The perfect tool for easy queen rearing and so much more. The next time you see a queen cell on a frame of brood, just place the whole frame in the Queen Castle with a frame of honey or a feeder. Come back in 2 – 3 weeks and you will find your mated queen.
This is a standard size hive body with dividers and a special bottom board and inner covers. Insert dividers into the deep Queen Castle to yield four two-frame nucs, leave the middle divider to yield two five-frame nucs. The medium Queen Castle can be divided into three three-frame nucs. The bottom board provides each nuc with an entrance on separate sides.
The queen castle is usually a full sized deep box, split into 3 or 4 separate sections. Each section has its own entrance and is effectively a separate colony.
The base theory is that you place a queen cell with brood and a frame of honey and some pollen in each section.
The hard fact is that if all your queens emerge successfully (90% is commercial standard), harden up, and go out for a mating flight…on average only 75% return. That number was close to my results (68%). The other reality is variablity in grafting success/acceptance. Depending on location and optics used success rates varied greatly. I need more field grafting practice. Under new lab conditions with 5″ loop and steroscopic microscopes that I went from 65% to 85% acceptance in 3 rounds of grafting! The lab is WARM in Spring and Summer so I only needed a wet towel during grafting. I have assemebled most of the components to build an incubator for next season.
It really is a game of numbers.
If you only need “X” amount of queens, then plan for losses along the way. Graft a few extra.
Here’s few more of the castles we customized for Spring Break: