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Poly Nucs

A critical look at Payne's and Maisemore's polynucs

This page has not been written for any reason other than to offer the beekeeper a critical look at both Payne's and Maisemore polynucs, based on my experience of them up until October 2015. There are other designs, but these two are those most commonly used.

At the Wisborough Green BKA teaching apiary we run 20-30 nucs during the summer, mainly for queen rearing, so the nucs are constantly handled and the boxes probably get much more use than the ordinary beekeeper will give them. Any nuc's that I consider to be strong enough, or weaker ones with a good queen, we will try to overwinter, so the boxes must be suitable for permanent exposure to the elements.

When Payne's polynucs appeared, they looked remarkably like those supplied by a company that is no longer in business. I had a good look at them and although there were a few features I didn't like, I thought they were good value, so we bought 6 for use in the teaching apiary. We used them for 2-3 years, during which time I found what I considered to be some rather annoying features.

Maisemore Apiaries introduced a new design about the end of 2014, which overcame some of the problems I saw with Payne's polynucs, but they managed to retain some of the features I disliked. We bought 6 of these too, so what I write here is based on a full season's use. Of course I accept that others may disagree, but I'm telling you my views and reasons for them.

With experience in the teaching apiary, where we use several different nuc boxes, other beekeepers and my own bees, I get the opportunity to compare different things. There are benefits to polynucs, but overall I still find well designed and well made wooden nuc boxes vastly superior to polynucs for my purposes. My own design of nuc box has proved to be very satisfactory for what I use them for.

What I like about Payne's and Maisemore polynucs:-

Now what I don't like:-

I know that beekeepers have different ideas and they favour what suits them, but although I use Payne's and Maisemore polynucs and will continue to do so, I probably wouldn't buy any more until many of what I see as problems are addressed. As an engineer I don't see many of the suggestions as being difficult to achieve.

For a nuc box, I think it is better to have top bee space, because you just need a flat piece of plywood for a crownboard.

I see a lot of these polynucs, but very few are painted. I think this is a big mistake, as they will last much longer if they were. Many have obvious degradation of the surfaces, telling me they won't last long. Many of my wooden nuc boxes are in excess of 20 years old and even after quite a hard life, they are still in very good condition.

Some of the issues I have mentioned can partly be overcome. I suggest the following may help:-

In writing the above I have tried to be helpful. If either supplier wishes to ask me I am happy to speak to them. It is certainly not my intention to discourage beekeepers from buying or using either type, as there are benefits. These are simply my views of them after giving them a fair trial, but bear in mind they have probably had heavier use than many beekeepers will give them.

If you have found ways of overcoming any of the issues I have raised please Email me and if I think the comment useful I will include it here.

Roger Patterson.