After re-reading Walter Kelley's comments on the use of baby nucs for queen mating I have decided to build a few. Years ago I had some that I got at a sale, but I have forgotten their measurements.
Fiddling around in the barn today I figured that I could make a nice nuc using 4 medium frames cut down to any appropriate length. Since the medium box is 6 & 5/8 inch deep I thought of making them square, 6 & 5/8 inside dimension. For frames, this would entail buying only the end pieces and possibly a bit of foundation. Four frames would fit with some extra side space. (or three frames and a feeder)
Since the 6 & 5/8 box has to be cut from a piece of 1 x 8, leaving the board full depth would make possible a flat, attached bottom board.
Does anyone have a plan for such baby nucs? I hate to go around re-inventing the wheel. If you see any problems with my intended design, please comment.
I think there are plans on this site for Nuc;s under "Plans, Build it". Check it out, I built 4 for swarm catching boxes and I think that I got the plans from this section. I caught 2 swarms about 3 weeks ago in 2 of them. Worked great, Smoked them some to get them inside, closed them up and brought them home. These were place close to where I had gotten swarms before. Try it, you'll like it. Dale
Personally I'd just do them as top bars. Some of the commercial ones already do and it will save all that messing around with the frames.
You could build this with sloped or straight sides, either will work. If you put the hole for the entrance in the middle (top to bottom) and run some melted wax in around the bottom you can seal it up and feed by putting some honey or syrup in the bottom.
That's how Betterbee says to feed these.
With top bars and a sealed up bottom you have a very simple hive that can be fed, and doesn't require building frames.
IF I were building baby nucs that's what I'd do.
But I just build two frame medium nucs and use regular medium frames.
The plans on this site for nucs use standard frames and are not "baby nucs". What Kelley advocated was the true baby nuc that can be stocked with a cupful of bees. His reason was that over time he had found that he got a higher success rate with the baby nucs.
If I remember correctly Kelley specified an entrance that could be closed and two ventilation holes permanently screened. I see no reason why the entrance could not be placed high enough so that feed could be put in the waxed base.
The waxed nuc that incorporates a feeder is a good idea and has been discussed here by a breeder who does it that way. The top bar only plan might also work, though the formation of comb might be more of a problem.
There is a local guy here that runs the Draper store that sells half and third sized shallow frames. He sells boxes that hold 30 third sized frames for comb honey. I've always thought those would work well in baby nucs also and if you had one of his boxes, you could put all the brood from the baby nucs back in the hives to be raised.
Can you put me in touch with this fellow? It might be cheaper for me to buy a super of thirty frames from him than it would be for me to spend time making them. I can easily make the little 4-frame nucs but the frames are a pain. I am really not sold on the top-bars-only approach to nucs.
Draper Super Bee
914 S Street
Auburn NE 68305
The unit is a "DSB Comb Honey Unit"
Cat CH-14 is the complete super and frames etc. $55
Just 30 of the frames is cat # CH-34 and is $29.50
I'll give the guy a call.
I called Draper today to try to order some mini-frames.
The nice lady there told me that they were so busy with bee supplies this year that they had no time to build either the frames or the comb honey super. None, nada, zilch. Looks as if I am on my own.
Micheal - the website says they are in Pensylvania
I don't know about the one in PA (there is a Darper's there too) but the one here in NE is where I've seen the comb honey supers with the small frames. The one here does not have a web site. I don't know what the connection between the two might be, if any.