After trying several home made mating nucs last year, This is the design I am using as a new and improved model.
It has the best features of all and eliminated the unnecessary things or design flaws.
-My climate is cool-so a screened bottom is not necessary here. I made one just to show those that want it, how to do it.
-Fence hanging nucs were my favorite. I had single mini mating fence nucs last year. This is just a double version, using a standard box anyone can get.
-Each side holds 5, half size deep frames.
This shows how it hangs on a fence or other support.
back side showing hindges and brackets
Front and back side. You can see also how I stain and urethane my box's 4 at a time. They are on a turntable and spin around for easy application
Here are all the parts, except the bottom, which can be screen or solid plywood. I run the top 3/4x12 cedar plank on the router to shape the side and front edges.
More photos of assembly, so here is a slide show.
I'll have alternating dark brown and blond nucs hanging on the fence for easier orientation. I may do some black and silver ones too.
I had a great mated return in these box's. If you can see, the disk excluders are different colors and the 1" hole I drilled was inserted with a 3/4" slice of PVC pipe. It really made the entrances stand out. I'll be painting the entrances in these new nucs white. Might not be necessary, but who knows, it may help.
The top inner cover with the screened feeding holes also allows some top ventilation.
Heres how to feed:
Be sure to poke your holes in the lid, then invert and screw on the band. The bees can't reach the syrup through the screen if the lid is slightly concave.
Make the feeding hole slightly smaller then the lid for a water resistant seal. You have a better seal if it is not screened, but the bees are corraled better with the screen.
Hope it gives you some ideas for your own nucs.
Let me know if you see room for improvement or have any other ideas.
P.S. These would make great swarm traps too with five standard drawn frames and a spritz of lemon grass oil. I'd make the entrance significantly larger though.