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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm working on expanding next season and am picking up 100 boxes tomorrow. I run exclusively medium 8 frame equipment and want to run a double nuc setup with 4 frames on each side. I'd like to be able to stack these doubles but am concerned about queens crossing over during inspections. Anyone else run a similar setup? How does it work out for you?

On a side note: has anyone run a similar set up to Michael Palmer's but with medium 8s?
 

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I'm working on expanding next season and am picking up 100 boxes tomorrow. I run exclusively medium 8 frame equipment and want to run a double nuc setup with 4 frames on each side. I'd like to be able to stack these doubles but am concerned about queens crossing over during inspections. Anyone else run a similar setup? How does it work out for you?

On a side note: has anyone run a similar set up to Michael Palmer's but with medium 8s?
Have you checked actual dimensions to see if you can get 4 frames in each box if their combined widths are the same as an 8 frame bottom board? I have a number of Palmer style 4 framers in standard 3/4" wood but am scratching my head about it working on 8 frame width unless you go non standard bottom board or separate bottom boards.
 

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If these boxes are just for breeding, could you use a 10 frame set up with a divider making it 2 4 frame sections? Just a quick unqualified thought.
 

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If these boxes are just for breeding, could you use a 10 frame set up with a divider making it 2 4 frame sections? Just a quick unqualified thought.
Yes, a partition of 1 1/2" dimensional stock in a 10 frame box just perfectly sits under the center of the paired 4 framers above.
 

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I can comment on this because I ran a similar set up last year.

You really want to make sure that the separation is thick, because the separators warp and when you move boxes around they rotate.

For a typical 8 frame box idk if you can get away with 4x4. If you go with thin separations, expect to lose queens when the separation moves a half an inch.

Swarming is a big problem. 8 frames is like swarm heaven.

I'd love to know how beekeepers prevent swarms in these 4x4 or 5x5 nucs.
 

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I only ran them one season, starting them out end of June with 4 drawn frames and a mated queen. Kept putting on more boxes; three high then a honey super on for a week or so just to see how they played together with a shared super. I kept them expanding and with new mated queens they did not try to head for the trees.

A good way to get frames drawn but not something I would choose as a honey producing concept because they are harder to work and would likely swarm if you did not keep them in expansion mode.
 

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Have you checked actual dimensions to see if you can get 4 frames in each box if their combined widths are the same as an 8 frame bottom board?
A friend is using 8 frame hive bodies from Mann Lake and they work fine for dividing into 2 sections. He also has boxes from other manufactures that are narrower than ML equipment.
He uses a tea towel cloth stapled into the center divider to keep bees/queens separated during inspections.
 

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A friend is using 8 frame hive bodies from Mann Lake and they work fine for dividing into 2 sections. He also has boxes from other manufactures that are narrower than ML equipment.
He uses a tea towel cloth stapled into the center divider to keep bees/queens separated during inspections.
Yes that is a divided single 8 frame box; not double nucs. A matter of terminology I guess. With a very thin divider you could get four frames in each side but there will be the issue that Username 0010 mentions above. As soon as you consider stacking them up beyond one box, the the divider issue becomes critical.

Edit: From the opening post. "On a side note: has anyone run a similar set up to Michael Palmer's but with medium 8s?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all your thoughts! Just got my equipment in today and was able to measure (as all of my current equipment is on the bees now) and it doesn't look like I'll be able to run a MP setup with medium 8s. I worked with a commercial beekeeper that split his mating nuc medium 8s with a thin divider board but the bowing and stacking combination will definitely become an issue. Unless I had the stacked nucs with very thin walls and was able to secure the divider board from bowing somehow. I'll think about it more and see if I can come up with anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Actually, what if all the frames were shaved down to 1 1/4"? That would allow room for a thicker divider board and I believe I'd be able to fit 4 frames in the stacked nucs.
 

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Actually, what if all the frames were shaved down to 1 1/4"? That would allow room for a thicker divider board and I believe I'd be able to fit 4 frames in the stacked nucs.
Shaving the frames that way would help as a workaround. It has a bit of a negative in that beespace between sides of topbars is compromised a bit in my personal experience, but many people do it... search shaving top bars for reading on that.

Another thing that could help with the warping of thin dividers is something I have heard called "H Clips" used to slip midspan between rafters on sheet edges of thin ply wood used on roofing. That one is iffy because the ones you can buy are probably for thicker sheet than you would be forced to use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thank you so much for your insight crofter! Can you share a bit more about your experience with the top bar being reduced to ¼” rather than ¾”? What kind of negative affect would it have on the bees & keeper? I’m concerned it may affect ventilation and encourage more propolis/burr comb? Thinking of setting up a router jig so I can shave off the 1/16” on each side rather than readjusting the table saw. This would make shaving top/end bars a bit easier but still tedious. Just still unsure how necessary/beneficial shaving the top bars will be. After searching through archives, it seems that most don’t bother with shaving the top bars.

