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Discussion Starter #1
I am a hobby beekeeper and making a few queens this year and have a question for those with more experience than me.

Has anyone used a MP style double 4 frame bottom box as a QC? I am wondering what problems, if any, I might encounter if I put in 2 frame dummy boards with a frame of brood and a frame of resources on each side and then add a virgin queen. Then after she is mated and they are filling out the frames, remove the dummy boards and add two frames of drawn comb? In theory I would then have a fully functioning 4 frame nuc.

I also have conventional 8 frame Queen castle in 10 frame box and a few "Barnyard Bees" style 2 frame mini nucs. I am always looking to improve and this idea seems to be an efficient use of resources.

I am in CA, 20 miles SW of Sacramento, so our weather tends to be "mild".

My concerns are the dummy boards are hollow boxes of 1/4" plywood and the space maybe challenging for the original two frames to maintain a good temperature. Will have a reduced entry so not "too" worried about SHB. The dummy boards are the same dimensions as two deep frames, so there is a bee space below them.

Am I missing something?

Any one tried something similar? I think it will work and am "over thinking it" as usual...lol

Thanks in advance for your input. MP 4 frame with dummies.jpg
 

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Sounds fine.

Lots of ways to juggle bees!

I wouldn't be too worried about the original two frames maintaining temps; a small shake of a few extra nurse bees will help with that... and if one of your frames is emerging brood, I'd call it good.

Good luck!
 

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Never had much luck with one frame splits in our four frame boxes. The follower boards we tried helped a little. Took them forever to get going. Better than double the survivors using two frames and not near the work to keep them going. Your climate is better so maybe it will be fine. We make two frame splits with a frame of resources and one drawn comb all the time with queen cells in four frame nucs. Were back in two weeks to check for eggs. These grow up fast. If you can spare it the extra frame of brood and drawn comb really makes a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses. Will let you know how I fare with conventional Queen Castle, 2 frame mini nucs and MP double four nucs starting with 2 frames and a 2 frame"dummy" board all being used to mate virgin queens. I am a real novice at grafting. this only being my second year at it, so I know I am the biggest obstacle to my success this year...lol...Our family motto is "Hey, how hard could it be?" which always keeps it interesting!
 

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We utilize queen castles but have added just 1 more set of slots to give us a little more variation on how we set them up. Toward the end of the season we can end up with 2 Nucs or 1 deep that needs to be moved into its own box.

You can check it out here TNHB Queen castles
 

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Farmer,
This is how I run my queen castles and resource hives. 1/4" divider with 1/2" top that fits into the frame ledge. I also have a 3/4" receiver at the bottom that the 1/4" divider fits into. I start with a frame of brood, bees and drawn out comb. Place a cell and check in a week. If the cell has hatched I walk away for 2 more weeks, if not I give another cell. After 3 weeks I check for the queen, mark her and pull 1 frame of larva/capped cells, bees and the queen to another yard. I then add another frame of drawn comb and a cell. be sure to leave plenty of bees behind.

A 2 frame QC will be thick with bees. Feeding can be tricky. You will need to judge the flow. The bees will fill the frames with syrup real fast if you feed to much.

When I'm done in July I pull the outer frames and queens. I then pull the outer dividers leaving the center. This is your 4x4 resource hive.

These small nucs will be susceptible to robbing so I start all with robbing screens and close the upper entrance off with #8 hardware cloth. I give them what I can for drawn comb (usually 1 frame or partial) feed and add a second-third box as they grow.

4 way mating nuc.jpg



4 way mating nuc 2.jpg
 

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I'm certainly over my head here entering my second year, but couldn't you put the dummy boards on the outside and at least the 4 frames in the middle would share some heat?
 

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AAIndigo, why not place a foundation in instead of drawn comb. The cell is not going to need it for at least 5 days probably 7 or 8. In that amount of time the bees will have it drawn instead of filled with nectar/feed. Fresh comb for her and you. If you are waiting 21 days and she's out and mated on time she will run out of room in that small nuc. We run 3 frames and she has the extra two we drop in filled. Michael Palmer pulls his in 16 max. Large breeders are usually on a 14 day schedule.
I like to see a pattern so we went with three deeps versus the small mating nucs. We keep making side by side 4 over 4's with queens not used or sold. If none are available we drop cells in those also.
End of grafting we leave one queen and all the brood and feed them up for overwintering. Spring comes and dividers go back in and were off to the races grafting.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm certainly over my head here entering my second year, but couldn't you put the dummy boards on the outside and at least the 4 frames in the middle would share some heat?
That is what I just did with an early second deep (due to early buildup) on over wintered single 10 frame deep. Seems logical to me.

Time will tell.
 

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AAIndigo, why not place a foundation in instead of drawn comb. The cell is not going to need it for at least 5 days probably 7 or 8. In that amount of time the bees will have it drawn instead of filled with nectar/feed. Fresh comb for her and you. If you are waiting 21 days and she's out and mated on time she will run out of room in that small nuc. We run 3 frames and she has the extra two we drop in filled. Michael Palmer pulls his in 16 max. Large breeders are usually on a 14 day schedule.
I like to see a pattern so we went with three deeps versus the small mating nucs. We keep making side by side 4 over 4's with queens not used or sold. If none are available we drop cells in those also.
End of grafting we leave one queen and all the brood and feed them up for overwintering. Spring comes and dividers go back in and were off to the races grafting.
Hillbillybees,
I will try the foundation only. Do you need to have constant syrup on them to draw that out? I find that the queens are faster at 2 weeks and want to fly away. I prefer the slower 3 week queen.
 
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