I’m very excited about some new 6 frame nucs John at https://hillcobees.com/ was able to offer this spring that have a ton of great features and a VERY reasonable price. Sadly for you I don’t think he has any left…..we literally bought them all. He does have some 10 frame poly gear I plan on buying 5 of to try out. https://hillcobees.com/product/complete-polystyrene-hive-10-frame/
I’ve used some polystyrene 6 frame hives from another company and really like them but they were very very very proud ($$$) of them and the shipping made them unrealistic to have more than a few for our breeder queens.
The hives can fit 6 frames w/ some extra room or 5 frames and a feeder making them the perfect size to start packages in. You can read on a lot of forums the why people like poly nucs and hives but it comes down to cost, durability, and most importantly their insulative properties. I did some digging and found that a wooden nuc has an R-value (Capacity of insulating material to resist heat flow) of 1.21 compared to 6.5 for the thinner nuc and a whopping 7.9 for the much thicker hive. That’s a huge improvement over the basic woodenware. Having more insulative value makes it easier for the bees to cool and heat the hive. Doubling value cuts the heat loss by half. Here we are increasing the R value by a large margin.
The hives are also able to be run as two 3×3 nucs having entrances on both ends as well as a corrugated cardboard divider that fits tightly into nice slots. The hives have an optional feeder that has access to both sides of the 3×3.
My plan is to start my packages in these nucs and feed feed feed to hopefully have them build out very quickly. I’m going to start 20 packages so the hope is that in 5 weeks they will all be full of brood/bees that I can transfer to my honey production hives while having some surplus broods and bees to move to my mating yard and introduce virgins on the remaining bees and some open brood.
So far my only downside is the inability to add another 6 frame super on top. John just smiled and said he’s working on that for next year. The hive top feeders were also made just slightly too small so they have to be trimmed to be a good fit.
Here’s a nice picture of the divider feeder. They have nice plastic pieces to help keep the girls from drowning. The feeders also have removable plugs that should allow bees access to dry feed overwinter.