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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Bristol Va
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    191

    Default 5 Foot Queen Castle

    Ok I waited to post this cause I wanted to see how it worked. I wanted a Queen hotel that would have several separate compartments to place ripe cells in or virgins. I was a little worried about the queens taking there mating flights and being able to make it back to there correct section on there return from mating. I alternated the entrances for each section from one side to the other and also making every other one on the same side one on bottom and one in middle. The upper hole is a vent hole that is screened and each section has a vent hole on opposite side of entrance. I placed 9 cells in this all side by side a couple weeks ago. I ended up with 8 queens mated and laying out of 9. I don't think the box is the reason for the 9th one not making it back cause the one that was missing a queen is the very first one. I am planning on one more graft maybe doing it tomorrow and would like to see all 15 compartments filled this time to see how they do again.
    I cut a inner cover board for each compartment so when I was in the hotel I could work one section at a time without having all sections open. Has anyone else tried anything like this?
    Here is a few pictures of it before bees where placed in it.






  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    2,807

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    I have 3 four compartment castles setting side by side on a stand. basically creates exactly what you have here. alternating top and bottom entrances as well at front and back. I found I had problems with the bees trying to return through the vents. I cut them both front and back on my first one. the other I cut the vents in the bottom. I also need to make my entrances large. I drilled mine 1/2 inch and now think they should be 3/4" min and possibly 1". I just put 12 queens in the entire thing in the last couple of days so I still have to see how well they return to the correct compartment.

    One thing I notice about your color selection. I looked up how bees see color the other day. I can't remember all the combinations but I do remember that they see white as blue. They also see red as black. From what I can tell bees will see different colors in your scheme except where you have a red and black compartment next to each other. It will be interesting to see if you have any particular problem with those two.

    Keep in mind that from left to right bees are going to see. Blue, yellow, blue, Black yellow, blue, black blue, etc.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Buderim, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    Quote Originally Posted by darrellva View Post
    Ok I waited to post this cause I wanted to see how it worked. I wanted a Queen hotel that would have several separate compartments to place ripe cells in or virgins. I was a little worried about the queens taking there mating flights and being able to make it back to there correct section on there return from mating. I alternated the entrances for each section from one side to the other and also making every other one on the same side one on bottom and one in middle. The upper hole is a vent hole that is screened and each section has a vent hole on opposite side of entrance. I placed 9 cells in this all side by side a couple weeks ago. I ended up with 8 queens mated and laying out of 9. I don't think the box is the reason for the 9th one not making it back cause the one that was missing a queen is the very first one. I am planning on one more graft maybe doing it tomorrow and would like to see all 15 compartments filled this time to see how they do again.
    I cut a inner cover board for each compartment so when I was in the hotel I could work one section at a time without having all sections open. Has anyone else tried anything like this?
    Here is a few pictures of it before bees where placed in it.





    How is your Queen Hotel. Have you been breeding more queens that have successfully returned to their respective compartments?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    2,807

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    can't speak for this castle. but I know mine ended up getting 50% of the queens mated. I did not do anything to limit flying of queens to any particular day. I also do not consider the losses to be due to confusion when returning. My number one suspicion is heavy predation at that time of the year. I did not color code my boxes either but am considering doing so. I also plan on adding shapes above or around the entrances such as a square or triangle. Just to see if I am wrong on the returning thing and it will actually help my recovery rate.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,372

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    I have tried several similar set-ups, but not as large. I had a high loss rate too, and other than the cracks I didn't seal well between sections, have pretty much decided it was the birds eating my queens. Very frustrating.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,605

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    I had one very similar. Mine was 10 three frame nucs 5 entrances on each side, I ran it for one season and I consistently had low return rates on the middle of the castle. The ends were successful almost everytime but the middle was about 50%. Last year I went to mini mating nucs and regular 5frame nucs and had better return rates.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,646

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    I can tell you what a large queen guy told me, You will have poor sucess with that. Queens are not so good at returning to just the right hole, and you will end up with fighters and missed queens.

    I don't know from experince, just what he has told me.....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,817

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    I would say the more entrances you have close together, regardless of color, you will have queens returning to the wrong entrances as some others have said. This is just me, but if I were to go into queen rearing I would build mating nucs with only two compartments and those entrances opposite each other. I think getting mated queens would be higher that way.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    2,807

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    I have to work out the exact timing but I am thinking of closing up the entrances to my compartments and then only allowing certain ones to fly on any given day. Fewer wrong entrances to return to.

    I have my entrances alternated front and back as well as top to bottom. I consider the front to back to be more reliable. If I closed all the low entrances for example I would only have one entrance open on each side. That night I would close those entrances and open the lower ones. I would continue to do this each day until all queens are mated. This might require that I open and close compartments starting at the beginning of the second week after emergence and continuing for two maybe even three weeks.

