Nuc Hive Box Size
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  1. #1

    Default Nuc Hive Box Size

    I'm curious as to what size top bar nuc hive folks would recommend either to temporarily house splits, swarms, etc.?

    I have only read one source which suggest a hive approximately half of what your top bar is which is 45" in my case. That would seem much larger than the traditional 8 frame Langstroth nuc box, so I am curious as I would like to build a few this winter.

    Thanks for any thoughts.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Nuc Hive Box Size

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinf View Post
    I'm curious as to what size top bar nuc hive folks would recommend either to temporarily house splits, swarms, etc.?

    I have only read one source which suggest a hive approximately half of what your top bar is which is 45" in my case. That would seem much larger than the traditional 8 frame Langstroth nuc box, so I am curious as I would like to build a few this winter.

    Thanks for any thoughts.
    You can always put a small swarm into a big box.
    You can never put a large swarm into a small box.

    A 40 liter box is a good general size (you can always compress a small colony using follower boards and have a room to grow).
    This is also big enough to dump a good sized swarm into.
    This is also big enough to use as a trap.
    This also should be small enough for ad-hoc mobile usage (vs. the full sized hive).
    Do the dimensional math as per your equipment format.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Nuc Hive Box Size

    I run 16" nucs out of 3/4" stock.. nice round cutting numbers that help minimize the waist.
    Gives me space for 10 bars and a folower board or a 4 next to 5 bar set up with a division board feeder in the middle

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Nuc Hive Box Size

    I was going to reply last night in the wee small hours (different time zone) - but was far too tired. And this morning I find that 2 guys have got there (exactly there !) before me ...

    As I see things, there's only 2 reasons to make nuc-sized beehives of any type: one is if you're desperately short of ground area - the other is if you need portability. If neither of these apply - then recommend you build your Top Bar Hives full-size and use a 'follower-board' to reduce their volume to whatever you then require: that way a 30-comb hive can function as a 3-comb hive, and still provide room for subsequent colony expansion. But as Greg points out - this can't be done the other way around ...

    Back in my TBH-enthusiast days, I once built a minimalistic 'carry-home nuc box' as economically as possible from 10mm plywood. As msl has done, I also chose a 10-comb length with a moveable divider - which then produced a convenient size for carrying/ moving around. It had/has an Open Mesh Floor and is provided with entrances at both ends, so that with the divider located centrally two 5-comb nucleus colonies could be conveniently carried home at the same time by a Bogof(*) customer.

    I had ambitions of building these 'giveaway' nuc boxes in large numbers, but then moved away from Top Bars, so it's been collecting dust for several years now. If anyone's halfway interested I could always dig it out, dust it off, and take a pic or three.
    LJ

    (*) "Buy One Get One Free".
    Last edited by little_john; 10-11-2019 at 05:29 AM.
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Nuc Hive Box Size

    I run all my spring splits in 7 bar topbar nucs. This allows me to get an in-hive feeder in there and have 5 bars drawn out. After the main nectar flow, I also use quite a bit of the 5 frame Lang nuc boxes that hold just the topbar comb. (I staple screen to the bottom and drill a hole in the side for an entrance.)

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Basalt, CO, USA
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    Default

    I use a nuc box for swarm captures and that’s about it. Mine are wide enough for 8 bars plus two .25 inch spacers.
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  8. #7

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    Thanks for all of your responses as they are very helpful.

    I think I am going to go with a 15 bar nuc for a variety of reasons. If the box has a front side entrance on one wall and a separate side wall front entrance on the other side wall and on the other end of the box could I keep two nucs in the same hive separated by a divider board? I would end up with two 7 bar nucs. Any issues with this set up?

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Nuc Hive Box Size

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinf View Post
    Thanks for all of your responses as they are very helpful.

    I think I am going to go with a 15 bar nuc for a variety of reasons. If the box has a front side entrance on one wall and a separate side wall front entrance on the other side wall and on the other end of the box could I keep two nucs in the same hive separated by a divider board? I would end up with two 7 bar nucs. Any issues with this set up?
    As for me, this is not a nuc.
    This is full blown hive (but a small hive with all the positive/negative features).

    Mobility of the unit is an essential parameter - if it is to be called a nuc.
    I want to be able to pickup and carry a nuc - alone - with bees and honey.
    (which I have done exactly last night as I combined/rearranged the nucs for the winter - my back felt it - some nucs were heavy with the stores).

    Afterwords, I loaded up those same empty nuc hives with empty frames, syrup feeders, some supplies and took them all home (transport box feature).

    You can not do the same with your 15-bar hive.
    At that rate - just make your hive bigger (say 18-20 bars) so you at least can keep two colonies in it comfortably (not overly tight).
    And don't call it - a nuc.


    Yesterday I consolidated two (4-frame and 5-frame) small units into a single 16-frame rig - side-by-side (but my full-size rigs is bigger than yours, I imagine).
    That's 16 Dadant full size frame capacity (32 Lang mediums), I am talking about.
    Last edited by GregV; 10-22-2019 at 04:15 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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