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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I am currently working on making pine mating nucs. I would like to fit in 5 deep frames approximately 8 1/8 inches in length into the nuc. I purchased 1X10inch pine boards, (which is actually 3/4 thick and about 9 1/8 height). My first concern is that due to the height of the boards i have (also considering the routed grove for frames to sit), the deep frames will almost touch the bottom of the mating nuc. There is probably 1/8 - 3/16 inch space. Is that an issue? There is plenty of room on top and sides for bees to move, but I'm not sure. Can someone share your wisdom on this?

1. Is there a place in canada where I can purchase mini frames of good quality? or do I simply modify my standard deeps by cutting them in half? If so, I might make it wider so I have less frame waste.
2. Is making single mating nucs advisable? I may put a transparent front on them to see progress of queen cells. Thinking of adding 1 shallow frame like Lauri did...
3. What is the best practice for feeding these nucs? An internal feeder or a mason jar on top?

What do you guys thing of this plan and what should I change?

Once I put something together, I'll post photos
 

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I may put a transparent front on them to see progress of queen cells.
If you do, make sure you also make a cover for it. Bees don't like light in the hive, they like it dark. Plus depending on the weather and where you place it, a clear panel on the front could act like a greenhouse and turn your nuc into a solar wax melter.

So yeah, if you want a clear panel to look into, just make sure you have something to cover it with when you're not using it or you could have problems.
 

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Do you use the med frames from ML or a custom deep one? I run all deeps just figuring I would keep the frame sizes somewhat the same.
 

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If you haven't reared queens before there are a lot of advantages to using standard size frames. Not what you asked I know, but worth pointing out.

But, lack of bee space on the bottom is not good - it will work, but you will crush bees. Sometimes it will be a queen.
 

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I don't know what the standards in Canada are. but that 1X10 should have been 3/4 X 9 1/2 not 9 1/8th. This is known as nominal size. Many people that know very little will say they do that because the lumber companies are cheap. They have not done much building. for example a 2X4 is really 1 3/4 X 3 1/2. when you frame a wall it makes a wall 3 1/2 inches thick. you then place 1/2 inch of sheetrock on each side of it for a wall that ends up 4 1/2 inches thick. which happens to be the width of the frame of the door you will hang in that wall.

Since your box should be 9 5/8 inches you got a piece of wood that is not wide enough. You need a 1X12.

I made up a few mini nucs and have pretty much abandoned them. The smaller frame are a pain to deal with I now use 4 compartment queen castles and will see this year if I like them. I have a dozen of them made up that can be reverted to deep bodies if do not like how they work. My next idea beyond hat is to go with 2 or three frame individual full frame nucs. 4 compartment castles with just two frames per compartment proved to be a little tight to work in last year. We may change them to be three compartment castles. Another problem is the feeding of the nuc. We place feeding jars on top of them for now but would rather have some sort of internal feeder. Still working it out for now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Daniel, I think I will probably make my own version of a mini nuc.

I will take regular deep frames and cut them in half so that the top bar is 9 1/4 inches in length. These can be put into a regular super with a holder down the middle or the super and hold the 20 half sized frames so they can draw out comb. Maybe even brood so I can move them to the mini nucs.

I'm planning on making the nucs 5 half sized deep frames with regular bottom board. Maybe make a few extras so that in the event a queen can't be moved, I can simply add on another box on top, just like a regular hive. 5 half sized frames is the equivalent of 2.5 frames of regular sized deep frames which I feel is plenty to allow a queen to prove herself. With a feeder top like velbert has designed. I can see that working.

In a way, you have your own mini hive. You could probably winter them these as well.
 

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Goldenman, Taking full size top bars and cutting them in half. I Then simply used these bars to make normal looking frames they are just half size. is exactly what I did. I have one nuc that will hold three. and at least 6 more that hold 4 of these frames. Last year we could not get bees to stay in them. Note that the fraems where not drawn during our first attempt. I then drilled a 1/4 inch hole in the end grain of the top bar and used a 1/4 inch dowel pin (not glued) to hole the tops together. I then placed a spacer of wood between the end bars and wired the frames together. this worked very well and made the two frames connected together very sturdy. they then fit very well into a full size hive. They where left in the hives over winter and where drawn out fairly well this spring. We have removed them for now but can put them back together and have them filled with brood any time we need them.

For now it is just a lot of extra steps that need to be coordinated any time we want to rear queens. Worse than that it is a lot of frames we have no other use for and getting them empty again is a pain. I have not given up on them pending the results we get with the queen castles. These area all free standing single 4 half frame nucs. I am not so sure about over wintering them. I don"t see keeping a queen in one much past being confirmed mated. she woudl simply outgrow it in a mater of days. As of now I only expect a virgin queen to be in one for three weeks at most. One week to strengthen up. the following week she may take her mating flight but I have found it is more likely she will get mated and start laying in her third week after emergence. Once we see eggs or open brood she gets moved.

Now if all I wanted was that one queen from that nuc. That would be perfectly fine. But what if I want to produce another queen in that same mating nuc? I now need a complete second set of frames. The first set moved on to a 5 frame nuc with the first queen. So if I want say 250 queens this year I will need to make up 250 separate mating nucs. Each one will only serve to produce one queen the entire season. With queen castles or any compartment that holds full size frames I can remove the first queen and place a second one in the compartment as long as I have frames to take from my hives.
 
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