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I am setting up to be ready for spring so it is now design time. My situation is simple. My hives are along a wind-protected side of a garage so only 3 sides are open. To me that means only 3 entries to my queen castle because why would I have an entry pointed right at the garage wall. I am using extra deep Layens type boxes and frames and that leaves me a question. My third design, as I move forward, has me creating a 3-4-3 queen castle with an entry to each side and one to the side away from the garage. The equivalent volumes are close to a 4 frame deep Lang on each side and a 5 frame deep for the middle section. Is this thing getting too big to use it as a queen castle?
 

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I have some queen castles but not going that route anymore.Just one section gets weak and shb hit them and then you have a mess.With not having a regular bottom board you cant clean them out.You go to move one section of frames and you have bees that you cant get to come out.I have gone to two frame nucs and you have freedom to move and do anything you want with them.Look at the ones this guy uses.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dEEyf2HeJA&t=766s
 

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... Is this thing getting too big to use it as a queen castle?
I think I would rather avoid this queen castle business altogether with the big rigs Layens style.
Even though people do something like this and it seems to work:
NucsInHorizontalHive.jpg

I kept up to two colonies side by side in the Layens-style (six frames each; 10 and 4 frames each).
Two colonies side-by-side is OK and handy at times.
Beyond that is just getting too tight to work to my liking (like the elbow room).

For mating I would rather just use general multi-purpose nuc boxes that can hold down to 1-2 frames and up to 7 frames.
Have a fleet of general, cheap nuc-sized boxes for any job (including queen mating, swarm trapping, frame moving, etc).
I have about 15 of these used for any old job:
20161127_132538.jpg

Have a stack of follower boards so you can reduce a colony to any size as needed (within a nuc box).
Simply condense the colony to 1-2 frames in the nuc box and here you have it - a mating nuc.
A beauty of a stand-along mating nuc - turn and relocate it any way you wish - entrance problem is non-existent.
 

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I abandoned the queen castle in favor of mini nucs. You can put bees a foot or two in front of a wall or fence. they don't care. so you can have 4 if you wish. i'd spend the money on styrofoam mininucs.
 

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I very much agree with what's already been said. The uber-deep Layens frames are best left to full-size 'production-type' colonies.

I've also abandoned divided boxes due to the frequent absconding from one section to another should one virgin be slow off the mark, or if one mini-colony becomes stronger than it's neighbour. I'm sure that's a really great feature from a survival point-of-view, but it's very frustrating to keep finding empty sections. Also, getting ALL of the bees out of a box is so much easier if it's a single stand-alone unit.

In practice, 3 combs provide twice the brood area of 2 combs, and so that's my own choice for a minimum number of frames. The use of dummy frames to reduce box volumes is highly recommended.
LJ
 

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..Also, getting ALL of the bees out of a box is so much easier if it's a single stand-alone unit.

In practice, 3 combs provide twice the brood area of 2 combs, and so that's my own choice for a minimum number of frames. The use of dummy frames to reduce box volumes is highly recommended.
LJ
Indeed, I forgot - a great nuc box feature - dumping bees out of it.
I call it a requirement for any small hive - must be easy clearing it from the bees.
You simply dump the bees out. 10 second job.

Go and try to clear a section of a large hive of the bees - not a pretty picture.
Not just clear off the bees, but actually move those straggler bees where you want them - a nonsense job as-is.

Overall, the queen castle must be a small, portable hive in all (this include ALL 3-4 sections together as a unit).
If this requirement is not met - just save yourself this hassle and don't do it.
 
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