Latest little beekeeping equipment project is a “double nucleus” hive box.

'blue' end of double nucleus hive box

The objective is to have a simple way to make up small new colonies (in particular to get queens mated). Sharing the one box means the colonies share heat across the partition. Apparently they also are a bit easier to unite if one of the queens fails to mate for some reason, as they’re familiar with one anothers’ smell.

All I did was split one of my 8-frame Rose hive boxes with a 9mm board - a little finicky to make a tight fit and fill in gaps, but fun work. There’s a little play in the boxes (because I wanted an even 320mm external dimension) so 4 frames still fit - snugly - either side of the partition.

I drilled out the entrance holes, and I put a 6mm “lift” on top of the box with strip wood - my boxes are bottom-spaced so the usual inner covers that I build have a 6mm lift on the bottom (to provide space over the frame top bars). I wanted the lift fixed in this case, so I can just use a flat board for a cover. Probably I’ll split that and give it a duct tape hinge.

'yellow' end of double nucleus hive box

The patterning at each end is just to help the bees distinguish. Orientation of the box should be enough, but a little extra help is no harm. Karl von Frisch showed that bees can distinguish blue/yellow patterns like this.

I’ll probably try the box out later in the season - I’d like to try hatching, mating and maybe even overwintering a couple of queens in it.