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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG0SKWlu58k
Grass Soil Lawn Grass family Plant

Basically its 3x3x3 queen castle box with a modified bottom board and some add ons

Features
Queen less starter
Queen right finisher
larva timing box
Nursery (Incubation, emergence, banking)

Lastly (and most importantly to me) its a net gain system like a resource hive. Unlike a “Joseph Clemons” (nuc box queen less free flying starter/finisher) http://doorgarden.com/2011/11/07/simple-honey-bee-queen-rearing-for-beginners/ that you need to constantly feed frames of brood, this system produces frames of brood that are harvested and used to boost other hives, make nucs etc.

I work a chaotic and unpredictable on call schedule. 2018 was ruff, getting home from work late some nights and driving out to the main yard, grafting in the truck cab at 10pm in a thunderstorm was no fun.

I wanted a small, flexible, self-contained system I could stick on the side of the garage and work when I had time, no driving. So I developed this system (based on what some of the old masters had done, there is very little “new” in beekeeping, just new twists) I added a umbrella I can pop up if its raining and a few red lights to turn on for working it in the dark.

It made things SO much easier, only taking a few min after work most days. No hunting for the right age larva(often by headlamp, what a PITA), Grafting on the garage workbench in a comfy seat and good lighting made thing smoother and faster then a head lamp and steering wheel.

Grafting on a weekly basis allows this small system to produce a bar a week and simplifies the schedule so you do the same task on the same day all season.
The week looks something like this
Thursday- Place target frame Pull last week’s cells and place in nucs (or leave the to emerge in the cages)
Saturday- Catch and mark virgins if they were left to emerge. Move Mondays capped cells down to the cages
Sunday-(or Monday morning)Place solid division board to cover the queen excluder, remove back door plug
Monday-Graft
Tue- Remove solid division board, replace back door plug

While it looks like a bit much most of the tasks only take a few min, and the set up gives you some slush factor on some of your days if life/ weather gets in the way.

There is a myriad of ways to run this box such as keeping the queen on a single comb for timing and banking virgins up against open brood on the far end of the box (back).

One that comes to mind to try would be moving the target comb to the grafting frame position and letting them draw emergency cells on the age controlled larva. From there place push in cages over the cells on Saturday and rotate them to the back to emerge in the cages.

Doing this may overcome some of the main drawbacks with the use of emergency cells.. Mainly poor-quality queens resulting from older larva and lack positive selection pressure ie not making enuf queens from the “good” one you have.
 

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A lot of thought has gone into that.:thumbsup: Have you physically run it through all the possibilities? I am wondering if the bees can find a way to thwart you! They do me; I think it is a conspiracy!

I have the same 3 vertical grooves for dividers in the 11 frame box I made but sure did not consider all their possibilities. I found one section of drawn comb I wanted laid up, chock full of nectar!

With your system you should be able to keep pretty good track of where the queen is. For me I find it maddening not to be able to find a queen in a busy colony. Happened just a few days ago when I was wanting to set up a Cloak board. Used smoke to hedge my bets which box she ran into and put on an excluder but have to wait a few days now to check for eggs.

We want to see some video of this in action and with bees in the picture!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Have you physically run it through all the possibilities?
Certainty not all, but many. One of the keys is the flexibility to reconfigure the box to correct an issue
It was my main system last year
Bee Insect Apiary Beehive Membrane-winged insect
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The original set up was planed to run 5x5 but do to putting in a grove for both the slide board and QE it only fit 4x4.
next I found it was too much space to force the queen to reliably start laying on the target so I moved the QE to the 3 position and kept the slide in the 5 position. This gave me a slot on the queen right side next to the QE to keep started grafts, and caged virgins.

It all worked ok but I wanted to cram the forgers in to a smaller space, minimize the work to move/place grafts, and as I had been looking at an II breeder queen this year, I wanted to keep the queen from being able to leave the hive

I am wondering if the bees can find a way to thwart you! They do me; I think it is a conspiracy!
every year my bees put me in my place!
smooth waters and fair winds make a poor sailor
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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Can you show us some more details on your combination grafting/banking frame? I really like that concept because as an electrical engineer that does this as a hobby beek sometimes the timing demands of queen rearing present challenges. Being able to just drop capped cells on the same frame would be nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
the video shows this one, a JZBZ bar fits in the top slot
http://shop.honeyrunapiaries.com/nursery-frame

last year I was running something like this one with a bar up top, cages below
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EJxr_hJ_8I

if you drop JZBZ cells in to hair roller cages you HAVE to tape our outherwize hold them down.
the internet shows a lot of pictures of them just dropped in...
I can tell you 1st hand the virgins can push them up and escape, and there goes the queen less side of your cell builder. I have had them do it in the incubator as well

