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  1. #1

    Default When is the best time to use a Queen Castle

    I have two Brushy Mountain queen castles that have been sitting in my workshop for over two years and I'm feeling comfortable enough with my bees now to dust them off and maybe put them to use. They have 4 two frame partitioned sections, each with their own entrance. A couple questions. Since swarm season is pretty much over for me, the chance of finding swarm cells is probably pretty remote in any of my strong hives. Should I wait until next spring to use them when there will be plenty of available swarm cells or have you had good luck with putting a frame with eggs and open/closed brood and a frame of honey and pollen in a section, then closing them up to see what happens? I'm thinking of using partitions 1 and 3 and then if a queen is produced, let's say in section 1, removing the partition between sections 1 and 2 thus expanding it into a 5 frame NUC. Is that how you would do it or is there a better way? Any thoughts will be greatly appreciated.
    queen castle.jpg
    Started beekeeping in 2013 and having a blast with my 15 small cell hives!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: When is the best time to use a Queen Castle

    >> Since swarm season is pretty much over for me

    If a colony feels ready to reproduce, it can swarm between Spring - Summer. It depends on how crowded the colony is, the ventilation, the queen's genetics, and various other variables.

    >> have you had good luck with putting a frame with eggs and open/closed brood and a frame of honey and pollen in a section, then closing them up to see what happens?

    I personally have not yet raised queens, although I have heard, read, and researched much.
    From what I've learned, the recipe looks something like this:
    Place one frame eggs/young brood, one frame nectar/pollen/capped honey, and honey bees into an unoccupied space. Do not include the queen. The bees will respond to the lack of queen pheromones and, sensing her absence, will bathe a handful of the eggs/young larva in royal jelly and raise them into queens. It is important for the brood to be as young as possible; brood converted into queens at a younger age produce more viable queens.

    >> Is that how you would do it or is there a better way?

    It depends on whether you want to keep queens on hand or produce more colonies. If you want to keep queens on hand, you can make larger nucs. If you want to make more colonies, put the new queen and honey stores (and perhaps more bees?) into an unoccupied box.


    Have fun with your queens and queen castle! It looks like fun... May have to take the leap.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    328

    Default Re: When is the best time to use a Queen Castle

    Since you have 15 hives, you have the perfect opportunity to raise your own queens. Then you can requeen, sell queens, make splits, whatever. Take your best hive, and take out the queen, on a frame with bees, and put in one of you queen castles with a frame of honey, or better yet, put in a nuc if you have one. The queenless hive will then start emergency queen cells. About day ten, break down that hive, putting two frames in each slot with a queen cell. You might have to cut some queen cells to make sure each of the two frames get a cell. If you really want some nice and easy cells, put a frame of foundation (unwired) in the middle of the brood nest, wait until it is drawn out and has eggs and just hatched larve, then pull your queen. The cells will be much easier to cut out that way, and the bees have an easier time drawing the queen cells. Have fun!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Richlands, NC
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: When is the best time to use a Queen Castle

    I have used that castle for the 1st time this year. I started out using slot 1 and 3. Then expanding to a 5 frame configuration. I have used one of the queens to requeen a hive. It is really handy. I don't have as many nucs spread out over the place.

  5. #5

    Default Re: When is the best time to use a Queen Castle

    Thanks everyone! You have given me some good concepts to work with!
    Started beekeeping in 2013 and having a blast with my 15 small cell hives!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    2,026

    Default Re: When is the best time to use a Queen Castle

    I am using that type of box for the first time this year.
    I grafted some cells and put the cells on Queenless frames with some brood and nectar.

    On the ones that didn't end up with a mated Queen I exchanged one of the frames for one with young larvae. Now they are making their own Queen without my having grafted.

    I pulled the 2 frames and the new mated Queen from a central slot last and put them in a nuc box. There were still quite a few bees on the bottom and side walls so I slipped in a bloodless drawn frame. If they sit on that I will shake them into the nuc this evening.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

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