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06. The 'BRITISH NATIONAL' 6 1/2-FRAME NUCLEUS BOX.

 

So why on Earth a six-and-a-half-frame nucleus box ?

Well - the internal width of a 5-frame nucleus box is 5 frames, and the internal width of a 3-frame nuc box is 3 frames. This box contains 6 frames and an internal divider - which stays permanently within the box - hence I call it 'a six-and-a-half-frame nucleus box' which can either be run as a 6-frame box (with the divider to one side):

1x6_nuc

 

... or as a dual 3-frame box, with the divider positioned centrally:

2x3_nuc

 

The box has two entrances at either end, and divided crown boards:

6f-crown_boards

 

... and a telescopic cover which fits on top:

6f-roof

 

Over the years, this design has had a feeder shell added, as well as magnetically-attached anti-robbing screens:

mag_ar

 

morph_1

 

So - is/was this design of nucleus box any good ?

My intention was to design a 'dual-use' box, suitable both for use as a mating-nuc, and one which could also be used for building-up a nucleus colony. In due course eight of these boxes were constructed and, despite them still being employed today, I can't recommend this type of design - for, after a couple of season's use - several deficiences became apparent.

a) the box sides were made from 11mm plywood which, although adequate for summer use, these rendered small colonies vulnerable on those chilly nights which can sometimes occur during early spring.

b) the making of grooves in box walls to accomodate a fixed-position divider is a much easier method of installing dividers within a parallel-sided box, than the making of precision-fit dividers as done here.

c) variable-position dividers which make contact with the underside of crown boards are a desirable method of division within Long Hives, where variable division is an essential requirement, but far less so with nucleus boxes where a fixed-position divider, rising just above the top of crown boards provides a much simpler and less exacting method of sealing.

d) generally speaking, it is far easier to extract bees from multiple single boxes, than from a divided box.

e) finally, boxes such as these - with footprints which are not a simple divisor of larger boxes - can only be used in stand-alone mode, without any secondary use. This is in marked contrast to the far more flexible 5-frame nuc box, as shown here:

2-up

 

 

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