As for the divider, starting to lean towards a follower board made with 1/2” or so of solid wood so it’s removable without affecting the body, bee-tight, and much less likely to warp. Trimming the frames will allow for a lot more room to pull this off.
 

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Thank you so much for your insight crofter! Can you share a bit more about your experience with the top bar being reduced to ¼” rather than ¾”? What kind of negative affect would it have on the bees & keeper? I’m concerned it may affect ventilation and encourage more propolis/burr comb? Thinking of setting up a router jig so I can shave off the 1/16” on each side rather than readjusting the table saw. This would make shaving top/end bars a bit easier but still tedious. Just still unsure how necessary/beneficial shaving the top bars will be. After searching through archives, it seems that most don’t bother with shaving the top bars.

As for the divider, starting to lean towards a follower board made with 1/2” or so of solid wood so it’s removable without affecting the body, bee-tight, and much less likely to warp. Trimming the frames will allow for a lot more room to pull this off.
There is a bit more bridging between top bars. When sliding frames back together it is a bit more apt to grab bees. They do not fill the gaps solid or anything like that. Some people live with it all the time. If you are setting up to do it with router you could also jig up to take a wee buzz off the sides of the top bar in the area between the endbar slots and that problem is solved at the same time.
 

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View attachment 61580 View attachment 61580


Yes, a partition of 1 1/2" dimensional stock in a 10 frame box just perfectly sits under the center of the paired 4 framers above.
Nice Pics Frank,

Are these your first ones?
I made some custom 5X5 ones last year.

I simply bough 10 NUC boxes from Mann Lake, set 2 togather, made a bottom, lid and BB those dimentions.
I really liked it. The 4x4 should also work.

I found the 6 5/8 medium size box was a nice way to either super or feed frames of honey.

GG
 

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Nice Pics Frank,

Are these your first ones?
I made some custom 5X5 ones last year.

I simply bough 10 NUC boxes from Mann Lake, set 2 togather, made a bottom, lid and BB those dimentions.
I really liked it. The 4x4 should also work.

I found the 6 5/8 medium size box was a nice way to either super or feed frames of honey.

GG
I also made one 11 frame deep bottom box and floorboard that will accept 5 frame nucs side by side. It has divider slots in various places and has separate 5 frame excluders so it can be used for various games with the bees.
I fall down the rabbit hole of making these cutesy one off designs and have fun doing it, but there is benefit in adapting standard equipment to do the same thing. You can have fun too making a fetish out of simplicity like Greg enjoys.
 

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Noting that you are planning to use removable dividing boards, perhaps my experience will be useful. My first year I designed removable divider boards to use in narrowing the width of my boxes for winter. I can't do carpentry to save my life so I didn't make them, but hired a skilled cabinet maker to create them from dimensional lumber. Notwithstanding his skills, they proved surprisingly hard to fit closely (at the time I thought they had to be bee-tight, though for my use they needn't be). Bee boxes (even excellent quality ones from a good supplier) are surprisingly slightly different from box to box, especially on the all-important frame rabbet depth. I ended up having to do a lot of meatball surgery to make them work.

For your purpose, you do need bee-tightness, so a permanent one-time fitting may be the best bet.

Nancy (Enjambres).
 

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Dittos. VERY happy to see you posting again.
 
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Univ of Guelph has a two part video on how they make their double nucs, which includes how they keep the bees from crossing over and how they super them. Might be worth a look for visual reference. I know it doesn't answer your question on the mediums but might give you some ideas:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
If these boxes are just for breeding, could you use a 10 frame set up with a divider making it 2 4 frame sections? Just a quick unqualified thought.
My overthinking brain couldn't grasp what a simple solution this would be at first ha! You are onto something. It would work quite well to just have some 10F bases with permanent divider boards dedicated towards mating/brood factories similar to MP's nuc setup. It would be easy to make some nucs to fit ontop that also hold 4 frames. Plenty of room to work with! I have a handful of 10F mediums to experiment with this year. The idea of attempting to shave 800 frames is dreadful, so this is a much better solution. Thank you!

Digging through the archives here has brought a wealth of headaches trying to absorb all the invaluable knowledge in the wee hours of the night. ;) I look forward to a year of experimenting and splitting. Thank you all for the great feedback and food for thought.
 
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