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Queen Cages

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These are used for several different purposes...
Mailing queens, Introducing queens, and Banking queens,

(This page is similar to the "Queen Introduction" page which also has more detail on how to use them.)

3 hole Benton cage

Benton Cage This is the traditional one, usually made from basswood, that most beekeepers will recognise. It was described in a beekeeping journal in Australia as early as March 1889.

Dimensions are 75 mm x 25 mm x 16 mm. Mesh size varies from 8 mesh to 20 mesh.

3 hole Rice cage

Rice Cage I have never used this Australian Type that is (was) made by Norman Rice.

The holes are bored "blind" and mesh is stapled over the front face of the holes after one of the main holes has been filled with candy. (The mesh has been omitted from the drawing to enhance clarity.)

The grooves in the sides break into the main cavities to provide ventilation when stacked close together.

The holes at either end were blocked by slightly tapered corks.

Mailing cage, from Czech Republic

Czech Cage
I have not used this Type either but I was impressed by the quality of production, which I presume was by CNC controlled equipment. The material is basswood. The twin (0.7 mm) grooves in the sides break into the main cavity to provide ventilation. Dimensions are 100 mm x 40 mm x 11.5 mm.

Nursery Cage

Hardwood Nursery Cage I was never happy with this item, I thought they were too small and I did not like the "single" candy hole.

The type shown has a hardwood body, mesh on the opposite side and a sliding plastic front (there is a candy hole in the end opposite the queencell plug).

There is another version with mesh on both major faces, Dimensions 39.5 mm wide x 24.5 mm wide and 60 mm tall.

Double width Nursery Cage

Double width Nursery Cage
(chantry type)

As a result of my dissatisfaction with the standard type I designed a version that was twice as wide, it had two tapered candy holes, each of different depth and a small piece of zinc queen excluder over the inner end of the shorter tunnel. There were two sheet aluminium "wings" that could be folded out using countersunk screws as pivots, to allow the device to be hung between frame top bars. The process of deploying these wings uncovered the candy holes. As all dimensions apart from width were as before...They would still fit a nursery frame and mix with the original sized nursery cage.

Dimensions 80 mm x 40 mm x 24 mm

Cupkit Hair Roller new type

Hair Roller (Nicot)

Cupkit Hair Roller  type
Simple and functional, also used with the Nicot cupkit system.

The old type is illustrated on the left and is single ended, the open end will accept a candy cap filled with a lump of marshmallow.

The new type has its cap, captive, at the large end and the open small end will take a candy cap (the appearance of the end is shown in the drawing as an inset).


Jz-Bz Cage I tried these when I first stocked them at APEX. I thought they were functional but rather on the small side. I have not tried the banking function that is possible with this type of cage. (I no longer have any.)

The drawing was produced from a sample provided by
"Bee Equipped"

Nicot Mailing Cage

Plastic mailing cage

Inexpensive, readily available and functional.

The version illustrated is made in France, by Nicot.

Dimensions 80 mm x 35 mm x 13 mm

Plastic mailing cage, (queens puzzle)

Puzzle Cage

This type has not yet been used by me (they are relatively recent in design).

Made by Swienty these orange plastic cages can be latched together to form blocks for mailing. It is a complex looking little gadget but should be easy to use.

At 77 mm x 36 mm x 13 mm the dimensions of the cage are slightly smaller than the Nicot one above but the connecting lugs increase the envelope size to 84 mm x 42 mm x 13 mm.

Queens Guard Cage

Queens Guard Cage The curved shape is unusual and the sliding action has a "gritty" feel to it, making precision difficult. The transparent top slide has several possible positions... The front position, as illustrated, allow the attendants to escape. The first detent is the fully enclosed travelling position and the rearmost position allows the notch in the cover to align with the hole in the candy chamber so that the bees can eat their way to release the queen.

Butler Cage (wire mesh)

Butler Cage
Use these with newspaper folded over the open end, with a rubber band to hold it in place. (Prick the paper several times with a pin.) Or use foundation moulded over the end and. (Also pricked with a pin.) The cage is 12.5 x 25 mm (or 20 mm) in cross section and up to about 75 mm in length.

One end is blocked with a solid wooden plug.

Butler Cage (Thorne Manufacture)

Butler CageThis commercial type is longer at 94 mm and thinner at 20 mm x 12 mm than I have used before. I am using a tinplate end cap made from a steel beer can to protect pre perforated paper caps that have been glued together on a mandrel.

Butler Cage (perforated zinc)

Zinc Butler Cage These were home made... They were 38mm wide x 10 mm deep and 75 mm long. I can no longer remember my reasons for making them.

I had to solder a wire rim to the open end otherwise the foundation moulding action crushed the cage end, I also soldered a piece of steel wire, from a paper clip, centrally across the mouth to reduce the "crushability".

Match box matchbox

A matchbox makes an emergency queen cage when a queen cage is not available, the drawer is left open about 2mm and the bees will chew away enough of the cardboard to release the queen.

My Banking Cage
Queen Banking Cage

The marshmallow plug is inserted in the profiled hole shown in red.

The cage is transparent to worker bees but the queen is retained by a small piece of zinc excluder over the central hole in the divider. The queen excluder over each side of the travelling space is additional insurance in the case of an "escape" but is mainly there to stop comb being built in the travelling space.

Worth Cage

Worth Introduction Cage

A neat way of implementing the chantry principle. The short passage is provided by the queen excluding staple, and the long one is the unobstructed side. In use the staple side is filled with candy, the queen is placed in the cage and the exit is blocked by candy to a greater depth than on the staple side ensuring a time differential between worker ingress and queen exit.

Pipe Cover Cage

 to follow

Plastic Press in Cage

Nicot comb face introduction cage

This is a large device 147 mm wide, 130 mm deep and a thickness of 10.5 mm.

The four plastic prongs are forced into the comb and the queen is placed through the hole which is then closed by the purpose made plug. Queen release is achieved via a candy filled channel which is at top right of this illustration (picture from Thomas catalogue).

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Written... Autumn 2000, Revised... 11 June2001, Corrected... 03 February 2002, Transferred to New Domain... 03 June 2004,