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elainemary 

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Prefer the BS myself, its more dense than the other thus feels more durable. The large gaping space in the revised Maisimore roof I see more of a drawback than benefit; the BS honey is a much more elegant solution in regards to feeding fondant.

I've butchered maisimore boxes brood extensions to fit my BS honey nucs, it would of course be preferable to buy a BS chamber but I think it's worth the effort; it allows me to use BS nuc which I think is probably the best on the market and retain the top bee space which means less squished bees and no stuck together frames when lifting.

View attachment 23956

Plan is to phase out the Maisimore nucs (the fact I have two different height roofs is also annoying) and replace with BS so all my nucs are the same.



However if a clear crown board is an absolute must that really limits your options to those with side feeders so the paynes is probably the best choice for the OP.
My BS & Maisemore Nucs have clear crownboards. Can’t recall whether they came with them, or whether I bought from these suppliers separately, but definitely available
 

Boston Bees 

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My BS & Maisemore Nucs have clear crownboards. Can’t recall whether they came with them, or whether I bought from these suppliers separately, but definitely available
Ditto. I use clear crownboards on all my poly nucs (BS, Maise and Paynes). But only Paynes supply them as part of the package. With Maisemore and BS nucs you have to buy them separately (from Maisemore, whose crownboards fit both models).

(I also made some by cutting up some spare Paynes full-size-hive clear crownboards)
 

BMH 

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This is of course very true. Fair point. A good feature. But I like double and triple height nucs, and BS don't do an extender box. So sadly not for me
Strap a 50mm block of Kingspan to the top... all the insulation the bees will ever need...
we have tried most of the others and come back to the Paynes every time!
This shows why their cannot be a perfect design for that everyone settles on. It just comes down to personal preference and what works for you.

I much prefer a design with a simple top feeder to enable prompt feeding in spring/autumn with the added benefit of year round insulation on top, with the feeder left in place.

The fondant plug for the BS Honey Bee nuc clinches it for me. Makes feeding fondant within the confines of the original nuc so much easier. Feeding fondant on the paynes is a nightmare and means you need to buy or make some ekes.

As above, I use the Maisemore extension boxes with the runners chopped out to make TBS boxes and they are fine but a BS version would be welcomed.
 

BMH 

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Some hope :).

A poly nuc is pretty basic but be aware of the variables: a disc entrance is essential but absent from the otherwise good 5-frame Park box at £39.50. A top feeder is seen as more useful - BS, Maisemore and Abelo - and fewer parts of greater benefit by others - so Paynes scores because it has an internal feeder. Mind you, the internal feeder was such a nuisance for some that Paynes now produce a top Miller feeder. This anomaly reveals much about UK poly design: a fragmented work in progress.

There are a couple of boxes from Thorne of which I have no experience: the Everynuc at £57.60 and the Polynuc at £34. Abelo have a box at £42 which turns out to the Maisemore, but they also make their own neat box at £60.

Cost is relevant: Paynes box comes in at £33.80 in their sale and an extension box or super will double the volume at £19.13. Maisemore is £40.54 and BS £41.95; these two and the Abelo can be extended similarly.

Cost is also irrelevant because practical design will give greater long-term satisfaction and a box should last 30 years, give or take. A pricier box can be had more cheaply by buying in bulk: our BKA buy by the pallet and bring a BS box down to £34. If you drop and break a box, Gorilla glue will solve the problem.

Painting a box extends its life; masonry paint is usually recommended but gloss bonds better and lasts longer. Park and Abelo boxes arrive painted so save time and the cost of paint.

I prefer the BS box but also use Park, Maisemore and Paynes, acquired piecemeal on the journey of discovery; all work well, though it's a nuisance to have different models and I yearn to reduce to the BS eventually. Why the BS? Because it's well-designed, has feeder flexibility and can adapt from 3 to 6 frames as needed.

Whichever you choose, stick to one design and buy several.
Eric

What are your thoughts on the Park nuc? I'm really not a fan at all. All I can see it has going for it is the high insulation value. Apart from that, cant see any positives at all!
 

Ian123 

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I prefer the BS Nucs by far and the top feeders are better than any internal. The fact there’s no additional brood box doesn’t bother me as if/when they require space, there just put into a standard brood so no additional bits required.
 

Swn58 

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I bought five BS nucs last year and plan to buy around twenty or more more for this year. They are so good and adaptable! :D Painted nukes (1).jpg
 

ericbeaumont 

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What are your thoughts on the Park nuc?
When I started out Park were down the road from me and the only supplier of poly nucs (maybe Paynes were around). They've given good service for fifteen years and are good for another ten.

I don't like the letterbox entrance and discussed it with Godfrey, but he made the valid point that design changes mean mould changes mean money, and the mould was a joint enterprise with a European manufacturer.

The 2-in-1 Lang/National adaption (slide out the end wall inserts) makes it easy to sell the box in Lang Europe, but perhaps the National adaption plays second fiddle because the (glued) castellated metal runners are spaced for Lang and prevent all five National frames closing tight to each other, and we know where that leads: down a dark alley called Uneven Combs to a cul-de-sac called Cursing.

It's perhaps a frame short at five; the poly is softer than more recent designs but then they're not Grannie's fine china; the corner feet break off if the box is dropped. The floor slides out for cleaning, and the paint is very good and lasts.
 

ericbeaumont 

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The fact there’s no additional brood box doesn’t bother me as if/when they require space, there just put into a standard brood so no additional bits required.
That's the best option, but if you've run out of full-sized kit a brood extension gives a £22 breathing space.
 

mbc 

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I too have settled on maisemore as the most appropriate for my beekeeping, I have dozens, and I also like the versatility of the extra brood box options. Time and tide and honey flows wait for no man, the extra brood boxes have allowed me hold the bees in the boxes they're going to be sold in while they can still expand, draw our some comb and not get congested while waiting for customers to be ready. If it pushes on to mid may then it can be like two for the price of one for me with selling the 6 frame overwintered nuc and introducing a newly mated queen into the remaining bees to make a new season nuc ready for sale in a week or two.
 

