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Nuc box design

     photo P. Armitagephoto P. ArmitageThis approach in heavily inspired by Gerard Smith's design for a five frame nuc box.  The main changes are: (1) my vent boxes are not as deep (mine are 5 3/4"); (2) the nuc boxes proper are a bit taller (11 1/2") to accommodate queen cells at the bottom of frames; and (3) I put an upper entrance in the inner cover with a toggle door. See diagram with dimensions and photos below.

The vent box provides both ventilation and protection for a feeder.  I can squeeze a circular Rapid Feeder into the vent box but not the feeder's cover.  This is a minor problem if you have a lot of ants around and they find a way into the box.

You keep the toggle door shut until the colony builds in size.  Also, the vent box can be flipped so that the hole is not covered by the outer cover, when your nucleus colony builds to the point where it can fully thermoregulate despite cold ambient temperatures outside the box.

Don't forget to strap the nuc box securely to a hive stand, pallet, etc.



 photo P. Armitagephoto P. Armitage


There are four components to this nuc box - the brood nest box (5 frames), an inner cover, a vent box, and outer cover. The outer cover is covered with sheet metal.



Note how the top of the ends of the nuc box have been routed to accommodate five Langstroth frames. The sides and bottom of the nuc box proper are 3/4" plywood. The sides of the vent box and outer cover are 3/4" pine. The horizontal surfaces of the inner and outer covers are 3/8" plywood. The ends of the nuc box proper are 1" pine. I purchase quality, clear pine from Swyers in Bonavista and plane it to the desired thickness.


photo P. Armitagephoto P. Armitage


Inner cover showing location of feeding hole and screened vent hole. You screen the feeding hole when the colony is not being fed.


  A toggle door is used to open or close the top entrance.

  photo P. Armitagephoto P. Armitage


Vent box with Rapid Feeder. Note location of screened vent holes.  Note also that the "after market" rapid feeders sold through Amazon are stiffer and will not fit inside a small vent box with these dimensions. Furthermore, these Amazon feeders have cups that don't always snap properly onto the floor of the feeder, which results in bees getting into the syrup (a problem!).  E.H. Thorne in the U.K. sells what appears to be the genuine version of this feeder. In any event, in future versions, I will increase the width of the vent box by about 1/8" to better accommodate the feeder, while ensuring that it still fits properly on top of the inner cover.