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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hampstead, NC USA
    Posts
    608

    Default stocking a 3X3 queen castle?

    I raise my own queens and really don't do a whole lot of it. I use swarm or emergency cells that I cause the bees to make after dequeening a hive(s).
    I've converted a few 10 frame deeps to 3X3 queen castles. I just put in 1/4" dividers that go from top to bottom, staple on a screened bottom and use some vinyle fabric on top that can be peeled back on one section while leaving the other two sections alone.
    This year I'm batting about .100 and it appears as if I am putting in too many nurse bees. I've gone into the few I've started and the honey/pollen in the brood frame and the other frame I supply is gone and there is no queen.
    My typical stocking method is a frame of mostly capped brood, a full frame of honey & pollen and a frame of drawn comb. I add to the number of bees that come on the frame of brood by shaking another frame of open and sealed brood into the section I am stocking.
    Should I be more precise by measuring the bees?
    Thanks
    Howard

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Kingsville, OH
    Posts
    959

    Default Re: stocking a 3X3 queen castle?

    I have made a few queens, but I always start with frame of brood that is young. (eggs, c shaped larva and a few capped brood). I think your a few days late.
    I understand you need eggs or larva 3 days old.

  3. #3

    Default Re: stocking a 3X3 queen castle?

    Are you certain you have isolation? Or are bees migrating all into one of the compartments? I've had much better luck with hatching the virgin queens in cages, then making the splits and introducing the caged virgins to them. I suspect that sometimes they don't recognize the potential of a queen cell, and abscond or move next door to a stronger scent instead.

    I'm curious though, you're suspicious of too many nurse bees because of the absence of the honey/pollen?

    Oh, do you shake bees from the same hive that you take the queen cells from? I have had bees shaken from a queen right hive, and gave then a queen cell right away, and they tore it down, because they still thought they were queen-right and didn't need it, or it didn't smell like the queen scent they knew.

    I think the biggest thing to take away here (from my experience) is a need for a minimum 24 hour queenless period before introducing a queen cell or larva to be raised as queens. This will greatly increase the odds of them being grateful for any queen source offered to them as they are desperate for her after 24 hours. If introducing live queens, of course cage them for a minimum 24 hours.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Question Re: stocking a 3X3 queen castle?

    yes, what is your failure?? never had too many nurse bees be a problem??? to few. but not to many......

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hampstead, NC USA
    Posts
    608

    Default Re: stocking a 3X3 queen castle?

    I discovered a crack in the divider between two section that bees were walking through. I suspect this may have been the issue.
    I'd still like to know a ballpark amount of nurse bees for these type of mating "boxes"??
    I give each section a sealed brood frame from various hives along with the clinging bees and another shake from a frame of open brood. I don't take from the nucs I get the cell from but I always wait at least 24 hours. If it is more than that I check for queen cups/ cells & destroy them.
    Thanks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,949

    Default Re: stocking a 3X3 queen castle?

    I think that one frame of brood and bees and another frame of bees shaken into the nuc is fine. If you put too many bees in, the new queens can fill the nuc with brood really fast. I just found eggs two weeks ago and now I have 2.5 frames of brood with the rest of the cells filled with honey and pollen.

    I was out tonight trying to figure out where to put bees and brood from 3 frames mating nucs. The 5 frame nucs are fine, but in the past two weeks the 3 frame nucs are completely full of brood and honey. I moved frames of brood from some chambers to 5 frame nucs had enough extra boxes to hold another chamber. Then I pulled a divider making one 3 frame and one 6 frame chamber. The 3 frame chamber the one with a frame of brood taken away.

    When I was making up the nucs I had some strong hives and needed places for bees so I shook extra bees into the queen castles. I should have just shaken more bees into the 5 frame nucs.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hampstead, NC USA
    Posts
    608

    Default Re: stocking a 3X3 queen castle?

    Good advice-thanks. I think the three frame castles are great. If a queen is produced that isn't well mated or is performing sub par it is easy to determine with the full size frames. They are easier to make then the mini units IMO and easier to manage. The threshold for stocking mini nucs gave me problems much worse than my recent one in my queen castle which was my fault.
    Too many bees? Sounds like a good problem.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: stocking a 3X3 queen castle?

    I figured about 1000 bees for my 3 framers.... rougly a cup and a half... its interesting to note, someone her in Il has convinced me queen size is largly related to mateing hive strength and food. Hes producing some great large queens that lay well but useing 3 frame nucs as breeders...... pondering if those queen castles are just to light to do a good job finishing that queen....

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