This spring we got a queen castle since I needed to get a queen because they killed their queen during our inspection. A queen castle is basically one Langstroth box that has three compartments to contain three mini colonies of bees. During the inspection, I found many queen cells on the frames in the Langstroth. So I took three frames with queen cells and put them into a separate section of the queen castle. I added to more frames to each of the compartments with food and brood. I kept a couple of queen cells in the Langstroth so they could have a queen there too.
I kept checking the cells to see if the queens emerged yet. Two out of the three queens emerged from the castle and none of the Langstroth hive queens did. I used one queen and put it into the Langstroth. I kept one queen in the castle and put top bar frames in the castle too so they could start drawing out comb for the top bar hive. Both queens got mated and started laying eggs right away. By July I had enough top bar frames to move them into the top bar hive and start a new colony. Both the hives are still doing good and being strong and hopefully manage the cold weather well. We did a varroa mite check and the numbers were very small so that is very good.
In September we two hurricane warnings so we had to tie down the hives to prepare them for the strong winds for Hurricane Florence. We were lucky enough to dodge the hurricane. For Hurricane Michael, we didn’t tie down any of the hives and we got worse winds than Florence but both the hives are okay.