Busy beeks are always metaling

A quick post about a small project this past weekend. If you are following along, you know I am interested in making some nucleus colonies this spring, or nucs for short. Our local beekeeping club (PWRBA) coordinates sales for new beekeepers and this should be a good way to help prevent swarming in my existing hives.

One problem for me is that the standard wax cardboard nuc box is only available for deep frames, while I am trying to move to medium frames. So I kind of want to fit medium frames into a deep nuc box. I found a solution this weekend.

Most beekeepers around here produce deep nucs, so if I am going to sell nucs it seems like having mediums might be a good option. Either mediums or top bar nucs, perhaps.

I found an old post on beesource.com with a suggestion by the user “enjambres” to reduce a deep box into a medium. On this advice, I cut some foam insulation to fit the bottom of a nuc box.

170115b-med-boxA deep frame is almost 3 inches longer than a medium frame., so I cut two 1 inch pieces of foam insulation and one 3/4 inch piece to fit the bottom of the box. I had both sizes from insulating the top of my hives for winter.

From our local Lowe’s I purchased some foil tape to wrap it up. Bees do not like the feel of duct tape, and will bite or otherwise pick at the foam and most other types of tape. The foil tape is basically aluminum foil with an adhesive backing so it works well.

When I was finished I had a metal covered block to fit in the bottom of a deep nuc and turn it into a medium nuc. Pretty cool.

Med Nuc

The finished box sitting next to a waxed cardboard deep nuc box. (c) Erik Brown

If I did this again, I would probably cut the pieces a little looser and use three 1-inch pieces. The 2.75 inch box I made is a little tight and might leave some space beneath the frames where the bees might build a little comb.

With a table saw you could probably cut the right size boards and just nail them together more cheaply and easily. Of course, you’d have to make a lid as well, and I don’t have a table saw in any case. So I’m just thinking out loud here.

I’ll probably make one or two more of these just to have them on hand.

Busy folks are always meddling

My various books were hard pressed to give up a quote or proverb with a fitting word for this post: nothing under nuke, box, medium, or metal. I finally thought of the word meddle and found this one in my Facts of File Proverbs book. Apparently busy people have a tendency to get involved in the affairs of others, which may indeed be true. According to this reference, the proverb was first recorded in 1721 by James Kelley in the book A Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs.

The term beek is used as a short form of beekeeper, and beekeepers by their very nature often meddle. I suspect busy beekeepers meddle the most, and may perhaps use some form of metal when they do so.

May you prosper and find honey.

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