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Thread: Nuc-O-Matic

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Indianapolis IN 46227
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    Default Nuc-O-Matic

    This is a "hive bank" I built based on M Palmer's writing and D Coates nuc dimesions. The box is about 8' long, and holds 10, 5 frame hives. The base box is built from 2x12 with 2x12 dividers between each 5 frame unit. The top boxes are 5 frame deeps. I use 3/8" plywood for inner covers and a 2 piece outer cover that allows one side of the unit to have more supers than the other side. The placement of the inner covers determines how much space a particular hive uses. Each hive has a 1" entrance hole at the bottom and a 1" vent hole near the top of the uppermost super.

    I have 6 of these units in operation right now. The first picture shows a 10 hive bank with 10 frames each (5 over 5). The lower picture shows 3 units totaling 30 hives. Note 2 of the units have 2 supers on one half the hive bank.



    Last edited by DonShackelford; 08-18-2013 at 10:30 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    2,759

    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    Nice build, but what advantages does this design offer over conventional nuc designs? Uses less material (doesn't look like it)? Better overwintering?

    Certainly throws mobility out the window. At least without a forklift.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
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    285

    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    My primary goal is to grow bees, make splits, and survive an Indiana winter.

    I also see these as a very good way for a backyard beek to have a hive lab, not just a few hives. These can be stacked 5 tall easily since the bottom box is structural, so a hobbyest could have a few hives, some nucs, and be rearing a few queens, all in one compact & winter hearty unit.
    My hives are in suburban neighborhoods, so packing 30 hives into one spot would not be possible without some consideration like this. Note the 2nd picture shows 30 hives in a very small area.

    I have a metal cart, floor jack, and trailer with ramp to move them, but only set these in long term areas. Other than a rare move (none so far), the heaviest thing I pick up is a 5 frame deep. Being older with achy joints, that works well for me!


    Oddly, a 2x12 is 2/3 the price of a 1x12. It also negates the need of building a hive stand.

    Only next spring will tell the story, but I have a lot of faith in these, and am still learning how to best work them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,787

    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    I really like it, especially using 2x lumber. I've been thinking along those lines myself, I think the bees might to a whole lot better in 2x lumber built boxes instead of the 1x lumber. More solid and more insulating is my thinking. Best of luck, I think it'll do very well for you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Indianapolis IN 46227
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    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    Thanks Ray,
    I do think the bottom box being 2x12 has to help with insulation and stopping wind. The upper boxes are 1x material, but do sit right next to another one.
    A little trick I came up with on the upper boxes; I used rabbit joints for corners, and left the rabbit tail 1/8 inch long on each end of the front and back boards. That lets me set them tightly together, yet I can remove any box easily by shifting forward or backwards 3/8 inches which creates a 1/4 space on both sides of a super. Probably sounds more complicated than it is.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,651

    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    Odfrank might be adopting this, as a "Swarm-A-Matic"!
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Fl
    Posts
    467

    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    Hi Don,
    I'm having trouble picturing this, could you post some picture with the top open and one of the nucs removed, if any parts are removable.
    I think it's a pretty neat idea. Dought I would undertake building one. I have trouble putting hive bodies togeather.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    I'm having trouble picturing this, could you post some picture with the top open and one of the nucs removed, if any parts are removable.
    x2!
    Try it. What could happen?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
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    591

    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    Or a set of plans for construction of the beast?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,211

    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    Don, is your idea to give the thin-plywood D Coates nucs an overcoat, and benefit from each others heat?

    I do like the idea of using 2x12 on the bottom for its strength. These Canadians take it a bit farther and use styrofoam and a heater pad to winter 2 frame nucs, but it is not without its difficulties, as they describe.
    http://mbbeekeeping.com/5-pack-winte...rood-chambers/

    Up here in Wisconsin I just push the 5 over 5 framers together, and add 2 inch insulation on the top and the ends.
    http://s1110.photobucket.com/user/Ad...ml?sort=6&o=78

    If I get any better at producing queens I would like to experiment and see what is the minimum size cavity one can overwinter in.

