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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Building a Nuc for Potential Swarm Collection

Yesterday in a moment of risk-taking, I emailed Cindy Bee, a Metro Atlanta Beekeepers member, who keeps a swarm list of people willing to go get swarms. There's not much chance that I'll be asked to get a swarm, as you'll soon see. Her questions to me were:

1. How far are you willing to travel?
2. How high are you willing to climb?
3. How available are you?
4. Do you have a cell phone?

I told her
1. I would go just about anywhere within the limits of time, but that within 5 or 6 miles of my home would be preferable.
2. I only have a normal ladder such as one would use to paint a room and couldn't plan to climb any higher than that.
3. I work full time and am only really available on the weekends
4. YES, I do have a cell phone (the only answer without qualification).

So you can see that there are probably many people who have better answers to those questions and would be able to go before I could to capture a swarm.

But with ongoing hope for the future, I decided to build a nuc to get ready for the possibility (and I may be glad for it when I decide to split a hive or find queen cells). Here are the pieces of the nuc as it comes from Dadant. All other boxes I have ordered have dado cuts along the edges making it perfectly easy to fit the sides together. You can see that these pieces are, but for the cut handholds, simply pieces of wood. The directions were pictures with arrows and that was that.

My father can build anything. He has a well-equipped workshop, including things like a metal lathe, drill press, etc. When I was a child, I was allowed to watch while he worked in the workshop, but didn't get any hands-on experience. Consequently, how you hold two boards together in a steady firm fashion while pounding a nail into a corner was not part of my training. Putting together the bottom was fairly easy. I only bent one nail.

The whole event took more concentration than I expected. I was planning to watch a movie while putting it together, but ended up doing my construction while listening to music instead!

The next exercise of hammering the sides onto each other with no way to hold them steady was a challenge. I tried to nail the two corners and then fill in the other nails.

I managed to finish the nuc. It's not as perfect as the usual Dadant box, I'm sure because of my poor nailing ability, but it will do. I plan today to get flat-headed wood screws the length of the nails provided to screw the bottom to the nuc box (it is currently unconnected). If I were to take a box to collect a swarm, it would need to have a connected bottom. I am also going to set up a deep with a screwed on bottom. Now that I am converting to medium boxes, I may as well use a leftover deep box for a good purpose, like my fantasy of collecting a swarm.

I am not going to paint this nuc because I am so unlikely to be called to get a swarm that this box may well go unused.
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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:30 PM

    Wow Linda (aka Tillie on Beemaster?) you are becoming my hero. I had thought about buy equipment to put together but figured it was easier to buy it already together. Now that I see you are doing it I will try. My husband can always give me a hand in emergencies.

    I also am considering moving down to all mediums and all 8-frame boxes. I have about 20 shallow supers tho, mostly undrawn, which I will sell or give to my bee club members.

    Anyway, thanks for leading the way! Lauren


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