BMH 

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When I started out Park were down the road from me and the only supplier of poly nucs (maybe Paynes were around). They've given good service for fifteen years and are good for another ten.

I don't like the letterbox entrance and discussed it with Godfrey, but he made the valid point that design changes mean mould changes mean money, and the mould was a joint enterprise with a European manufacturer.

The 2-in-1 Lang/National adaption (slide out the end wall inserts) makes it easy to sell the box in Lang Europe, but perhaps the National adaption plays second fiddle because the (glued) castellated metal runners are spaced for Lang and prevent all five National frames closing tight to each other, and we know where that leads: down a dark alley called Uneven Combs to a cul-de-sac called Cursing.

It's perhaps a frame short at five; the poly is softer than more recent designs but then they're not Grannie's fine china; the corner feet break off if the box is dropped. The floor slides out for cleaning, and the paint is very good and lasts.
I agree with a lot of your comments but for me customer service has to come second to product quality/development.

I just feel the boxes are way too soft. Maybe 1 grade above packaging grade.

The lang/national benefit is a bit of a red herring. It only benefits the manufacturer and as you point out, actually detracts from the box as a national due to the frame spacing.

This sits firmly on the bottom of the UK poly nuc market in my opinion.
 

BMH 

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I too have settled on maisemore as the most appropriate for my beekeeping, I have dozens, and I also like the versatility of the extra brood box options. Time and tide and honey flows wait for no man, the extra brood boxes have allowed me hold the bees in the boxes they're going to be sold in while they can still expand, draw our some comb and not get congested while waiting for customers to be ready. If it pushes on to mid may then it can be like two for the price of one for me with selling the 6 frame overwintered nuc and introducing a newly mated queen into the remaining bees to make a new season nuc ready for sale in a week or two.
This is the system we try our best to use. Makes for very efficient use of resources as you dont need to start breaking up colonies to stock next years nucs.
 
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Angry_Mob 

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My BS & Maisemore Nucs have clear crownboards. Can’t recall whether they came with them, or whether I bought from these suppliers separately, but definitely available
They don't come included with either, Maisimore sell them for an additional £3.15.

Problem is that it they then block access to the top feeder, a problem that the Paynes hive doesn't have with its side feeder.
 

Swarm 

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Clear sheet of thick polythene with a little flap cut in it. Works as a 'crown board', open flap allows access to fondant.
 

elainemary 

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BS are top space and Maisemore, bottom. I prefer the BS feeder. Could probably slice the poly frame rails off a Maisemore extension?
Thanks, have learnt something here, esp as have both, just not noticed & have only used a brood extension with Maisemore ones. Will make sure i don't accidentally put an extension on the BS ones, which I bought for 3 frame Nucs. As an aside, how do you get on with these as 2x3 frames? I ended up using as 6 frame Nucs last year as wasn't short of equipment or frames, do you cut the crown board down so each compartment is separate or do you find this isn't an issue re bees mingling (or fighting??) when you inspect, with the divider in place?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Clear sheet of thick polythene with a little flap cut in it. Works as a 'crown board', open flap allows access to fondant.
A piece of weed suppresant cloth over the top bars does the same (if you feel the need to have a quilt) far too much obsessing about clear crownboards, especially with nucs. I've found the Maisie's nucs need neither a crown board nor extra space above the top bars, haven't seen any issues with the lid being too firmly glued down, or bees getting crushed because there isn't a full TBS
 

Murox 

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Clear sheet of thick polythene with a little flap cut in it. Works as a 'crown board', open flap allows access to fondant.
Thats what I use - specifically bits of 'off cut' from 300mu blue damp proof membrane, work perfectly.
 

ericbeaumont 

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how do you get on with these as 2x3 frames? do you cut the crown board down so each compartment is separate or do you find this isn't an issue re bees mingling (or fighting??) when you inspect, with the divider in place?
Economical way to make splits or introduce queens but don't leave it too long to upgrade in high season.

There is no CB with the BS (unless you make one) but I slide the feeder over to cover one half while dealing with the other; if no feeder is on I use a short 4x1 plank.

No fighting observed, but I reckon it's safer to make up both halves from the same colony.
 

Swarm 

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Thanks, have learnt something here, esp as have both, just not noticed & have only used a brood extension with Maisemore ones. Will make sure i don't accidentally put an extension on the BS ones, which I bought for 3 frame Nucs. As an aside, how do you get on with these as 2x3 frames? I ended up using as 6 frame Nucs last year as wasn't short of equipment or frames, do you cut the crown board down so each compartment is separate or do you find this isn't an issue re bees mingling (or fighting??) when you inspect, with the divider in place?
I use Maisemore nucs, Elaine but my friend uses BS. The feeder is a better design, one feeder will feed both colonies but we both agreed the partition is very flimsy. A single sheet of polythene used carefully helps keep them separate, propolis is your friend ;)
My nucs are all Maisemore extension boxes on my own UHE floors, either OMF or insulated when rearing queens in three frame set ups.
 

elainemary 

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Economical way to make splits or introduce queens but don't leave it too long to upgrade in high season.

There is no CB with the BS (unless you make one) but I slide the feeder over to cover one half while dealing with the other; if no feeder is on I use a short 4x1 plank.

No fighting observed, but I reckon it's safer to make up both halves from the same colony.
Thankyou, that’s helpful
 

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