    Good work, keep experimenting. There would be no progress if people weren't prepared to try something different.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Indianapolis IN 46227
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    285

    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    "Odfrank might be adopting this, as a "Swarm-A-Matic"!"

    I guess that is the idea. They are great for pulling resources out of all summer long.

    "Or a set of plans for construction of the beast?"

    Don't have that yet. I'll work on a set of plans this winter.

    "Don, is your idea to give the thin-plywood D Coates nucs an overcoat, and benefit from each others heat?"

    Yes. Each hive is a 5 over 5, so there are actually 10, 10 frame hives in the bank. I used the D Coates nuc for dimesions, but my lower boxes are built from 2x, and the upper boxes are 1x.

    "Up here in Wisconsin I just push the 5 over 5 framers together, and add 2 inch insulation on the top and the ends."

    I did that last winter with fairly good results. That led me to investigate even better methods of shared heat. I don't plan to insulate these at all this winter.

    I need to round up another beek to help me video this project. Stay tuned for Nuc-O-Matic - The Movie!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Tipton, TN, USA
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    784

    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    Quote Originally Posted by JStinson View Post
    x2!
    x3
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    3,061

    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    Some issues I am seeing. If you have 5 singles and 5 doubles as your picture shows. you do not have a good water protection at the seam. Next would be the obvious and that is you maintain 5 nucs side by side that are all within reasonably the same level of development. How reliably are you able to do that. I see a situation that under developed colonies suffer and over developed colonies suffer. do you swap frames around to balance out colonies?

    So far my increase methods are focused toward the use of either mini nucs or a queen castle I make that has 4 2 frame compartments per ten frame box. Once the queen is mated and confirmed I move her to a 5 frame nuc and build up to 5 over 5. I like this design as it is consistent with the side by side single unit configuration of the queen castle. the queen castle on steroids.

    I will have to do some math comparing material costs for 10 nucs to the cost of this but with the elimination of the bottom boards it is very likely to come out lower cost.

    One other concern would be the transferring of nucs to single units for sale or transport to other locations. I have issues with getting bees moved from queen castle compartments. many of them are still running around on the walls of the compartment after the frames have been removed. Time involved to salvage these orphaned bees is a big issue. the alternative is to simply allow them to be lost or migrate to any other populated compartment. Most remain in the empty compartment and eventually perish.

    How do you clean the bottoms out?
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    Daniel,

    My thinking on building these was using them to make frames of brood & bees for starts. As such, I never really empty them, which is an issue since the bottoms are non removable. I pull a start out but leave enough brood/bees to let them rebuild. I clean the bottoms with my hands when needed prior to putting bees in. I do try to equalize them to an extent, but mainly just remove frames from ones that are getting too strong. I have an upper and lower 1" entrance, and notice that if the bees are using both entrances prolifically, then it's time to remove some brood.

    The offset ones you see are where I just brought some nucs in. I put them on top of an empty bottom, let the bees acclimate a few days, then drop down the frame to the empty box below. I do use plywood inner covers, so I don't worry about leaks.

    My strategy to make nucs from these is to setup the top box with what I want in the split over a plastic excluder that I cut down to fit. A week later I can remove that top box and indentify whether the upper or lower box needs a queen.

    I'm still learning to use these, but my biggest challenge will be to ensure they have enough food.

    There are actually 10 nucs in each bank. 4 holes on each side, one hole on each end.

  15. #15
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    Sep 2011
    Location
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    Default Re: Nuc-O-Matic

    Thanks Don, I really like this since it mirrors the multi compartment of the queen castle. I still might think it over for a better cleanability. Not sure my queen castles do not have a removable bottom either.

    SIne my nucs are intended to be additional resources for full size hives it sounds consistent with what you are describing. a place for an additional queen to be producing additional resources and on standby if she is needed at a moments notice to head a colony.

    I am working on some idea of how to get bees to move from the queen castle compartment to the 5 frame nuc box myself. I am thinking moving the queen up to the nuc. placing it above the open castle compartment over a queen excluder and giving the bees time to climb up to where their frames and queen are. Sounds like it just might work. Has to work better than what I have been doing.

    It is fun to play with the bees in these little boxes.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

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