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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    irondale, MO, USA
    Posts
    30

    Default styrofoam hives ?

    Looking for info from people using styrofoam hives have you had any moisture problems overwintering with them? My plan is to build 4 5 frame nucs in one long styrofoam box using it to mate queens in over the summer then last round of queens over wintering for next spring.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ballard County, KY
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: styrofoam hives ?

    I've always had an interest in styrofoam for hives primarily due to the insulation factor of the material. I noticed at Lowes some of the 2" stuff has like an R-7.8 value for insulation, it would be easy to cut with a knife but I'm not too sure how well the stuff glues together. Venilation is a major concern and from past posts looks like the bees eat the stuff up and carry it away.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ight=styrofoam

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Default Re: styrofoam hives ?

    I know a guy who has a couple. They work fine for him.

    But like the last poster said, most of the stuff you can get is fairly weak structurally. The hives are built from really dense material, or at least has been finished with a pretty tough surface.

    I built a similar long setup from wood.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Montgomery, Tx
    Posts
    162

    Default Re: styrofoam hives ?

    I have several styrofoam hives that I bought off a guy. Two had bees, two were dead-outs, and I got a bunch of supers. The bees didn't seem to tear apart the styrofoam because it was molded - meaning that all of the exposed styrofoam was kind of hard like the walls on a cheap styrofoam cooler. I can see if the styrofoam was rough (like on a broken edge) they would probably pull it apart. The major problem I had with it was that wax moth larva dug holes into it from the inside - almost like termites in rotting wood. The hives that were dead-outs had to be burned, I couldn't clean out all of the larva in all of the holes. Also the two hives that were alive, after I moved them to my bee yard, were overcome with hive beetles within a week. I tried to start two new hives in them and they were again taken over by hive beetles. At the top of each box there is a metal ledge that clips in. The design of the ledge allowed a gap for hive beetles to hide. Every time I opened the hive, that ledge was loaded full of beetles. When I moved the bees to a wooden hive, they survived. So, my experience with styrofoam hives was not a good one.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Whitewater, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: styrofoam hives ?

    Quote Originally Posted by timgoodin View Post
    I noticed at Lowes some of the 2" stuff has like an R-7.8 value for insulation, it would be easy to cut with a knife but I'm not too sure how well the stuff glues together.
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ight=styrofoam
    I bought some of the big sheets of the pink insulation board and cut exact size matches for all 4 sides of the hive. It is really easy and you can tape them to the hives and remove in the spring.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    irondale, MO, USA
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: styrofoam hives ?

    Thanks all my plan is to take 3/8 green board (the dense styrofoam) glued to the inside of 1 in white styrofoam for the frames to set on that way I would have the dense foam inside the hive and would paint the outside with sum latex paint still working on the bottom whether to use wood or styrofoam either way it will be partially screened for ventilation with a upper entrance.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Carlsford, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: styrofoam hives ?

    A while back I asked Owens Corning if their Foamular® Extruded Polystyrene Insulation can be painted and if so what type of paint should be used. Their response said Foamular® can be painted with water based or latex based paint. They also said paint will stick to Foamular®, but painting is not an appropriate protection against UV rays.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Lovell, WY, USA
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: styrofoam hives ?

    I started my two hives in styrofoam hives 2 years ago. I got them because I thought the extra insulation would be better. I have since realized that everybody else in my area uses wooden hives without any problems. There have been no moisture problems. I think I would prefer wooden hives though. It's jsut easier to get extra parts that all fit together with wooden hives.

    I have only purchased wooden supers which I put on top of the styrofoam hive bodies. The bees don't seem to mind but it does make the hives look kind of funny from the outside.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ballard County, KY
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: styrofoam hives ?

    Quote Originally Posted by beginnerhives View Post
    I bought some of the big sheets of the pink insulation board and cut exact size matches for all 4 sides of the hive. It is really easy and you can tape them to the hives and remove in the spring.
    I thought of that last fall. My only reason for wanting to do this is hopefully a couple weeks faster buildup in the spring. We can survive an average winter fine with wood here in west KY. I don't even close my screened bottom boards up in the winter, but with 70 some days and 20 in the night I thought it might average the temp out some inside. That one extra brood cycle in the late winter/early spring might be ideal for large buildup and early nectar storage.

    beginnerhives, did you see early spring buildup in the insulated hives?

    Tim

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    710

    Default Re: styrofoam hives ?

    Timgoodin "did you see early spring buildup in the insulated hives?" Have seen a two week early buildup in my local area because of my neighbor's styrofoam hives. However, the bees don't lose heat on the sides of the hives but from the tops. Several old articles on this subject of heat loss in Bee Culture. For the last few years, I replicated his success by using the two inch pink styrofoam sheets purchased at H D. as a complete layer of insulation on TOP of my outside covers. Then wrapping the hives loosely with tar paper with exhaust holes under the front of the inner cover and front tar paper. Essentially, my hives picked up the earlier two week buildup quite successfully. Conclusion? Just cover your outside top cover completely with the two inch pink styrofoam and you will probably get that two week advanced buildup. Small proof that it works is that the snow on top of the covers, no longer melts! It works for my hives. OMTCW

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ballard County, KY
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: styrofoam hives ?

    Thanks, sounds like I have a new project for my winter preparations.

    Tim

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