Mini-Nucleus Hive




A Mini-Nucleus Hive is used in the production of queen breeding. Since they normally contain three deep-frames that are half the length of a normal deep-frame, the mini-NUC uses less resources than other queen breeding hives.

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Step 1: Tools and Materials


  • Air Compressor
  • Brad Nailer
  • Claw Hammer
  • Nail Set
  • Clamps
  • Table Saw
  • Compound Mitering Saw
  • Band Saw
  • Square
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil


  • 3/4" Plywood
  • 3/4" Lumber
  • Exterior Grade Latex Primer
  • Exterior Grade Latex Paint
  • Flashing


  • 1/4" 18 Ga. Brad Nails
  • Exterior Grade Wood Glue

Step 2: Parts of a Mini-Nucleus Hive

The mini-NUC is made up of a bottom board, NUC body, x3 half-frames, and a migratory cover.

Step 3: Bottom Board

The bottom board is 12" x 6 3/8" x 2 1/8".

In order to form the sides and the back on this bottom board, 3/4" x 3/4" stock was cut to length to fit around the top edges of the platform on three sides.

3/4" x 5/8" stock was cut to length to fit around the bottom edges of the platform on all four sides.

The sides and back were attached to the platform with brad nails and exterior grade wood glue. However, a tongue and groove joint would be a preferred option for joining the back and sides to the platform.

All pieces were cut to length with a compound mitering saw and ripped to width on a table saw.

Step 4: Mini-Nucleus Hive Body

The hive-body, or brood chamber, has two short sides and two long sides to form the box.

The short sides are 6 3/8" x 9 1/2".

In order to join the short sides to the long sides, the short sides of the box have 3/8" x 3/4" rabbets on two edges.

There is a 3/8" x 5/8" rabbet on the top edge of both short side pieces for the frames to rest on.

The long sides are 10 3/8" x 9 1/2".

Cut and rip the material for the hive body on a table saw.

On this hive body, exterior grade wood glue and brad nails were used to join the box together.

Step 5: Frames With Wedge Top and And Split Bottom

A frame consists of a top bar, two end bars, and a bottom bar.

The top bar is 9 1/2" x 1" x 3/4" and has a rabbet on both ends. Cut the top bar to length on a compound mitering saw. Rip the width of the top bar on a table saw. Rabbet the ends of the top bar using a table saw. Rip a groove for the foundation to be inserted into. You may also need to rip out a section of the groove to form a wedge cleat if your foundation uses crimped wire.

The end bars are made with 9 1/8" x 1 1/4" x 5/16" stock. Cut a groove on the tops of these pieces for the top bar to fit into and a groove/s on the bottom of these pieces for the bottom bar to fit into. Some material was removed from the sides of the end bar to make it narrower on the bottom portion. Cut the end bars to length with a compound mitering saw. Rip the the end bars to width and thickness on a table saw. Groove the top and bottom of the end bars on a table saw.

The bottom bar of these frames consists of two pieces of equal dimension. Each piece measures 8 3/8" x 5/16" x 3/8". The most efficient and safest way to rip the two pieces of the bottom bar is on a band saw.

Frames were joined with exterior grade wood glue and brad nails.

Step 6: Migratory Cover

The migratory cover, or lid, is made with 3/4" stock and measures 13" x 6 3/8". It has a cleat on both ends that measure 2 1/4" x 6 3/8" and is also made with 3/4" stock.

All the pieces of the lid were cut to length on a compound mitering saw and ripped to width on a table saw.

The cleats were fastened to the lid with exterior grade wood glue and brad nails.

Step 7: Finishing

Sand all of the external components of the mini-NUC. Be sure to soften the edges to prevent splintering.

Set all of the nail heads with a nail set.

Fill in all of the defects of the materials with an exterior grade wood putty.

Prime all of these components with an exterior grade latex primer.

Paint these components with an exterior grade latex paint.

Fasten a piece of metal flashing to the top side of the lid.

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    6 Discussions


    2 years ago

    That's about the prettiest hive I've ever seen. Great instructions too

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks Markk7, I made it completely out of scrap materials. The only materials I had to purchase for this project was the putty, primer, and paint. Even the flashing was recycled.


    2 years ago

    I wish we owned our place and I could have a hive with manuka bushes around it. ^.^ Fresh honey is awesome!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    I'm not familiar with Manuka, but Tulip Poplar is the main honey flow here. Lucky for beekeepers, honey never expires. Honey is awesome!


    2 years ago

    Thanks can I use the same process but bigger dimensions to make a full hive?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Yes, the important part is the inside dimensions. Make sure to maintain "bee space" which is about 3/8 of an inch.