I build or adjust all of my equipment, full-size and nuc, so Top Bars are flush/even with the tops of the supers, and bee space is below the Bottom Bars. Or, sometimes I custom make my nucs with bee space above Top Bars (easier to add pollen sub patties) and below Bottom Bars. I usually only use a piece of plastic and a piece of 1/2" foamboard for nuc covers, but have begun making and trying a sort of "inner cover" consisting of a bee space rim of wood, covered by a sheet of masonite, beneath the foamboard covers. It was a trial I started this season, but they seem to work well, and I plan to make enough for all my nucs, in the future.
For my "production" hives, I use a combination slatted rack/screened bottom board, but in the winter I close it by setting the hives on a 1-1/2" thick piece of polystyrene foamboard - the same pieces of polystyrene I use on top of the hives in the summer. For my nucs, I use a 1-1/2" piece of polystyrene foamboard, with a 2" x 4" hole cut in it for ventilation, and the entire upper surface covered with #8 hardware cloth, to screen the hole and protect the foam from the bees. In the winter, I simply place a piece of plastic between the hardware cloth and foamboard, to reduce cold air infiltration. For my DCoates style plywood nucs, I make up cardboard with vent holes - those vent holes have #8 hardware cloth stapled over them, and the entire piece is saturated with either hot beeswax or hot paraffin wax, then stapled to the bottom. Sometimes, the odd colony, will even chew out the cardboard in a few weeks, but most do not bother it, and it's cheap to replace. Nuc supers are kept bottomless, or the foamboard/hardware cloth bottoms can be used with them, if you're in a hurry.
I do have a few nucs where I've attached a piece of hardware cloth over their entire bottoms, but this uses too much hardware cloth for my budget and still needs a piece of foamboard to reduce the ventilation in winter. And, one which has the entire bottom covered with hardware cloth, and then strips of plywood closing off all but about an inch wide channel down the center. It works well, but is definitely not as easy to work and clean as most of my other nucs.
I keep all my nucs on stands where they are thirty inches above the ground, at waist height. This makes them much easier to work with - very little bending or stooping. It also elevates them above where our Colorado River Toads can "clean them out" in a few nights. But the toads can still help keep the ground around the nucs, clean.
A typical Langstroth box in the U.S. has only 1/8" space at the bottom. Putting frames back in will squish bees. It could squish a queen. The bottom bars will be propolized down, and when you pry the frame up the bottom bar may come off. Yes, I've used a simple flat board in a pinch (and probably will again) but it is not the best plan.
At first I thought I rounded the metric conversions too much on my gear, cause I really have bee space above and bellow the frames, but then I took the original inch dimensions from the pdf's hosted on beesource and I find the same:
(9+5÷8)−(9+1÷8) = 0.5 overall space (H body - H frame)
5÷8−7÷16 = 0.1875 space above the frames (H frame rest - H top bar)
0.5−0.1875 = 0.3125 space bellow the frames (overall space left - top space)
I have flush bottoms and don't squeeze any bees unless the frame has some defect.
Thanks for the ideas.
So far I use migratory covers painted in white(simplest possible alternative), wood bottom boards and 2 pieces of rough wood(from the fire wood) bellow the bottoms. The singles are hidden in the grass as I just mow around the hives and not the all area. I want to switch to top entrances only as I see many advantages in this, top ones being grass and mice. I still want to have detachable bottoms to be able to do all the possible manipulations like combining, reversing, inspections etc. I have also 4 nuc boxes but I'm not going to build more. I just put the frame with bees in a standard deep. I don't see a problem in that. If they don't fill the space till winter I will use an insulated division board and of course the insulation above the covers.
I forgot to mention treatments ... the vaporizer won't fit under the frames... I hope I don't have to do any treatments and if I really need to, I can just do one OA dribble in Autumn.
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