I have been experimenting with several designs for nucs over the past year, trying to determine what works best for me given my specific needs. This year my needs revolve around a 20-package haul from Georgia of small-cell bees that I hope to making into nucs I can sell in May.
Sell-able nucs need a couple of things to thrive: a water-tight home, a source of syrup, and a source of pollen. The nuc I have begun to use, the design shown here, allows for a gallon frame feeder to be included inside plus have five frames to build out and fill with brood and stores. We also leave a little extra room between the top bars and the cover to allow for placement of a pollen patty.
Why do I like this nuc? It can be built with simple tools: a circular saw and a drill. The joints are simple butt joints and the assembly is quick with common screws. The total cost of $20/per is a bit more expensive than some of the plywood versions I have seen, but the sturdiness of the construction suggests these will last for several seasons. I can knock out five of these in a little over an hour.
Note: in the video I describe how I rip 1/4 inch off one of the ends to create the hive entrance. I meant to say "3/4 of and inch." All other dimensions are shown in the video.
Let me know what you think!