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  1. #1

    Default Experiences with polystyrene hives?

    Does anyone have experience with this kind of hives? I have just got the idea of making polystyrene hives, like this guy does
    http://www.pcelinjak.com/content/view/899/186/

    http://www.pcelarstvo-nahl.com/forum...pic.php?pid=36


    Easier to get here than wood and almost no tools needed except hot wire cutter which can be easily made.
    What would be the bad sides of this?

    Thanks
    "Do nothing. Time is too precious to waste." Buddha

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Concord NH
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    Does anyone have experience with this kind of hives? I have just got the idea of making polystyrene hives, like this guy does
    http://www.pcelinjak.com/content/view/899/186/

    http://www.pcelarstvo-nahl.com/forum...pic.php?pid=36


    Easier to get here than wood and almost no tools needed except hot wire cutter which can be easily made.
    What would be the bad sides of this?

    Thanks
    I use commercially made polystyrene for my brood boxes/overwintering boxes and my bees seem to be doing very well in them. The reasoning is due to the cold/moisture management here in Central NH....its pretty cold (-24f a few weeks back) and very moist.....a tough combination.

    I do however use wooden supers because they are ultimately cheaper for me.
    Milk Cows Not Taxpayers

  3. #3

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    How thick are your boxes and is it complicated (does it cause damage) to pry the boxes from each other because of propolis? How about taking frames from the boxes when heavily glued with propolis?
    How long do they last, boxes I mean?

    Cheers
    "Do nothing. Time is too precious to waste." Buddha

  4. #4
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    Concord NH
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    How thick are your boxes and is it complicated (does it cause damage) to pry the boxes from each other because of propolis? How about taking frames from the boxes when heavily glued with propolis?
    How long do they last, boxes I mean?

    Cheers
    The ones I have walls that are ~1.5 Inches thick.

    They are avail here in the USA from places like Betterbee.

    I have not had to do a whole lot of prying but the one time I did, I was careful to drive my hive tool far enough in to break the propolis in each corner of the hive body. Through my carelessness I ended up leaving a shallow dent in the outside corner of one but did no damage to the hive body itself that would prevent me from continueing to use it or shorten its lifespan.

    I personally have noticed that the bees don't seem to make an effort to propolize (sp) the polystyrene the way that they would a wooden hive body. That may be in part because the hive bodies are much more uniform than most wooden hives and fit together MUCH better when stacked...ie there are effectively no gaps for the bees to fill.

    You definately should not expect the same lifespan out of a Polystyrene Hive Body if you are rough on them....they will not hold up to kicking, dropping and rough use as well as most wooden ones will but as long as I am careful, paint them well to prevent UV Decay I expect mine to last many many years.
    Milk Cows Not Taxpayers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, USA
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    I also use the Beemax brand of polystyrene that is available in the US. They are made of a very dense polystyrene and they are molded with very tight fitting dove-tail joints. They also come with a hard plastic frame rest. These cause the frame to be sitting on the narrow edge (< 1/16" thick) of a piece of plastic instead of flat on a polystyrene surface. This makes the frames easier to remove and manipulate in my opinion. Depending on how strudy your polystyrene is you may want to use a metal or plastic frame rest.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sabinsville, PA, USA
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    We've been using the Beemax hives for about six years and we're very happy with them. The oldest ones still look as good as when we bought them. From what we've seen so far we expect them t last a long time. I make sure to keep them painted, too. We don't slam them around but they aren't all that delicate, either --- they are quite sturdy. We haven't damaged any with our hive tools. They are quite thick and our bees come through the winters just fine and we don't need to do anything toward insulation. We're in northcentral PA and it gets quite cold here in the winter. We do use wooden supers because, for the time being, we are having our honey extracted by someone else and we transport and leave our supers there.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Washington Island, Wi
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    This is my fourth year with using the the Beemax hives and I really only did damage to one deep. That was my fault as I hadn't checked that particular hive in quite some time during the summer months - the frames from the 1st deep were connected to the 2nd in the brood chamber - I pryed too hard and squished a corner on the 1st deep - it didn't get wrecked and it's still in use.

    I love the styro - and would recommend them to anyone in the north with bees as a hobby. I run 12+ hives, you do have to be more careful with them than wood boxes and they probably aren't practical for commercial beekeeps - especially being moved around a lot for pollination.

    The bees don't use as much energy (honey) in the summer to keep cool and they definately use less to stay warm in the winter. They don't propolize as much as JPK1NH mentioned before and they are more stable and light when you start stacking those supers on.

    I would at least use the beemax as the brood chamber and will mostly avoid woodenware if possible.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Goochland, Virginia, USA
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    Do you have to take special steps to ventillate the Beemax hives?

  9. #9
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    May 2008
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    Concord NH
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvaST-B View Post
    Do you have to take special steps to ventillate the Beemax hives?
    I have not but I also have an extra medium on top of 2 deeps with paper on top of the frames so I can add sugar/pollen patty as needed just by lifting the lid and pouring. I had added top entrances/spacers at one point but yanked them a while back because they did not fit well.

    SBB's wide open and I closed off most of the entrance.

    I figure that our weather is about as inhospitable to bees as it gets with temps down into the mid -20's and high humidity.
    Milk Cows Not Taxpayers

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    I found them difficult to scrap clean of propolis, and did not respond well to the AFB scorching.(he he he)


    Roland

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Grafton, NY, USA
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    190

    Default This year I tacked on polystyrene insulation boards to my wooden hives.

    I am hoping that this will help insulate them a bit from the cold.

    I will take the insulation off when the temps stay above freezing or when I need to examine the brood boxes, whichever comes first.

    So far it appears to be working. Two of my 3 hives are still alive.

    Note: The one that died out appeared suicidal. It swarmed in mid-September and never truly recovered. I fed it sugar water into the Fall but apparently it still needed extra feed. I had left the styrofam feeder on and apparently they moved up into it and died. Maybe if I tried the supplemental dry sugar feeding they may have survived, who knows.... I'm still pretty green and still learning through making mistakes.

    I am just hoping that the 2 hives survive through into Spring. So far so good, but we still have a couple months to go here in upstate NY before Spring truly arrives. I will have to wait & see.

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