Building a Nucleus Bee Hive
A nucleus hive is a small bee hive. Where a conventional hive holds 10-12 frames in the broodbox and can be expanded upwards by adding supers for honey storage, a nucleus or ‘nuc’ hive only holds 3-6 frames of brood. They are typically used for housing small colonies that result from a captured swarm or a split from a large colony. They are handy to have around, as the late Dave Cushman wrote:
Many beekeeping problems can be solved by either putting something into a nucleus or taking it out.
Whilst we bought our 14″x12″ National hive, I decided to have a go at making a nuc. Since we’re using extra deep brood frames, I’m building the nuc to take these. Browsing the web with this in mind a few weeks ago I came across Martin Adams’ album on Photobucket. Home made nucs and plans! The Internet really is a remarkable thing, we’ll miss it when it’s gone! I’ve copied the plans below in case the Photobucket site is unavailable in the future.
With cutting list in hand I bought a single 8′ by 4′ sheet of 12mm external plywood from B&Q. They helpfully made a few appropriate cuts so I could get it in the car. There’s enough material for two, with a good bit of spare. You can get five out of two sheets, but I figured that might be too much of a good thing! With the cutting done, it was simply glued and screwed together with powerdrive (deep cut thread) screws. Click the thumbnails to enlarge:
There’s a crownboard not shown in the photos with a hole for a feeder. The roof space is 100mm, enough for the 4 pint rapid feeder. I’ve painted the hive with an exterior grade woodstain, five coats in all, to provide a degree of weather proofing. The nuc is currently out in the garden, with some frames of foundation and a few drops of lemongrass oil. The hope being that a nearby swarm might move in!
In all the nuc cost just under £20 to build.
Plans from Martin Adams, click to enlarge: