Saturday, 22 January 2011

Queen Banking and making the cages

I have been reading a forum and it referred to some instructions on building a queen bank for a bee hive. So I thought I would have a go. Sadly there are only pictures so a lot of guess work was involved in regards to measurements. A queen bank by the way, is a concept of keeping queens but with out the need for a colony for each queen.

The description is here

I started by making the frame where the queen banking cages would sit.

This is the complete unit sat next to a national frame. It has three shelves and there is a little trim on each shelf to stop the queen banking cages (these are hives runners), on the images in the above link I think there is a little wooden lip nailed on instead but it is not clear to me.

This next shot shows the ends. I had to add a little piece of wood to attach the runners as in hind site I had not made the three shelves wide enough. Otherwise two cages would not fit in back to back

These are the first cages I made with 1inch x 1 1/2 inches pieces of 8mm ply, They look great but I am not sure if they are large enough for the queen, as in the link it is references that the cages need to be large/deep enough to stop worker bees poking through and pulling the queens apart. It is also relevant to mention that I made the little lids out of ply on these cages and that was very awkward for attaching two nails in to form hinges as thy ply kept splitting... most annoying which on mark II, I used really wood for the hinged lids.

These are mark II, they do not look much different but the dimensions are 1inch by 2inch with a wooden lid hinged, slightly taller

This is a close up of the lid. when closed it is flat with the top. These cages were constructed using an air nailer but when attaching the lids, I drilled the holes on either side and nailed in two frame nails which made good hinges, When attaching the mesh I used a stapler but did not staple it to the lid other wise movement was restricted. this is my assumption here as any way I could not see how it would work.

You see here the 4 example queen cages I made up. Two 1 1/2 inch high cages and two 2 inch high cages. What I have so far took about 2-3hours to knock together, I am not sure how many cages it will hold but I feel a lot wouldn't be far off. Making more cages is very easy. The mesh I used is very fine and I acquired it from a local farmer / garden supply shop at about £3 per square meter

It is also worth mentioning that I think the frames in the link are Langstroth and I use National sizes. National brood frames are 14inches x 8 1/2 inches and Langstroth brood frames are 17 5/8 inches x 9 1/2 inches (per below). So my cages might still not be large enough at 2 inch high. I don't know.

The weather in Wakefield today is cold and dry.


  1. Looking good. I presume you are going to have a go at rearing your own queens. Sounds fun and I look forward to reading about it and seeing pictures!

  2. cheers Morlock5k, I am definitely going to have a go at queen rearing this year (assuming both my colonies get through Winter). I cant wait to have a go. Along with gardening pictures there should be plenty of bee stuff to.

  3. How did the Wakefield bee keeping association meeting go? hope you enjoyed it

  4. Meeting is monday. Also called the guy about the bees. He says it shouldn't be(e) a problem but will june when can get them. I was hoping for them earlier but if thats when they're ready then it'll have to be ok. I will enquire with Wakefield beekeepers to see if they can get any earlier but will keep contact details you gave me either way. Hopefully in future we'll both be creating our own bee stocks and get a nice Wakefield climatised bee strain going;)

  5. Enjoy the meeting, the LBKA is spot on although I am considering joining Wakefield this year as it is my technically my local (and be members of both). it depends when their Summer weekly meetings are. Good luck and enjoy and hope you manage to get some bees then a little earlier than June.

  6. This is incredible work and probably very time tasking. I hope it all went well for you and managed the best for you Queen bees and your self. Construction is not a strong suit for me but I always appreciate the work that others do.

  7. thanks Reg. I hope to get the queens going in Summer. this is just to be some of the equipment I will need/might need. At the moment I am reading, plotting, planning, developing and acquiring "stuff".

  8. I love all your poss on the bee hive. I am so fascinated by it all. Please continue the up dates as it moves forward.

  9. opps I meant posts, not poss