View Full Version : styrofoam
04-25-2006, 08:40 AM
Wondered if anyone has ever built stuff out of the styrofoam board (pink&blue stuff) that you get in 24" wide sheets and typically use to insulate foundations?It's pretty tough.
I have some that I've been thinking might make a pretty decent nuc box.
I thought I would rabbet/polyurethane glue corners,drill entrance holes,then stick a midget soffit vent in the back,and make a glued up foam telescopic cover?
It is 2" thick,so the lip that is left after cutting the frame rest would be 1 3/8" thick.
I have sawn the stuff on a table saw many times...not as pleasant as working with pine!
04-25-2006, 08:43 AM
I'm sure you could make it work. But why??
When I use Nucs insulation is not really a factor. In fact, I like the solar gain from my green Nuc's. Remember that insulation works both ways.
04-25-2006, 10:07 AM
They sure chew up the white styrofoam. I don't know how much they would chew up the pink stuff. It doess seem a bit more dense.
In speaking with Ray Oliverez in Ca. who uses the commerically available foam nuc boxes he raves about them. He bought several thousand of them. He indicates the nucs do much better. I run wood but I winter in SC. If I were doing nucs in the north I would definately try the styrofoam. I would be more likely to use the commerial product.
04-25-2006, 10:26 AM
The foam nuc boxes are much more dense than the regular styrofoam. It feels more like balsa wood than styrofoam.
04-25-2006, 11:38 AM
Are you talking about overwintering Nucs?? What is the advantage of insulation in the summertime?? Is it more uniform temps?
Anyone aware of any outgasing in closed cell foam?
It would certainly be easy to build them and cheap.
04-25-2006, 11:59 AM
I started thinking about the foam because I too have heard people say how great foam hives work,the downside being their fragile nature.
I figured that a nuc wouldn't be subject to the same kind of wear and tear.Also given their (hopefully) short term use.
I was mainly concerned about the frames rest being strong enough to withstand prying frames over and such.
And I'd be lying if I said that the fact that I could make them way cheaper than they charge had nothing to do with it.
04-25-2006, 01:40 PM
You could glue a section of 3/8" plywood on the interior of the short sides for frame rests.
04-25-2006, 02:12 PM
Yeah,I guess you could,or better yet 5/8".
But I thought I would need rabbet's for the ends,bottom and telescopic cover anyway,but your idea might be a stronger.
Honestly,I'm still just toying with the whole idea,and I'm still a little skeptical about a glued rabbet(or a glued butt joint)being able to hold up,and I know they are short term,but I would still like a few seasons out of them.
The other thing that I don't understand is one of the major bee eqiupment suppliers say's in their cataloge that some big Canadian beek overwinters thousands of nuc's (apparently by trucking them to a warmer climate)and (apparently)feeds by pumping syrup into the bottom ...Yuuum...to(apparently)make up for the lack of honey stores.
I have been curious about how that works,maybe I didn't understand correctly...
04-25-2006, 03:29 PM
When I say 3/8" I mean out from the sidewall not depth. 5/8" would yeild big frame rests. It would work as long as the interior dimensions are OK but why spend the $$$.
04-25-2006, 07:54 PM
I made a pair of polystyrene boxes the other day. From one 2x8 sheet I made two boxes and one migratory cover. The first box I tried with finger joints. I found it a little hard to make this type of joint with the poly but after it was glued up it will work. The second box I made with rabbet joints. It worked just fine. They were joined by gluing them together. For the frame rest, I glued metal stips for rest supports. For these all that was used was a bit of leftover metal corner bead that was used for drywalling. The boxes were primed and given two coats of paint. The cover is a migratory design and it has a 3/8 inch strip of poly glued around the outside edge. It also has a small entrance in it. I have posted a picture on our web page. I would like to give these a try as brood boxes up here. We wrap our hives as they spend about about 5 months in some tough winter conditions. These boxes would not take a lot of abuse but having them in a permanent yard might work out fine. Time will tell.
04-26-2006, 05:17 AM
Hey,I knew that,just beginning to have some of those "senior moments" I guess. :rolleyes:
Nice pics,them's some tall hives you got there!
That's just about what I am thinking.
I have been thinking that some foam follower boards to reduce a full brood box might be as good for my purpose(splits).
04-26-2006, 08:44 AM
I have made several mating nucs out of 4x8 sheets of 2-inch polystyrene. Actually, they are double, three-frame nucs. Floors and covers made with plywood or osb. Frame rests made of pine glued and set into the foam.
Corner joints are butt joints fastened with wood glue and reinforced with 3-inch deck screws. Not sure the screws are necessary but they help to hold the joints while the glue cures.
I paint the exterior and interior surfaces with latex paint. If you miss a spot on the inside, the bees will begin to tear the foam apart there.
Entrance and ventilation holes are 1 inch. In the ventilation holes, I use the round soffet plugs that you mentioned. I also glue them in place, on the inside. So far, none of them have been propolized.
The foam is a bit fragile and gets nicked up to some degree if you move them around. Since mine are used for gueen rearing, they get seasonal use only. Have not had trouble tearing them up through the use of a hive tool on the frames.
All in all, they work well . . . insulation helps with our summer heat and spring chills . . . material cost is inexpensive.
I think you should press on. ;)
04-26-2006, 08:59 AM
I like your site looks like those grandkids are getting into the bees.
I have also starting using the foam Nuc's http://www.betterbee.com/products.asp?dept=304 and they really help with heat conservation in the winter. Last winter was my first year to use them and I had a much better rate of overwintering in these. I also just pour in some syrup through the entrance unto the floor and do not have to worry about having a feeder.
All round I will keep using them as the hold up well.
05-08-2006, 12:29 PM
Any time I've used open syrup I've had a lot of them go swimming and they don't come genetically wired to swim ... lots of bodies in the syrup. I got a couple of these from Betterbee as well and have been afraid to use them because of the drowning aspect, and I have not yet modified them to put in an entrance feeder or something like that.
Did you find many drowned ones ??
05-08-2006, 01:03 PM
5-frame wintering nucs are quite common in Finland. We talk about "cellar hives". We keep them over winter in places which are +5C or near 0C.
During 3 winters I have had experiment where I had 2 frames of bees and 3 W electrict heating over winter. HIves had been in firewood shelter. It works well.
Last summer I made 20 mating nucs. I splitted with circular saw styrofoam box into 3 parts. Then I made missing wall from polyuretane construction board and clued with polyuretane clue. You must give a little bit moisture to surfaces what you clue.
Constructuion board is soft and ants will shew tunnels in it, but you paint outer surfaces with latex .
We have 5-frame styrofoam boxes but they are expencive.
Nucs needs insulating walls so they may keep their brood temperature inside 32C. At least in spring warm walls are very usefull.
05-09-2006, 01:21 PM
how thick is the eps you use? i have a pile of sheets of it in my basement left over from insulating my roof....its 1 1/4" thick.
05-11-2006, 04:02 PM
I was thinking I'd use 2" thick.
Thanks everyone,I am still going to try this idea sometime,but decided to make wood follower boards,with foam "followers" behind them,in a deep brood chamber this year,just too much stuff going on...