed to have our builders in the area that has the heaviest spring flows and it didnt work out well. We had some cell issues with what we assumed was Yellow Jasmine and then when the flow hit we couldnt seem to keep enough foundation in them to keep them from making a mess of the cells. Didnt have many issues with "cutting" cells but I have sure heard a lot of stories. Moved back to the old yard the next year and had much better success. We just have a regular feeding program of up to a pound of syrup per hive per day plus some pollen sub. to help mitigate any potential Jasmine problems and always keep a sheet of foundation towards the outside to give them a place to relieve their desire to build comb.
    Baby nucs, I am quite aware, are a whole different scenario. We used our own design for a few years and now have reverted to simply making up a lot of standard deep 2 comb nucs in split 10 frame boxes with a frame of honey for feed. Seemed like we were always struggling with them being too heavy or too light. It serves our purposes better as we can just transfer them back into 10 frame boxes and let them grow if we choose not to cage and recell, I also love the room that the queen has to layout in, I feel it makes for a better quality queen, keeps your nuc populations up better and gives you a lot more flexibility from a time standpoint of when they need to be checked. It isnt thrifty with bees but the simplicity more than makes up for it the way we operate. A lot of great suggestions on here (way to go Lauri) that probably apply to most people interested in raising queens. I just thought I would give a little insight into how it works for us in the spring.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  19. #79
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Quote Originally Posted by JSL View Post
    Mike,
    If only I could work nucs all the time!

    Joe
    Guess you'll just have to come here for July and August.

  20. #80
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    Sep 2007
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    New Albany, Ohio, USA
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    Default Re: Curious on Commerical Queen Rearing Yard Rotation

    Mike,

    Sounds like fun! Friends that catch queens in commercial queen yards tell me there is nothing better than spending the day catching queens in the spring of the year when everything just seems to be going right.

    Jim,

    I agree with you. A nice steady, but not too intense of a flow, works best for building cells. As a kid I looked forward to the black locust flow, which normally lasts 10-14 days in mid May. Now, I do not like it at all! I generally set my cell builders up in late April or early May and can count on nice cells until the black locust blooms. Then the bees have a mind of their own and do not want to work cells, the flow is just too intense. Once the flow passes, I rework the cell builders and they are content to make nice cells again!

    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

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