Optimum number of frames in a nuc

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

PaleoPerson 

Field Bee
Joined
Jul 18, 2009
Messages
706
Reaction score
0
Location
Essex
Hive Type
14x12
Early this year I made up some national nuc boxes and decided that the size would determine the number of frames they would be able to hold.

I made them from ply and if two were placed side-by-side, then the external dimension would be the same as a national hive at 460x460 this made them 5 frame. the rationale being that I would be able to utilise other equipment with them should the need arise. i.e. I could use a std roof on top of two nucs and two nucs to a hive stand.

The reality being, never did and probably never will due to my preference of keeping a reasonable gap between the colonies even if they are facing in opposite directions. In fact I modified my hive stand design slightly to ensure single nucs worked better on them.

I have seen nucs made to hold from 2 frames to 6 frames. So this leads me to the question in mind. What is the optimum number of frames that should be in a general purpose nuc and why?
 

drstitson 

Queen Bee
Joined
Aug 4, 2010
Messages
7,657
Reaction score
0
Location
surrey, lincolnshire etc.
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
14
two 5 frame bodies would sit nicely on a modified varroa floor giving entrances at front and back (like rooftops poly nucs).

why do you have a problem with 2 nucs adjacent but facing opposite directions????
 

thurrock bees 

Drone Bee
Joined
Aug 1, 2009
Messages
1,084
Reaction score
0
Location
Haywards Heath, Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
27
ive got 5 frames nuc's, but have also made 6 frame nucs that i can fit a nuc size super on top, that why when they are sold or moved to a normal brood body they can have 6 frames of brood and some super frames with store above the brood nest.
 

PaleoPerson 

Field Bee
Joined
Jul 18, 2009
Messages
706
Reaction score
0
Location
Essex
Hive Type
14x12
two 5 frame bodies would sit nicely on a modified varroa floor giving entrances at front and back (like rooftops poly nucs).

why do you have a problem with 2 nucs adjacent but facing opposite directions????
I do not have a problem with 2 nucs adjacent, I just dont like it. I am also using a Rooftops Poly nuc to overwinter one colony at the moment.
 
Last edited:

oliver90owner 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
15,747
Reaction score
165
Location
Lincolnshire
Hive Type
14x12
I am using two of the MBS nucs in jumbo National format.

Now, that is what I call a strong nuc! When filled with stores my wife could hardly lift them, let alone carry them.

I am thinking I might use some more as doubles next year - 3 frames, it seems will be OK in the summer.

Now the reasoning. A nucleus of bees should be a viable and expanding 'mini' colony that can look after itself.

I think bees on two National deep frames would definitely need help from the beekeeper to expand in most situations. Even if it could expand, it may not become strong enough to survive until the next season, so there may be more lattitude when describing a nuc, depending on the time of the year. So a nucleus hive was the size for 'unfettered' colonies to be able to expand, but obviously not big enough for them expand indefinitely (size restrained) and not to overwinter unaided.

Poly, I am sure, has changed the historical sizes which are possible for unfettered expansion, but these sizes, nominated as nucleus hives, were from the times of all-wooden boxes of long ago.

Regards, RAB
 

RoofTops 

Queen Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
2,433
Reaction score
0
Location
Kingsbridge, South Devon
Hive Type
none
Number of Hives
0 - Now in beeless retirement!
I don't think there's a huge difference between 5 and 6 frame nucs although the latter gives more room for a frame feeder. Both are suitable for overwintering. At the other end of the scale I think 2 and 3 frame nucs are more about queen mating and early queen selection. Very soon they will need to move into either a larger nuc or a full size hive with a dummy board. These small nucs would also be trickier to get through the winter.

However, biggest restriction for most small scale beekeepers is the provision of enough frames to make up 5 or 6 frame nucs. Hence the popularity of mini-nucs as an alternative.
 

drstitson 

Queen Bee
Joined
Aug 4, 2010
Messages
7,657
Reaction score
0
Location
surrey, lincolnshire etc.
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
14
what'd be best would be a convenient 6 frame nuc that could take a frame feeder and be split in two with a divider for queen rearing.

anyone know of a supplier????
 

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
13,653
Reaction score
6
Location
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9 and 18 Nucs
6 frames for me. Makes a cracking nuc and as said above room for a frame feeder too.

Splitting a nuc for queen rearing has never worked for me and I won't waste my time and a valuable virgin trying it again.

All my nuc boxes are poly (of course)

PH
 
Top