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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Portugal
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    879

    Default Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    I am thinking acquire some polystyrene hives to try. I hereby ask any feedback about these hives compared to conventional wooden hives. In Portugal polystyrene hives cost about three times more than the wooden hives.

    It is correct to speak in greater productivity in these hives? What about the durability and lower maintenance requirement of these hives?
    The thermal advantages of polystyrene hives will be harmed if combined with wooden mediums in the spring/summer?

    Thanks for your feedback!
    Last edited by Eduardo Gomes; 01-06-2016 at 02:38 AM.
    "We are two abysses - a well staring the sky." Fernando Pessoa

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Abbotsford, BC, Canada
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    I've been wondering that too; if they have good insulation in winter, don't they overheat in summer? And also, who is the best supplier in North America.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Spencer, MA, USA
    Posts
    2,313

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    I've been using the BeeMax nucs from Betterbee for about 6 years now. None have bit the dust. Some are a little worse for wear. I mix them with wooden nucs and find that there is little difference in survival, production or ease of use.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,521

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Allen Dick, a Canadian Beekeeper, has been running them for a number of years and likes them. Here is a link to his most recent thoughts on the subject. http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/articles/EPS.htm
    He is a knowledgable and veteran beekeeper and will answer questions on his forum if you join it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    6,527

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    And he keeps bees in Alberta. Camero7 is in Massachusetts.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,721

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    I was just selling a few for another beekeeper and noticed that the bottom boards had been chewed by rats, even though they were still very new. The bottom boards extend out wider than the hive body and there were 2" wide chunks chewed from these protrusions. These had not been painted, which might have discouraged nibbling.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs, NY, USA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    One disadvantage of the beemax ones is it not possible to get oav treatment in down at the bottom. You have to take hive apart or - what I do - place near the top and cover. But the smoke seems to rise more easily than sink so I don't think it is as effective even if the bees "help" circulate it.
    I asked the supplier (Betterbee) if there was a way to do it better and they did not have one. They were also worried the oav could harm the polystyrene itself but I haven't found any problem.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,721

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Oh No! I am selling Beemax for an elderly beekeeper and today I dropped an empty medium about five feet. You know what they say... if you break it you've bought it. No wood box would have suffered a similar catastrophic injury. Since it is now mine I will try some glue and screws.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    879

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Thank you all.

    I'm thinking these hives http://paradisehoney.net/en/beebox-beehives/ made ​​in Paradisehoney company. Does anyone have experience with these hives? What opinion do you have?
    "We are two abysses - a well staring the sky." Fernando Pessoa

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    644

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Below is a link to what I'm doing with my brood boxes. As soon as I have the jingle after my next honey harvest I'm switching all my brood chambers to polystyrene(EPS) boxes. Even with these semi-eps boxes I build I get faster build up and I won't have to wrap hives every fall. I got 3 old broken EPS boxes from Allen at honeybeeworld.com and they repair easily with wood screws and glue. You can build wooden lids and bottom boards for them and still use wooden supers for honey.
    https://youtu.be/IAZRPieBR4U
    But every sunday afternoon he is a dirt track demon
    In a '57 chevrolet- Jim Croce

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,219

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft Jones View Post
    I've been wondering that too; if they have good insulation in winter, don't they overheat in summer?
    Better insulation works both ways. It makes it easier to cool in the summer and heat in the winter.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,219

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Is anyone using EPS boxes on a commercial scale in North America? I had assumed that our lower lumber prices made EPS a non-starter for anyone but hobbiests. It doesn't help that the Beemax product doesn't seem to be the greatest implementation of EPS when looking at the European options available.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Wheatland, WY, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Short answer on Paradise honey beebox, I would recommend.

    First off I would like to state that I’m only a second year BK and these are the only bees that I have ever had. I don’t really know if my results are typical of what others would have in a similar situation with bees. I am a hobbyist and the cost of the equipment was not my primary concern. This is a picture of my hive @ 1 year and 2 weeks after capturing a swarm covering about 3 medium frames. They came out of a bee tree about 10 miles from my location.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    This hive started out with zero resources. In this time frame they had drawn out close to 90 medium frames. As of this date I have pulled resources to create 3 nucs AKA “Michael Palmer style” wooden and about 20 to 25 lb of honey.

    Thanks for the inspiration and information Michael.

    My location will typically have wind speeds of 75+ MPH (120+ kph) in the winter with temp reaching down to about -25f (-32c). Summer temp on this hive have been over 100f (38c)in full sun with no wind break for protection.

    One of the benefits I have noted is Light weight. I had purchased a 8 frame medium hive and compared the weight. The beebox with 10 plastic frames is 1 pound lighter then wood with 8 frames.

    The boxes are surprising strong and dense.

    Even in the extreme heat of the summer I have never witnessed any bearding of bees. I did not allow them to be very crowded however.

