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I got a three way mating nuc (Queen castle) from Betterbee. Each section has its own inner cover. Each inner cover has an opening for a jar lid and a 1" notch on the opposite end.

Should the notch face up? If so, what's the use?

Should the notch face down? If so, please help me understand why I would allow tiny mating nucs to have an upper entrance?
Inner cover.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I got a three way mating nuc (Queen castle) from Betterbee. Each section has its own inner cover. Each inner cover has an opening for a jar lid and a 1" notch on the opposite end.

Should the notch face up? If so, what's the use?

Should the notch face down? If so, please help me understand why I would allow tiny mating nucs to have an upper entrance?
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The only way for the notch to be useful is to face down, as in a upper entrance.
A better explanation for the usefulness of the upper notch in my opinion is as a vent, to allow air movement. Mating castles get hot and with the lack of bees to control the environment by collecting water and fanning some passive venting is important. Again all my opinion.

Here is why I think that: When I build 3 and 4 way wooden mating nucs I leave space between the boards I use to make up the bottom board, a tad shy of 1/8" to allow air flow. I also drill 3/8" holes near the top of each compartment with a piece of window screen covering it for upper ventilation. Placed in the sun I've had mating nucs cook so now allow the bottom board to breath and avoid putting them in full sun locations.
 

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The betterbee catalogue shows the covers with the notch down. This is how I would have used them too. An upper entrance allows for better airflow. Queen castles have very poor ventilation.
 

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Agreed. The entrances are small and easy to guard. However, if I'm feeding and there could be robbing pressure and the nuc is weak I may put vent up (closed). If nuc is strong deffinitely open. I face the upper vents the same as the bottom entrance so there is slightly less likelihood of queens getting confused....
 

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Agreed. The entrances are small and easy to guard. However, if I'm feeding and there could be robbing pressure and the nuc is weak I may put vent up (closed). If nuc is strong deffinitely open. I face the upper vents the same as the bottom entrance so there is slightly less likelihood of queens getting confused....
You are talking about 3 (or 4) way queen mating nucs?
Are your mating nucs or queen castles in the same yards as full sized colonies?
 

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Yes, bettered 3 way. They have 1 entrance in 1 end and 2 on the other. So with top notch in same direction if the 2 entrance end causes confusion at least there are 2 queens mated.... So far it's worked fine. When I get up to a couple hundred queens per year I'll need to use smaller frames to find them quicker....
At this point most mating nucs are still in main yard with full sized colonies. I did set up a nice isolated yard for mating this year but probably will still have plenty mating nucs in the main yard....
We have 2 main yards with a mix of things going on and run out yards mainly for honey so we don't have to work them as often.
 

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If you want to have the upper ventilation but don't want bees to use it then shoot a couple of brad nails through the notch and then clip the length back even with the surface. You're leaving a window open but putting bars in it.
 
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