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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Anyone building or using styrofoam hives bodies?

    I'd like to hear from anyone actually making and/or using styrofoam hive bodies.

    What do you like or dislike about them?

    How would you improve them?

    Have you noticed excessive bearding in the heat of summer?

    Can you pry them apart without damaging them?

    I make all my parts, it's about time to start formulating plans for next year, and I'd like to make some of these to try out. Foam is getting to be cheaper than 1x12, and I think the insulating merits of foam might make them viable if properly planned and constructed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,939

    Default Re: Anyone building or using styrofoam hives bodies?

    I run about 60 of the BetterBee nucs. After about 3 years they start to break down and the bees start chewing them, particularly around the frame rests.

    Bees seem to beard much more than my wooden nucs. I have cut large holes [screened them] in the bottom of many and will do that to all in the future as I rotate them out.

    I run 2 story nucs much of the time and have no problems prying them apart.

    I built some home made styro nucs, but they don't hold up well. Can't find a suitable glue to hold them together.

    I do like these nucs for overwintering. Seem to get a little better survival and less stores used.

    If you're thinking of buying some, check out Allen Dick's diary for a good analysis of them. He uses them exclusively and likes them a lot.

    I think that BetterBee doesn't use the best EPS and that is part of the issues I have with the breakdown of them. I won't be buying them again.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Anyone building or using styrofoam hives bodies?

    Thanks for the input Cam,

    Were your styrofoam nucs painted? I've heard painting them inside and out will stop the chewing, but that is here-say at this point.

    I have found "Power Grab" to be a very effective styrofoam glue.

    Too bad Allen Dick is so far from me. Looks like he's selling deeps for cheap.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,939

    Default Re: Anyone building or using styrofoam hives bodies?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonShackelford View Post

    Were your styrofoam nucs painted? I've heard painting them inside and out will stop the chewing, but that is here-say at this point.
    I didn't paint the BetterBee nucs. I did paint the homemade ones, inside and out.

    [/QUOTE]I have found "Power Grab" to be a very effective styrofoam glue. [/QUOTE]

    Thanks. I used several different glues and 4" drywall screws. But when the nuc is heavy with honey and it's hot out, they tend to come apart.

    [/QUOTE]Too bad Allen Dick is so far from me. Looks like he's selling deeps for cheap.[/QUOTE]

    I have tried to get a load together without good results. I'm far from big enough to use a truckload and most of the commercials here are not interested. I also wonder how good they would be for moving a lot. I do a little pollination and I'm not sure how they would hold up for me. In personal communication with Allen he has no problem with the bees chewing them but does need to be careful in separating the boxes. I think there is a thread about them on his forum.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    447

    Default Re: Anyone building or using styrofoam hives bodies?

    Don,

    I agree with Cam on the nucs. I run a couple of hundred of them and really like their insulation value, but they do have their disadvantages, one being their insulation value. In the winter and cool parts of the year, the insulation is great, but in the summer, watch out. I started cutting holes in the bottom of them, approximately 3.5” x 14 or 16”, then dropping a piece of #8 hardware cloth down in the bottom. This really helped with the summer heat and I just left them open in the winter.

    I painted mine, but the bees do begin to chew them. Dave Tegart, http://tegartnuc.com/ who designed and manufactures the nucs sells a Canadian version that is roughly twice the price. I have not used them personally, but have handled them. They are coated with a PVC skin that helps them hold up a lot longer!

    I like the EPS boxes a great deal, but like Cam, I am not certain I would buy them again, all things considered…

    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Anyone building or using styrofoam hives bodies?

    I have Beemax hives and used them for 4 or 5 years. No overheating or bearding. Ants have chewed them up pretty good but the bees are not a problem. I'm not migratory and thus far they've held up...except they don't interchange with wood Langs.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    winnipeg,Manitoba,Canada
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: Anyone building or using styrofoam hives bodies?

    I use a 5 frame styrofoam nuc in the spring and transfer them to a standard body as soon as i have 5 frames of bees, they work very well for nursing a hive back to health and making nucs in the spring.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Anyone building or using styrofoam hives bodies?

    Thanks for the input guys. Sounds to me like building styrofoam hive bodies is just not worth the effort for me and my locality. We get winters, but not like New York or Vermont.

    I did just pick up 600' of "crate-wood" 1x8. Not the best material, but plenty good enough for 5 frame deep nuc boxes. That should keep me busy awhile.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    las vegas/ so utah
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Anyone building or using styrofoam hives bodies?

    I am new to this thread. Well i will be ordering my first set of bees, in about a week. Most people have directed me to italians because they can handle the heat. My weather is much diffrent 118 degree summer days and night that are often 100 degrees all night in late July and Aug.. Our UV index is high from May to end of Sept. I saw the foam hives and was thinking of using them but I do know, how our sun out here can bake an egg in a car, and was concerned about heat transfer out of the hive in the evening hours.
    Any suggesting?
    I am a new by

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Texarkana, Arkansas,USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Anyone building or using styrofoam hives bodies?

    Don,
    While I don't know proper name, foam insulation in a can makes for a real good glue like connection in joining your parts.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    las vegas/ so utah
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Anyone building or using styrofoam hives bodies?

    Quote Originally Posted by A1B1 View Post
    Don,
    While I don't know proper name, foam insulation in a can makes for a real good glue like connection in joining your parts.
    Yes lst 2 weeks have been very hard I have them in shade but it was 122 degrees yesterday it was 112 with 35% humidity it was ugly hot.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Anyone building or using styrofoam hives bodies?

    "Yes lst 2 weeks have been very hard I have them in shade but it was 122 degrees yesterday it was 112 with 35% humidity it was ugly hot."

    Insulating value goes both ways. With water nearby your bees will use the evaporation of it inside the hive to cool the hive. Then a well insulated hive will assist them in maintaining a cool house by keeping the heat out! Proper size vents become very important. I seem to remember reading that you need a 1 to 4 inlet to outlet size for correct air flow. Could be wrong on that. Watch the fanning and gradually increase the vent size until you only have a bee or two fanning. That is my method but have only been at it for two summers.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

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