    Having compartments with entrances at each side of the box woudl be even better. possibly eliminating the need to open and close entrances at all.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,218

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    Darrellva: Thos whole setup seems fraught with peril. Queen drift is going to be an issue anytime you place so many holes in such close proximity. That issue aside, though, you will find it quite challenging to keep correct bee numbers in each individual unit. Too few and your mating success will suffer, too many and they (and most importantly the queen) will "boil over" into an adjacent compartment and working them becomes very difficult. Trying to allot flying time by opening and closing entrances is really swimming against the current from a successful queen raising standpoint where mating flights occur on multiple and ideally consecutive days, and that dosent even address the issue of ventilation. I have split deeps in half with a single divider, split them into thirds, and even split them into 4, 2 comb units similar in size to what you have pictured. I can unequivocally state that particularly when dealing with a tall deep frame, the more you chop them up and the smaller and narrower the configuration, the greater the challenges are to maintain them and the greater the failure rate.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #11
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    Jim I do not see it as that simple. but more a matter of return on equipment etc. It could very well be that loosing 50% out of 16 compartments woudl actually be more productive then 100% return on say 2 or even 4 individual nucs in the same space. Think of it this way you want to produce 16 queens and I want to produce 16. You will need 16 individual mating nucs spread out over how ever much space you use to spread them out. I need 4 queen castles that will fit in a space less than 2 feet wide and 5 feet long. That is around one forth the equipment. but you will get 100% return with our 16 boxes. I will get 50%. So I get half the production from one forth the equipment and am actually getting double the return than you are.

    It may be easier to see my point if you think of it as profit per unit of equipment. so lets say each queen is worth $20 once mated. your 16 hives produce a unit profit of $20 each. my 4 queen castles produce a profit of $40 per unit even with 50% losses. How to improve that unit profit which obviously can be done. may not be in splitting it up but improving the return rate just as they are. I stand the potential of increasing that per unit profit to $80. I do agree that it is unlikely that will ever be achieved. but then it would not in your individual units either.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,218

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    The biggest investment you have in raising a queen isnt the materials that hold them but rather the bees themselves. Use your resources wisely in a configuration that maximizes your chances of success. I have worked many deeps that are divided into 4X2 configuration. They were tricky to properly stock, a PITA to work and their "catch" rate was very low. Can Darrellva's configuration work? Sure. But it will be difficult at best and a disaster at worst.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Bryant Pond, Maine
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    I am way new to this sort of thing but want to build something I can keep a couple of queens in for emergency. I have been thinking of taking a deep hive body and putting two plywood dividers in it to make three compartments of three frames. Making individual inner covers so each compartment can be worked separately and having an entrance on both sides of the hive body as well as the one in the front. Than painting each side a different color. It would have a common bottom board as well as a common outer cover. What are your thoughts on this ?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,646

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    Its actually pretty commonly done.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,543

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    Quote Originally Posted by darrellva View Post
    Ok I waited to post this cause I wanted to see how it worked. I wanted a Queen hotel that would have several separate compartments to place ripe cells in or virgins. I was a little worried about the queens taking there mating flights and being able to make it back to there correct section on there return from mating. I alternated the entrances for each section from one side to the other and also making every other one on the same side one on bottom and one in middle. The upper hole is a vent hole that is screened and each section has a vent hole on opposite side of entrance. I placed 9 cells in this all side by side a couple weeks ago. I ended up with 8 queens mated and laying out of 9. I don't think the box is the reason for the 9th one not making it back cause the one that was missing a queen is the very first one. I am planning on one more graft maybe doing it tomorrow and would like to see all 15 compartments filled this time to see how they do again.
    I cut a inner cover board for each compartment so when I was in the hotel I could work one section at a time without having all sections open. Has anyone else tried anything like this?
    Looks to me like you had great results on your first test run Darrell. I think it's a great idea to try and you've done much more to help insure success than what these other posters in here are saying they have done. I'm wondering if you did it with all fifteen compartments and how it turned out? I would just say that this way of doing mating nucs success rate will be somewhat dependant on the flows at the time, just as in any other way of setting up mating nucs. Keep us informed of any further testing with this please.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Bristol Va
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    I will let you all know how it does this year. I have started filling it up and hope to run it full steam all summer.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Citrus County, Florida, United States
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    Maybe some symbols or designs around the individual holes such as stripes, circles, etc... Something to break up the repeating colors a bit more. I once saw in a bee journal a mating hive with something like 30 different compartments, but not all entrances were flush with some having extenders and such. That could be easily done with alternating piping, plastic bottle tops or what not. Make each compartment a little more specific and unique than the next.

    Working the contraption is also of primary concern!

    Currently I'm using 4 chamber queen castles, one entrance per side is the configuration with two deep frames in each compartment. Having great success with the setup. Also very easy to work the configuration. If entrances are on both sides, you're going to be blocking bees and what not. Good luck and keep us updated.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    2,807

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    I am also using 4 compartment queen castles. I might need to get hem a little more spread out to get them an entrance on all 4 sides. they ended up further apart than I expected but not by much. I have 15 queen castles setting on a single 8 foot long stand. 3 tears tall. I am very interested in the long castle idea as long as losses to disorientation are not to high. I am concerned about the same problem even in my set up.

    I did shapes in various colors around the entrances of my hives. I have some 17 different shapes and use a rotation of 4 different colors.

    Wen it comes to colors remember bees see many colors the same. black and red are both black. white and blue are blue. I think yellow and green come out the same also. I cannot recall at the moment what the other combination is. I do know the colors i use are White/Light Blue, Green, Red/Black, and Dark Blue.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,807

    Default Re: 5 Foot Queen Castle

    So far I can report this. For my closely spaced queen castles we have over 100 virgins introduced. we have had the first of them due to be mated. of 16 compartments inspected we have gotten 3 mated queens. 2 are still uncertain but not looking good and the rest are confirmed failures.

    I am still interested in any report as to how this long hotel is doing. I am thinking the castles need to be spaced much further apart. At this point I am starting to wonder if I want 4 or even 3 compartments even attached to each other at all. We will introduce the remainder of our queens to individual 5 frame nucs and hope for the best. I am not sure I will get enough queens out of these 100 compartments to fill 16 orders for nucs.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

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