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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Fox Lake, Illinois
    Posts
    13

    Default Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    I want to here your guys thoughts I have been using standard frames with hive body split into 4 compartments aka queen castle, but the mini nucs look like fun but more equipment but a lot less bees to start.. What are you guys using and why?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    870

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    I use 2 frame deep castles. I like them because after they build up a little, if I do not need the queen, I just slap them in a five frame nuc and then I have a new hive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,055

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    I have both but limited experience with it all. Mini nucs where a total failure last year due to lack of drawn frames. almost impossible to keep bees in them. plus the shaking thing does not work for squat. shake and watch all the bees wonder around lost or fly back to the parent colony. Got so frustrating it had my daughter in tears trying to fill those things with bees only to watch them empty out again. I nearly burned them. The only way I will use them now is to get the fraems drawn and filled with brood and then move those into the nucs. If frames are not filled with brood then the nuc is useless to me.

    Queen castle. I have heard they may lead to more lost queens due to them returning to the wrong compartment. Pretty simple to fix. just don't let all compartments fly on the same day. Plus some lost queens is better than no nucs to put queens in. Getting bees in a queen castle is as simple as moving a frame to the castle. Solving the whole frame of brood thing.

    amount of bees is exactly the same my mini nuc is 4 half fraems my queen castles are 2 frame compartments. I expect my mini nucs to finally hit the fire this year. Only way I will keep them is if they demonstrate a much higher rate of successful mating.

    Queen castles may have their drawbacks, but they are compact and easy.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    932

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    I like the single units a Medium or deep frame

    The link below is how to set up and start a mini nuc on FOUNDATION.

    https://app.box.com/s/37dw8fnpibahe7b8ztn6
    Last edited by Velbert; 02-26-2014 at 07:14 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,457

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bella Honey View Post
    ...but the mini nucs look like fun...
    Fun is good.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Woodstock, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    Quick question, no experience with mini nucs. But if using the traditional wooden ones, couldnt you pile a bunch on a strong hive and have them draw the foundation out?
    TF - Year Two, Eight Colonies
    http://www.honeydrunk.ca

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    932

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    If you place on top of a strong hive to build your getting combs a lot of the time that are to thick for brooding cause they will start puting honey in them.

    I can stock the nuc on foundation with bees and a RIPE queen cell and will have combs built and a laying queen in 10 to 12 days if the weather is good for mating. If you will follow my methods on my Box link above

    But if you place on a strong hive you will be waiting about 3 weeks or so.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,288

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    The queen castle or similar setup is easy to establish a nuc. A frame of honey and a frame of brood with adhearing bees and the bees shaken in from one more frame of brood and you have a nuc. At the end of the season you just combine all the two frame nucs into a colony with one of the queens.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    760

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bella Honey View Post
    I want to here your guys thoughts I have been using standard frames with hive body split into 4 compartments aka queen castle, but the mini nucs look like fun but more equipment but a lot less bees to start.. What are you guys using and why?
    Fun is good! And those minis are super cute too. I tried some and they worked- I raised the half size frames in a nuc with a bar in the middle for the minis to rest on - that way I could just plop it on top of another nuc. Later realized I could have gotten brood on frames if I had excluded the queen in the mini frame part. But after trying the minis part of one season I found that if you are raising queens for a short time on a backyard scale, and not a regimented schedule there is more flexibility using 2 or 3 full size frame mating nucs. We are partial to the 3 frame ones. You can leave the queens in the mating nucs longer and it is easier to move them in to a nuc or colony and back again as you need them. Another factor is summer heat- which we have in Virginia- although I have heard in HI they mating nucs are spam can size.
    karla

  10. #10

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    I started out using 5 frame deep nucs and still will use a few hundred for overwintering nucs. After testing 1/2 frame mediums last year I am moving more towards those. They are easier to stock and finding the queen takes 1/2 the time. I have a few castles but I have a lower return rate then a 5 frame nuc or a 1/2 frame medium.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    DesAllemands, Lousiana
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    I like half frame mediums in a nuc box split in half. Two matting nucs per nuc box with each matting nuc having 5 half frames. I also have some two frame queen castles ( 10 frame box split into 4 sections) but the bees dont seem to do as good with only two frames but they are easier to set up.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    593

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by NewJoe View Post
    I use 2 frame deep castles. I like them because after they build up a little, if I do not need the queen, I just slap them in a five frame nuc and then I have a new hive.
    Joe, I assume your frames are deeps. If so couldn't you use a partitioned 5-fr nuc with entrances on opposite ends, and essentially have a duplex mating hive,?

    Phil

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    870

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by philip.devos View Post
    Joe, I assume your frames are deeps. If so couldn't you use a partitioned 5-fr nuc with entrances on opposite ends, and essentially have a duplex mating hive,?

    Phil
    sure...that would work just fine, I actually use and eight frame deep split into thirds (two frames each) and a 10 frame deep split into 4 sections

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Battle Ground , Washington, USA
    Posts
    761

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    I built 10.. 3 half deep frame nucs. I just cut plastic deep frames in half. to help draw them out i built 2 long boxes that hold about 12 of these half frames. 1 end of the mini has a slot for a boardman feeder, the other end has a 3/4 hole. I take 2 frames out of the long box and a shake of bees and put in a queencell. If I don't need the queen after a few weeks i can slow it down by taking a frame of brood out and make another mini or put it back in the long box, works great , with very little bee resources. super easy to find the queen on 3 little frames.
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,288

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    Being a hobby beekeeper that sells a few nucs, I prefer the 5 frame deep box. Deeps are the size preferred in this area. I graft, make the required number of nucs, and after the queen has been laying for 3 to 4 weeks, have the customer come with his equipment and pickup the 5 frames of bees/queen.

    If the nucs are not sold, I stack them 3 5 frame boxes high to overwinter. They can overwinter with fewer frames, but I sleep better in Feb/March when they have 3 boxes.
    37 years - 25 colonies - IPM disciple - naturally skeptic

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Chesterfield, NH
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    If I was raising under a 100 Queens I would use standard frames if I was going to do over 100 I would think about mini mating
    nucs
    If you think mini mating nucs look like fun go for it.


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134 :)
    Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA.
    http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    606

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    meh....i like nucs plit into 2...2 framers. shared equipment,easier to deal with and no nightmares.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,333

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    If you are just starting and want to try to raise a few queens just for the trying can you not just put a frame of honey, a couple of frames of brood, a frame with a Queen cell and and empty frame for growth in a nuc box?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    DesAllemands, Lousiana
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Queen castle vs mini mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    If you are just starting and want to try to raise a few queens just for the trying can you not just put a frame of honey, a couple of frames of brood, a frame with a Queen cell and and empty frame for growth in a nuc box?
    Sure you can. I would recommend 5 frame nucs in your case, only wanting to raise a few queens. The mini nucs and small two frame nucs are for people who need to raise the most queens they can with the least amount of resources.

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