There are many queen mating boxes on the market today. We prefer using standard equipment as much as possible because it creates a more fluid beekeeping operation.
Our beekeeping mating boxes consists of a regular deep super with 1/4 inch plywood as partitions. The partitions are held in place by dado cuts into the box on the shorter side. No handles can be used on those ends because the dado cuts may cut through. We also have a 3/8 inch spacer going around the bottom to allow for more bee space inside on the bottom of the frames. The bottom consists of a piece of 3/8 inch plywood. Each partition has its own entrance on opposite sides which is made by not extending the spacer all the way to the end.
You can use regular deep frames to stock your mating nuc.
The mating nucs are made by adding the following:
- One frame brood
- One frame pollen/honey
- One brand new frame with foundation
After leaving them queenless for 24 hours, add in a queen cell and allow the queen to hatch. Come back in two weeks to find your mated queen. When you take out the mated queen, you can add in a new cell with a cell protector at the same time. Sometimes we leave them queenless for 24 hours before adding the cell, it all depends on timing of your grafts.
This cycle can continue for the rest of the summer.
You will need to monitor the mating nucs especially during the honey flow. The new queens can lay a lot of eggs and you may have to remove frames of bees and larvae just to give them enough space. We’ve have queen abscond when we didn’t provide enough room quickly enough. When the new frame has been drawn out, I’ll add another one.