While I haven't tested it yet, the addition of the shim to this years version was partially to accommodate a joe may 2x4 style bank/nursery ... likey going to be 2x2 given the smaller volume of cells
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4u3pyRAzF4

I got the shim idea from Joe Latshaw with the thought it would make the bars/nursery much easer to access, especially moving started cells to a different finisher
https://www.beeculture.com/net-gain-cell-building-system/
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)

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This is a very interesting design, I would be a little concerned that there aren't enough young nurse bees to take care of the new queen grafts. Are the grafts moved to a more built up cell builder colony?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So, what happens at the end of the season
overwinter as a single
I would be a little concerned that there aren't enough young nurse bees to take care of the new queen grafts
all about scale (grafts to bees ratio) this is on par with the typical 5 frame nuc starter/finisher that it was dezinged to be comparable with. Instead of adding a frame of brood a week it has a queen that lays a frame a week
 

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Do you have good success overwintering as a single on your side of the mountain? I've never tried it and I've been nervous about attempting it over here on the western slope, mainly because of the spring roller coaster. I've got a mean queen I split to a 10 frame single deep that I intend to requeen in a few weeks, so I could give it a try at little cost except an excess queen.
 

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What do you do with the rest of the little baby Comfort hive combs and such?
Are you talking about mating nucs?

Two frame mating nuc frames go with the queen to the regular nuc or to the requeened hive since they are standard deeps.

Mini nuc half frames with brood go to a regular hive above a queen excluder to hatch out. Mini frames in a quad can be supered directly onto a regular hive. Mini-frames can be attached together with a clip to make a full length frame that goes in a standard box. After any brood emerges then they get stored for next year. My minis are in a quad, so I plan to let it get filled with honey and then store it for the winter, that way I have stocked honey frames ready to go for next spring. I wouldn't leave the quad on over winter because of the chance of the cluster getting cut off in one chamber.
 

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He is using "comfort topbars" they are little bamboo skewers. Maybe they could be rubber banded into a regular frame or something, but I am not sure how they would fit into a langstroth equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
ya you could zip tie 3 to a frame top bar...

our you could build a hatch box https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?333915-Styro-Mini-Mating-Nuc&p=1513861#post1513861

you could also just pull the last round of queens and let them turn in to "feeders" during robbing season, you "spent" a cup of bees to mate out a few queens and got a very good ROI. The bees that are in there arn't winter bees and will die any way before spring, not realy losing much shake them out and let them find a new hive

I do have some I am running for "over flow" needs, but they were developed as outreach, a way to get them in to the hands of the locals and teach them how to use virgins (either from me or caged swarm cells) I have about 50 of them "in the wild" right now donated to bee clubs/4h and given away with a virgin purchase, maby that number again in copys people made using one of the flat packed kits as a template.

$15 for a virgin and a mini nuc kit... I think a got a lot of sales do to lock down boredom, people were very eager to try something new at that price I have had several people drive and hour and 1/2 to come get then... one did it 2x... 1 time they bought 2 virgins, came back 3 days later for 5 more.

my work horse mating nucs are 8 frame 1/2 length super shallows (5.25" high box) with a removal center divider so they can run 3x3 with feeders.. They can be stacked to over winter and can be staked on 8F hives

Do you have good success overwintering as a single on your side of the mountain?
Yes
last year my palmers (4x4 over 4x4) took 25% loses
A sold 5 frame nuc will be ok, I had a bunch of piss poor ones... queen castles I started to grow out too late so not even 4 frames (was still makeing queens late last year), take 2/3 losses.
it seems anything 10f or bigger is sold (as sold as beekeeping can be)

if they can overwinter singles outside in Can, we can as well
 

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Don't get me wrong, I think this is awesome! I think I would love to implement something like this in a season or two.

From your answer, it sounds like you don't actually use this system? Do you just do it to distribute VQs to other people with?

Anyway it looks like a great system, thanks for laying it out so well.

I never thought of making equipment from foam insulation either, nor had I really looked at the Comfort hive system too deeply before either. You have exposed me to lots of things all in the same day! Thanks again!
 
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