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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am from India.So no wintering of bees really.I am planning to build a 4 chamber queen castle like thing but instead of separating all 4 chambers totally ,will be separated by queen excluders only.That means a single brood chamber with 4 different entrances on 4 sides.All worker bees can go in or out from any one of them but queens will be restricted to one chamber and its entrance.Will start with queen cells on frames on each of the chambers.Will the queens hatch,go out from their entrances and mate and come back to their chambers and start laying?Will the workers accept 2nd and subsequent queens coming back after mating?Will it then be 4 queen colony?
 

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A very warm welcome to the forum - good to have someone here from India - looking forward to hearing more about beekeeping in your country as and when you have the time to write.

What I've found happens in this type of scenario is that ALL the bees will migrate into the chamber with a) either the strongest(-smelling ?) virgin, or b) the first virgin to successfully mate - which makes complete sense, as bees are in the business of survival and so will gamble their future with whichever queen appears to present the best prospect for that survival.

I found that even adding slides to temporarily close-off each QX doesn't help much, as with their acute sense of smell bees can detect a queen's potential through the smallest of cracks. One possible way around this would be to use four separate nuc boxes, spaced apart by (say) a foot or so and positioned with the same entrance direction configuration, then bringing them closer together after the queens have successfully mated - before finally transferring the bees and combs 'as is' into a quartered brood box.

But even then, the bees - and more importantly, the queens - may not happily co-exist across a Queen Excluder. But - you may be luckier than me, so it's always worthwhile trying this experiment.

Very best of luck
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanx for warm welcome.I will give a try and share results any way.
I hv been keeping Cerana bees for many years .Melifera bees only last 6 months ,in 6 hives.As we do not hv feral Melifera nor many melifera beekeepers in Southern India,successful mating of queens is real big problem.All drones hv to be my own.So an easy way to have multiple queens mating /keeping in reserve needed.Artificial insemination is too much of work for the requirement.Unfortunately I can not order or buy a Melifera queen here.
 

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Are you sure that keeping Mellifera is such a good idea ... ?

With Mellifera you'll have two serious problems to overcome: the first is the issue of the Varroa mite for which Mellifera has no natural defence. The second is the issue of genetics - in order to be genetically sustainable, you're going to need access to something like 50 different genetic lines in order to prevent in-breeding - unfortunately a handful just isn't enough.
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, right now no verrova ,and unlikely that they would get from other meliferra colonies.No wintering here, so no shrinking bee cluster and rise in verroa count.High temperatures in summer reaching 43 deg.C,and most importantly these Mellifera r survivor bees for last 20 years when they were imported into India,but remained restricted to
4/5 Northern states.Gene pool is certainly would be an issue,for professional beekeeper in medium and long run,not for hobby beekeeper.Getting a few new bloodline queens is all I would need.All bees including native bees do face diseases,like we had bad thai sac a few years back.I find these bees well adopted and even learned to fight asian giant Hornet .Dragonflies find them too big to handle,and leave them alone.Finally I will learn about the problems as we go.As I hv cerena hives next to them,
and these do not interbreed but mellifera allows foragers of cerena to join and work.All new learning.Lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@ LJ,
does it mean the bees will be able to choose one out of 4 mated queens?Normally they do not get this choice.They get best fighter virgin queen.But fighting skills r hardly
an useful trait for the hive.The smallest and most agile queen that wins, or the one that hatches first.Not even the one that is good at mating and making it home.Has anyone tried introducing multiple mated queens to a queenless hive in queen cages?
 

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Not a lot of experience here, but I tried getting two queens mated in one hive box last year. It was setup vertically with a QX between 2 medium boxes with top and bottom entrances on opposite sides. I had 8 box stacks, 16 cells. Only 1 had 2 queens and I caught them balling one of them. I split her off, but I should have let her go because she never mated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Actually I went ahead and did my 4 queens colony,i.e.single brood chamber divided with 3 frame excluders and drilled enrtances on 4 sides.A plastic queen excluder under inner cover too.Gave 1 frame of capped brood,fresh eggs frame,a nector frame and a pollen frame.On 11th day the capped queen cells I distributed to all chambers as 2 each..Couple of extra queen cells I kept in my incubator in roller cages.They hatched properly and gave one to some other nucleus.Yesterday ,24th day,I checked and found 3 queens in 3 chambers,2 of them in adjescent chambers already laying fresh eggs.3rd queen seems to have not either mated or laying yet.I will wait for 4thqueen to appear for a day or two ,but left the remaining virgin from incubator in roller cage in that chamber.In case 4th queen does not make it ,I will release her and see if she can go out,mate and be acceptable.
 

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I would not separate mating nucleii in a queen castle by excluders. The worker bees may all choose the one queen that starts laying first or heaviest, ignoring the others. Insulated, solid partitions work best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
As the hive is past mating, idea is no more mating hive but hive with multiple laying queens holding them for long time.Latest update is 3 adjescent chambers with only frame excluders in between r laying good.4th queen did not make it back frm mating I think.As we do not hv hard winters bees fly year round,no clustering around preferred queen.
 

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I would not separate mating nucleii in a queen castle by excluders. The worker bees may all choose the one queen that starts laying first or heaviest, ignoring the others. Insulated, solid partitions work best.
Well, in my experience even that set-up can cause preferential relocation towards whichever queen appears to offer the best chance of survival, and so my approach is to now keep all stand-alone (temporarily queen -ve) nucs completely separated.

But - from what Pradeep writes, division by QX's appears to be working for him. 3 out of 4 is a very good result for a first attempt.

This situation reminds me of that saying: "the exception which proves the rule" - which I've always thought was nuts. On further enquiry, it appears to mean that the very presence of an exception is a kind of 'proof' that a general rule must therefore apply to the majority of cases - otherwise there wouldn't have been any need to use the word "exception".

But - we won't know for a while yet whether this is a lucky 'one-off' or a technique which can be relied upon consistently in Pradeep's neck of the woods.

Pradeep - do keep trying this method and posting feedback here about it - it's really good to know that this is working for you. Only wish I could get queen-castles (with any kind of divider) to work for me ... :)
LJ
 

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I often run divided boxes with separate entrances and separate them on the top with queen excluders as they can share a single feed source with not friction. As long as all have brood, they stay with their own little colony. I do it because I am keeping bees in cold country with a short queen rearing season. I think separate mating nucs would be better but I make divided units with separate entrances work. I think a trial in your location is more than warranted. To establish my mating nucs, I remove the bottom of the four way divided 6 5/8"deep langstroth on a laying hive and let the queen lay and brood to get started.
 

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If it is working, try it. For me, after about 3 weeks, they all chose the strongest laying queen, in the meantime they packed on a hello of a lot of honey.
 
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