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Discussion Starter #1
I've been gradually converting some unassembled 10-frame super into mating condo's (I take one 10-frame supers with screened bottom and partition it into three, 3-frame compartments or four, 2-frame compartments, each with their own entrance holes and covers). Previously I have been using medium depth, 5-frame nucs to mate queens. This has limited my ability to have nucs ready for other nuc purposes, and it has also limited the number of mated queens I can produce per round of grafted queen cells.

I have begun assembling more mating condo's so I can produce more mated queens and so I won't have to use full size nucs to produce mated queens.

Almost two weeks ago I began using the mating condo's I had previously assembled. I installed a frame of emerging brood/covered with nurse bees and a frame filled with sugar syrup, a ripe queen cell in the brood frame and a small pollen substitute patty. Then I watched as the virgin queens emerged from their cells. Out of the first four mating condo compartments I populated, I now have two very nice mated and laying queens, one queen that hasn't started laying yet, and one compartment where the virgin queen went missing and most of the bees joined the three other queenright compartments. This may have happened because, even though we had nice sunny, warm weather, the mornings started out calm but quickly turned very blustery. Early that afternoon I checked all of the four condo compartments I had put into use and discovered that there were no queens resident in any of them - they were likely out flying in the now windy afternoon. I did find one of the three surviving queens on the ground near her condo compartment's entrance and helped her inside. She is the one that is not yet laying. A few days later I discovered that two of her sisters were able to return to their condo compartments and since they are laying I believe they may have mated, but they are only about one week post emergence. I wish all virgin queens were as precocious.
 

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Joe is this what you are taking about? This is from Kelley.

Some folks call them Queen castles, I have a couple that have 4/2 frame sections works good MOST of the time.
 

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I have four 3-framers that I put queen cells in last weekend. They were supposed to hatch this past Wednesday. Will wait 14 day to wheck for mated queens. Have been told not to mess with mating nucs with virgin queens in them.

Will update when I check on the 14th.

Johnny
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, mine are very similar to Queen Castle's, one difference is the ventilation comes from a piece of #8 hardware cloth stapled across the bottom of the entire "Castle", they are made from medium depth supers and my covers are made of canvas and plywood.

I thought to make some and try them, after I had tried mini mating nucs and had the queens and bees abscond every time they went on their mating flights. I made a dozen mini mating nucs and literally, couldn't successfully produce a single mated queen.
 

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Joseph,

I have muchless experience than you (first efforts at mating queens) but I am trying similar techniques. A couple weeks ago I found 6 swarm cells / supersedure cells in one of my two hives. I placed three of the cells in a medium-depth queen castle, one of them in a styrofoam mini (3 1/2 length medium frames) mating nuc, one in my observation hive, and left one in te original hive along with the aging and failing queen.

The queen castle is parked on top of my largest hive to provide a bit of heat (we still are having nights in the low 40's) and I have adapted the 3 covers to add a feeder bottle (and I am also including pollen patty strips in each condo). Each of the three medium-frame compartments was populated with 2 frames of capped brood (one with the queen cell) and one frame of honey and pollen.

I've got about 2 more weeks to go to see which of the 6 queens has successfully mated and is laying a good pattern and I am going to be using this experiment to understand which style of mating nuc I find most effective and convenient.

If I am happy with the queen castle / mating condo approach, I will probably make new one from a deep super with four 2-frame compartments, since I am establishing all of my new hives on deep brood boxes and any future queen cells I find will be on deep frames.

-fafrd
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks honeyman46408, for the image of that queen castle. I had a four-compartment mating condo that needed replacement partitions (I had originally used painted cardboard), but those partitions got wet when I left it out in the rain (silly me), and that was the end of the cardboard partitions. Thanks to my band saw I was able to shave 1/8" thick slices off a 2x4 and then glue their edges together recreating the partitions. Thanks to your post I built the partitions extending above the super, then I cut individual close-fitting covers for each. The tops of the partitions help hold the covers in place (like the queen castle). Instead of little screened holes for ventilation, mine have their entire bottoms screened for ventilation.

I too, once used deep supers for brood, but since I converted to all-medium supers, almost forty years ago, I can't really think of a reason to - go back. I still keep two hives with deep frames, they remind me why all my other hives are all-mediums. I also have four nucs that I made with deep frame dimensions - I rarely use them for deep frames, medium frames fit in them too.
 

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Hey

Is there someplace that i can find out more about using one of those castles or is someone able to give a explantion on how it works?
 

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Just search bee source for "Queen Castle". You will get alot of hits!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How I use the ones I've built:

In the 3-frame compartments I install one frame of nectar/honey, one frame of emerging brood, one frame of empty comb, and enough bees to cover the brood. I attach a ripe queen cell to the comb of emerging brood, then wait and watch to see when the new queen has begun to lay. When I harvest her I simply replace her with another ripe queen cell (in a cell protector), or if I'm done using that unit to produce queens I can decommission it and incorporate its bees and combs into another hive or nuc that could use the resources.

In the 2-frame compartments I install one frame of nectar/honey and one frame of emerging brood. Otherwise I do everything else pretty much the same.
 

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Thanks for any replys. I have gone through the threads and its even more confusing than ever. No real explanation of the process.

First of all, i understand the inserting the frames and attaching queen cells.
But where does the queen go to mate?
Secondly why is the design showing a empty space in the middle, and frames on the two compartments on each side.
 

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The queen mates in a Drone Congregation Area (DCA) high in the sky. Mates with up to 20 males ripping out their male genetalia so they crash and burn. The hive is illustrated with the frames removed. They slide in just like 5, 8, or 10 frame hives.
 
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