Frustrated with my plywood nuc attempts with all the cutting, measuring, nailing I thought of using a 10-frame deep box to make a double nuc that supports 5 frames. I had seen similar designs with a larger dividing board that created a double 4-frame nuc, and thus tried to modify it. I had a few deep pieces that were a bit warped and thus not great for selling but perfect for this experiment.
Here is what I used:
-1 deep box
-a piece of plywood 16 1/4 inches x 24 inches (the bottom)
-a piece of luan 3/16 thick, 9 5/8 wide
-a migratory top
That's it! Just add a standard migratory top and for the cost of a box ($15) and some scrap wood, I now have two deep nucs. Leaving the bottom of of this configuration one could stack on that box to this and have a double height deep nuc. And the bottom of one nuc can be the top of another if going vertical with nucs to save space if desired. With a hole saw I will cut feeder holes in the top for each of the compartments to hold a quart mason jar (2 3/4 inch hole, see: http://dchoneybees.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-hive-setup-part-2-bottom-board-and.html). Successful overwintering with dry sugar in the solid bottom and over the top bars (on newspaper) in our climate is possible.
One could also use the same process to create four compartments with entrances for each (one on each side of the box) to create a queen castle (http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Queen-Castle/productinfo/687/)
- Easy to build, even with a circular saw,
- 5 frame configuration,
- Quick to build, especially because you get two boxes,
- Competitively priced,
- Colonies share their warmth through the common wall.
- Still more expensive than a cardboard box,
- Still more work than a cardboard box,
- Will be heavy if full of bees.