Making a nucleus hive from a broccoli box

One of the challenges when collecting swarms is providing a cost effective way to both capture and store the swarm before it is re-homed. There are several commercial solutions available, but we have found a humble broccoli box is the perfect solution.

Using items available in your garden shed, this tutorial provides steps to convert a basic broccoli box into a 'King Bee Nuc Hive', the perfect temporary accomodation for transient bees. This box can also be used as a bait hive or to transport frames between hives or apiary sites.

First you will need a polystyrene box that is colloquially known as a 'broccoli box' in most parts of Australia. These will be available in excess from your local fresh fruit and vegetable market

You will also need some bambo offcuts from tomato stakes or equivalent thickness sticks and a small section of fly screen (fly wire)

A roll of cloth tape is used to hold everything together

Using a knife cut a large ventilation hole in one end of the box

Remove the polystyrene from the hole and keep to the side for a later step

Using the cloth tape secure the fly screen over the ventilation hole

Continue the cloth tape around the border of the fly screen to completely cover and seal the edges of the ventilation hole

Insert one of the bamboo sticks into the side of the box approximately 25mm (1 inch) from the top of the box

Push the bamboo stick all the way through the box and out the other side. This stick will provide a rest for the Langstroth frames

Using secateurs or scissors, cut the bamboo stick so it is flush with the box. Cutting the stick flush ensures the boxes can pack tightly together

With two offcuts of cloth tape, secure the bamboo stick on each side of the box

Rest a standard Langstroth frame on the bamboo stick inside the box. Using the frame at this step saves the effort of measuring correctly

Insert a bamboo stick at the other end of the box ensuring it is level and supports the Langstoth frame under the frame end

Repeat the step of covering the second bamboo stick to secure it into place

Insert additional Langstroth frames to fill the box. Providing surface area for swarms to cling to is suggested over foundationless frames

A broccoli box will comfortably hold six Langstroth frames which is adequate for all but the largest swarms

Using the polystyrene cut from the ventilation hole, cut smaller strips to secure the frames in place for transportation

Cut four strips of cloth tape to create 'hinges' for the lid of the box

The lid can be hinged open to capture the swarm and then secured again using the cloth tape when closed

On the opposite end of the box to the ventliation hole, cut a rectangle into the end of the box using a knife

The cut out creates an entrance and the removed section of polystyrene can be rotated downward to create a landing platform

Finally, secure the entrance with a piece of cloth tape. This tape can be used after swarm capture to secure the 'door' in the closed position