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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    1,693

    Default Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I paint?

    Hello all,
    We just purchased 50 new mini mating nucs from Mann Lake. They are the IN-140's, seen online at http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeepin...es/page60.html. They are constructed from high-density styrofoam, and I am wondering how long and how well they hold to the sun and other elements. I have seen them painted, and I'm wondering if it is worth taking the time to give them a quick coat of paint. Also, would painting them different colors help with drifting? Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    708

    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    The gentleman nearby who just did a franchise with Modern Beekeeping sells the full size high density hives. They recommend painting them and using masonry paint, I guess that adheres better. I asked him about it because I was disappointed, thought I'd found an way not to paint. He said they won't rot of course. If they're constantly wet they can grow algae like you see on the north sides of buildings sometimes, which again isn't a big deal except for looks. The real reason is as you suspect, the UV will get 'em, so I'd paint.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,632

    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    Here's what Dow Chemical, the owner of the Styrofoam brand says:
    STYROFOAM™ Extruded Polystyrene Foam Insulation must be covered to protect it from sunlight (UV or ultraviolet light). It should be covered within 90 days of its installation. Sunlight will very slowly begin to degrade the insulation, changing the surface from a rigid blue plastic to a yellow powder. This does not change the properties of the insulation below the surface, but it can result in a loss of insulation thickness over very long periods of time (years).

    http://dow-styrofoam.custhelp.com/ap...lation-be-left
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,290

    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    The UV will break it down. It holds up pretty well if painted except that mice can chew it easily and the carpenter ants love to live in it...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Wellston, OK USA
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    I've had hive covers for 5 years now and have not broken down with this Oklahoma heat. Biggest mistake is setting a hot smoker on them and of course you have to set something on them to keep from flying off in this 30 mph wind. Never painted and I like the fact they don't get stuck but after five years they are not the prettiest cover but I do think they protect some from the heat!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,786

    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    I have 50+ of the EPS nucs from Betterbee. They are on their 4th year and are starting to break down. Also the bees are chewing the foam at the frame rests. I do not see any better survival during the winter in them than my wooden nucs. But the bees seem to build up quicker in the spring in them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,589

    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    Quote Originally Posted by camero7 View Post
    I have 50+ of the EPS nucs from Betterbee. They are on their 4th year and are starting to break down. .
    I would consider applying a hard-coat to the boxes. I received samples of StyroSpray from Industrial Polymers and it looks pretty impressive. A prime coat of Kilz latex can be applied in place of the company's primer.

    http://www.industrialpolymers.com/

    The StyroSpray can be applied by brush.

    There are numerous videos to watch online.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Southern half, UK
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    I have polystyrene (styrofoam) hives.

    It's advisable to paint them to make sure the tiny gaps between the poly granules don't fill up with algae, UV damage is less of a problem with new hives than it was a few years ago, but there are people who've been using them for years without painting the outside.

    You can use masonry paint or any vinyl emulsion. I used vinyl emulsion intended for bathroom or kitchen, areas likely to have high levels of water vapour. Two coats was enough.

    You don't need to paint the inside, but a layer of vaseline (petrolium jelly?) along the hive runners or frame rests will stop them being propolised.

    If you use a landing board, which is a good idea for mating mini-nucs because it helps the queen find her way indoors, you can paint a pattern on them to help the bees identify their home.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Millbury, MA, USA
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    1,786

    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    Thanks BeeCurious. Looks like it might work.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    Quote Originally Posted by camero7 View Post
    Thanks BeeCurious. Looks like it might work.
    Call them in Texas, the guy I spoke with was very friendly and they sent me samples. One is plywood and the other is on EPS. I believe polyurea truck bedliner could be used too but it's certain that the StyroSpray won't cause a meltdown.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
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    1,786

    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    I made some nucs out of 2" foam from Home Depot but the bees chewed them very badly around the entrance and the frame rest area. I think this stuff will work on them too. Might make for some cheap mating nucs in custom sizes.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    708

    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    Forgot about the bedliner. The modernbeekeeping folks had one had their stand at the ABF conference that was coated in bedliner. It was black, not sure on the merits of that (is black but insulated ok?), but it looked bomb-proof.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
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    1,786

    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    be nervous to try that on the inside of the hive. I think the StyroSpray is just the ticket. Has good hardness that should stop my chewing problems. I'm going to order a couple quarts this morning. Wonder if you have to mix it all at once?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,589

    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    I wouldn't put the $tyro$pray inside. I don't know what people's experience has been with a latex but I would try Kilz on the inside.

    Bedliner coatings can be white as well...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
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    Default Re: Does hi-density styrofoam hold up well to the sun and other elements? Should I pa

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    I wouldn't put the $tyro$pray inside. I don't know what people's experience has been with a latex but I would try Kilz on the inside.

    Bedliner coatings can be white as well...
    I've tried oil based, latex and Kilz. All 3 get chewed. Once cured don't see how it would hurt. Would only put it where the bees would chew... around the entrance and the frame rest area.

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