    This is a pic of what I would have considered typical density just before spitting the hive up. It’s the top box on a sunny midday during a good flow.



    The beebox has plastic frame rest and the hive tool is only used to split on the plastic. This prevents hive tool damage to the foam.

    The hive body has an interlocking recess and is a bit of a pain when stacking boxes to keep the bees from getting crushed. I have killed more bees with mannlake plastic frames then the hive bodies however. They are nice for alignment, but may be a pain for someone used to sliding the hive bodies together.

    I think wood suppers will stack well with the foam, I had purchased a pollen trap this winter and it seem to fit well. I do think you will lose the benefit of the insolation however.

    I have painted both the inside and outside of my hive for protection of the foam. The outside will degrade and break down in the sun without paint.

    Painting is the biggest pain in the butt I have had with the hive. There is a Canadian version that uses a black foam I don't know if it would eliminate the need for painting

    I don't know how well a vaporizer would work with this hive, but there is a metal mesh it could be rested on.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    There is a commercial bk in Australia that uses the bee box if you go to youtube and search Paradise Honey you should be able to find his videos.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Abbotsford, BC, Canada
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Great post. I looked for a Canadian distributor, but I couldn't find it on their website! (BeeMaid) I'd love to know the pricing. This system looks so well done, it saves me from redoing it. If only they had a polyurethane version instead of EPS.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    879

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Thank you. Excellent colony and excellent information. Mr. Biggs I have some questions that I hope not bored you:
    - How long does it take to assemble and paint the nest box and a super?
    - What kind of ink you used ?
    - I have a compressor to paint my hives. Can be used to paint the beebox?
    - Is it necessary to paint the inside of the hives ?
    "We are two abysses - a well staring the sky." Fernando Pessoa

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    879

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft Jones View Post
    Great post. I looked for a Canadian distributor,
    Mycroft this is another Canadian distributor announced in Paradise Honey http://www.internationalhoney.com/#!blank/ftct7
    "We are two abysses - a well staring the sky." Fernando Pessoa

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Hello,

    I know that the Beaver boxes are much stronger then the BeeMaid, but with that comes a trade-off: less R-value. They (Beaver) are much heavier than a E(X)PS box and air is the insulator, so higher weight per "/3 = less R-value.

    Allen loves them and Allen knows what go's on!

    Cheers, Joerg

    P.s.: Colino I am showing my plans here: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...to-ventilation post#19
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    879

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Joerg what's the meaning of R-value?

    My interest in polystyrene hives started when I read a few months ago this interview https://oxnatbees.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/warm-hives/.
    "We are two abysses - a well staring the sky." Fernando Pessoa

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Wheatland, WY, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Eduardo Gomes View Post
    - How long does it take to assemble and paint the nest box and a super?
    - What kind of ink you used ?
    - I have a compressor to paint my hives. Can be used to paint the beebox?
    - Is it necessary to paint the inside of the hives ?
    My nest box and super are all the same size, I do not restrict the queen to only one area.

    The assembly and painting of this hive is more work then nailing wood boxes on a jig.
    It is not over all that bad.

    I do however think that that time will be made up over the life of the hive with not having to do any winter preparation or spring tare down of added wrapping or covering.

    The sides have some plastic rails that need to be slid on before assembly.
    I glued and clamped my boxes, This may not be needed but I figured I would only be doing it once over the life of the hive.

    The outsides of the box are not flat and have some detail that makes painting them a pain.
    I did mask off the frame rest as I did not want the issue of paint chipping along with the added thickness of the paint.

    I used an exterior enamel, 100% acrylic paint. This paint takes a while to fully harden. I used some petroleum jelly on the tops of the hive to keep them from sticking together.

    I have used a compressor and would suggest having a small roller on hand to even out the paint on the hand holds and detail on the outside. Maybe I just stink at painting.

    I painted the inside for the ease of scraping wax and washing and cleaning of the hive in the future.

    I think if I was using these in a commercial setting it might worth it to by them in bulk and not glue or paint them at all. They would not last as long, but the time invested in assembly and paint might make up for it. Although Just stacking them together and just giving them a couple of coats on the outside might be worth it.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    644

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Biermann View Post
    P.s.: Colino I am showing my plans here: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...to-ventilation post#19
    Hello Joerg:
    The boxes I've made up to now are going to be replaced with EPS boxes after my next honey harvest when I have the coins. The best price I got was $22.00 each but that is cheap when you figure in that I won't have to insulate hives each fall and brood build up is significantly better. My bottom boards, inner and outer covers from my Semi-EPS boxes will work with EPS boxes. In my video there are 3 EPS boxes at the end I got from Allen. Can you spot them?
    But every sunday afternoon he is a dirt track demon
    In a '57 chevrolet- Jim Croce

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