How to start a queen in a two-frame nuc

I had a request to write about how I start queens using a two-frame mating box such as the Brushy Mountain “Queen Castle.” The Queen Castle is a standard size deep brood box that can be divided into four two-frame sections, each with its own entrance. But the following instructions could be used for any small mating nuc, regardless of the configuration.

First, prepare the box.

Next, select your starter frames. With a system like this, you can start with swarm cells or you can start with eggs and very young brood.

Starting with swarm cells:

Starting with eggs and brood:

Variation:

Rusty
HoneyBeeSuite

Each section of the “queen castle” has its own entrance.
Each section of the “queen castle” has its own entrance.

Comments

kyCat007
Reply

Excellent advice, Rusty. Thanks. Did not find anything usable anywhere else.

Cathy
Reply

We just modified a queen castle into 3 separate compartments, built from scratch. Each compartment will hold 3 frames or 9 total frames for the castle. My question is this. We’re starting with the brood and eggs method – can we populate each section with one frame each of brood, honey/pollen and drawn out to make it easier for the workers? In other words, is one brood frame per section enough?

Rusty
Reply

Cathy,

I have started as many as four in one queen castle, which comes out to only one frame of brood and one of honey per section. I’ve had good results with this method and no problems. Just be sure to move them when they start out-growing the space.

Diana
Reply

I am intrigued by your queen castle. How do you cover each section individually? Please describe your inner cover for a four-nuc deep. Does each nuc have a ventilation hole? I keep trying to think this through and my brain is in knots!

Rusty
Reply

Each section has it’s own inner cover. You can see the one I have at BrushyMountainBeeFarm.com.

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