Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nuc Building, PART 4: 5-Frame Double Nuc, Revised

If you read this blog, you may remember a few weeks back I took a deep hive body, divided it with a 3/8 inch piece of plywood, notched out opposite ends, and got a double nuc that is easy to make with standard tools (power screwdriver and circular saw) and relatively cheap.

I got lots of complements on my woodworking skills and innovation (although I admitted to cribbing much of the idea from other sites) A rather glaring observation was made in one of the beekeeping forums.  Namely, that most bottom boards provide "walking around space" for the bees under the frames by providing a raised ridge upon which the bottom super sits.  Smart catch.

I have thus revised my scheme to address the issue for a new and improved version.  I used Mann Lake budget supers rather than select this time ($9) saving myself some money and providing the identical result.  The only additional wood required was an 8 ft length of 1 x 2 furring that I found at Home Depot for $1.17.

The project begins in the identical way as our last build, dado-ing a slot with a circular saw down the middle of both ends of the super, right in the middle.
I then assembled the box, and fitted the dividing board down the middle.  I used MDF rather than Luan this time to hopefully guard against the wood bowing with moisture.
The division panel is cut so that it is precisely the depth of the box.  I use the unassembled super side as a template.  That provides a panel that is flush with the upper and lower edges of the box.
Now time to work on the bottom.  I needed to provide structure that "lift's" the box off the bottom as a regular bottom board does, while providing a hard boarder between the two colonies so they can't mix.  In this example I used 1 x 2 furring, but strips of plywood would work just as well.  I laid out the bottom board (note the bottom is the same dimensions as in our last build, and we are using entrances on opposite sides of the box):

The voids at each end are the respective entrances for each colony.
I hope these dimensions are clear.

The divided super now sits upon this bed of strips:
....and is attached with screws.  PROBLEM SOLVED.

What is most advantageous about this nuc is its stack-ability.  leaving off the bottom provides a second super to create a double-height nuc:
And looking in the interior of this configuration, the division panels keep the seal between the two colonies:
I use a simple migratory cover for the box.  If you have concerns about working one nuc without disturbing the other one could use a piece of burlap as a flexible inner cover.  In the winter the burlap can also draw off moisture and in the summer can allow for ventilation with the top cover propped.

Bada bing.