How To Build A Quick 5-Frame Beehive Nuc Box

by Texas Homesteader ~

Spring is an exciting time in beekeeping. The bees are finally able to get out of the hive & forage from the blooming plants.

The number of hives grow by leaps and bounds this time of year too. It’s a good time to split the colonies to keep them from becoming too crowded.

But spring is also a time when some colonies will swarm. Sometimes when we capture a swarm we put the bees into an empty deep hive box with frames and let them get busy.

But sometimes so many swarms are caught that we don’t have a deep hive box available.

Let’s make some 5-frame nuc boxes for temporary housing for them. They’re super quick to put together & you can build four nuc boxes with a single sheet of plywood!

We needed temporary housing for a swarm of bees we caught. We can quickly build FOUR 5-frame nuc boxes from a single piece of plywood. #TexasHomesteader

(Note: Some links in this post are for further information from earlier posts I’ve written. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click them and buy something (almost anything, not just the item noted) I could receive a tiny commission. But the price you pay will NOT change. It’s an easy way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket. So click often! Thank you!)

It’s a bad thing to see a swarm but have to let the opportunity pass you by because you have no boxes in which to place them. So these little 5-frame nuc boxes will be handy to have ready and waiting for times when they might be needed.

We didn’t have any extra waxed foundation frames to fill our new 5-fram nuc boxes. So we first bought Deep Beehive Frames to fill them when they were built. And we also purchased a 4×8 sheet of 1/2″ plywood.

Now let’s get started building those little nuc boxes!

Materials Needed

Each completed nuc box will hold five full-sized frames.  And a single 4×8 sheet of 1/2″ plywood will make 4 complete five-frame nuc boxes.

  • 4×8 Sheet of 1/2″ Plywood
  • Skillsaw
  • Measuring Tape
  • Marking Pencil
  • Framing Square
  • Air-Powered Trim Nailer / Stapler
  • Paint

The cuts were all basic and accomplished quickly using just a skillsaw. (Plans to build these nuc boxes were found online at BeeSource.com)

We needed temporary housing for a swarm of bees we caught. We can quickly build FOUR 5-frame nuc boxes from a single piece of plywood. #TexasHomesteader

Measure & Cut Pieces

For each nuc box we marked off and cut:

  • Two 10-1/4″ by 19-1/8″ pieces for the sides,
  • Two 7-1/2 by 9-1/2″ pieces for the front & back.
  • One 9″ by 22″ piece for the top.
  • One 8-1/2″ by 20″ piece for the bottom to allow for a landing board for the bees.
  • Two 8-1/2″ by 2″ pieces for cleats to hold the frames inside
  • Two 3/4″ by 8-1/2″ cleat pieces to finish the lid.

So a single sheet of plywood would be cut up as follows to make four nuc boxes:

Plywood diagram. We needed temporary housing for a swarm of bees we caught. We can quickly build FOUR 5-frame nuc boxes from a single piece of plywood. #TexasHomesteader

Talk about efficient use of the whole sheet of plywood! There’s precious little that’s wasted in cutting up that sheet of plywood. And I love that.

Each nuc box only has these few pieces to assemble:

We needed temporary housing for a swarm of bees we caught. We can quickly build FOUR 5-frame nuc boxes from a single piece of plywood. #TexasHomesteader

Drill An Entrance Hole In The Front

RancherMan decided to simplify the cuts for the front piece that has an entrance space for the bees to enter.

Instead of the more precise cut which allowed an entrance hole on that piece, he just cut the front piece into a straight rectangle instead. But he had a plan.

After all pieces were marked & cut RancherMan drilled a small 3/4″ hole for the bees entrance into the front of the box.

Assembling The Nuc Boxes

Now it’s finally time to start assembling our nuc boxes.

We added a hearty bead of wood glue to the edges before attaching the boards securely with 1″ x 1/4″ staples. That glue will help to keep everything sturdy in the years to come.

There now, let’s stand back & see how it looks…  Yeah, I like it!

We needed temporary housing for a swarm of bees we caught. We can quickly build FOUR 5-frame nuc boxes from a single piece of plywood. #TexasHomesteader

These little 5-frame nuc boxes are handy to have ready and waiting for times when you need a small box to hold a smaller amount of bees.

I mean, sometimes you’ll look out your window and BOOM! There will be a big ball of bees that have swarmed. It’s a good opportunity to capture the swarm and increase the number of honeybee colonies in your apiary.

The size of the hive box we use depends upon the number of bees in the swarm.

If the honeybee swarm is very large, RancherMan & I will put them into a waiting 10-frame deep hive. Then we’ll just place them on one of the beehive stands in our apiary along with the others.

But for a smaller swarm it makes more sense to put the captured swarm into a smaller box with fewer frames. That’s when these little nuc boxes really shine!

Once the colony gets more established and needs more room we’ll move them to a larger 10-frame deep hive box then.

We’ll probably build more nuc boxes and have them ready for any additional swarms we catch. I’m thankful that the boxes are easy and inexpensive to make. Give it a try!

~TxH~

BEEKEEPING SERIES:

…And MUCH More!

See All Our Beekeeping Posts

C’mon by & sit a spell!  Come hang out at our Facebook Page . It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea.  There are lots of good folks sharing!  And you can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram

If you’d like to receive an email when a new blog post goes live,
subscribe to our Blog!

Spread the love

5 thoughts on “How To Build A Quick 5-Frame Beehive Nuc Box

  1. Laszlo

    I like the nuc box article one thing I have done with my boxe/swarm traps is will use an old mason jar lid with holes drilled in with with a wood screw to use as entrance cover for moving it – just slide over hole and off to side when open

    Reply
  2. Philip D

    Thanks so much for putting this together. I used a 1/4 sheet of plywood and made a nice 5-frame nuc using your plans. I really appreciate it. Cheers from San Diego!

    Reply
  3. Chris P

    Thanks for the plans – much simpler than many I’ve seen. How big are you cutting the bottom bee entrance to box? Neither the plans or blog mention that. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      It’s really hard to see because that part’s wedged between two photos, Chris. Maybe I need to reformat some things to keep it from getting lost in the post, thanks for bringing it to my attention. But to answer your question it’s a 3/4″ hole for the bee’s entrance. ~TxH~

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Please enter the Biggest Number

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.