Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Biggs View Post
    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.
    Thank you very much Mr. Biggs. Congratulations on your hive.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Eduardo Gomes View Post
    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/.
    Hello Eduardo,

    Best wishes to you in Portugal. Sorry for the delayed reply. The best I could find is this: R-value is a measurement of thermal resistance and measures the ability of heat to transfer from one side of an object to another.

    As example: As a benchmark, one inch of solid wood has an R-value of 1. In comparison, an inch of fiberglass insulation has an R-value of 3.14 and an inch of blown cellulose in an attic has an R-value of 3.21.

    Cheers, Joerg
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Thank you Joerg!
    Your information allowed me to make a more focused search. I found this information:

    "4. What is the R-Value (insulation value) of the hives compared to timber hives?
    A. Timber (softwood) = R1.4 per inch vs Polystyrene = R5.0 per inch.
    A Typical timber hive wall thickness is 22mm therefore would have an R-Value of R1.21 when dry (decreases if becomes waterlogged).
    The Paradise Honey High Density EPS hives have a wall thickness of 40mm for the full hive and 33mm for the nucleus hive, Therefore the full hive has an R-Value of R7.9 and the Nucleus is R6.5 and is not affected by moisture." source http://www.australianhoneybee.com.au/faq

    The rats or other rodents do damage to these hives?

  5. #24
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Mr.Biggs,
    Can you tell us how you wintered your Paradise Honey Beebox? Bottom entrance full open? Screened bottom opened or closed? Any additional holes in the boxes for ventilation, or top ventilation? How many boxes on it through that first Winter? Also, is it sitting on a solid or slatted(open underneath) platform? This info would be very helpful. Thanks.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    [IMG][/IMG]

    This is what it sat on last winter. I also use a 3rd strap that hooks into the other anchor, it's a 12" (30 cm) trampoline anchor, that goes across the top to the opposite corner.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    This was taken last October 8th 2014. I feed them heavily starting just before the main flow stopped, with some spearmint and lemongrass oil mixed in the feed. The wood blocks are what the feed buckets sat on. I had 2 on at a time. I would expand the nest by putting in empty frames between brood and checker boarding into the next box. leaving honey on the outside.



    This is shortly after putting the clear top on, its a thin piece of lexan, that sits under the cover. This is handy for looking in at the bees with out disturbing them and prevents them from gluing the top on. They had built into 4 10 frame mediums. I had left the 5th medium box empty. the only reason I can give for this is that I did not have the smoker with me and had pulled the feed and did not think I could get the top on with out killing a lot of bees.

    I left the front fully open. I probably should of had some mouse protection but I did not. The hive has a nice place to slide a piece of chloroplast in for shutting the screen off or mite drop count. I however did NOT have this in place, the bottom was left open all winter. I do not have any other holes or venting on this hive.

    hulstbee, I have lived in your part of the country and my winters are different then yours. I get snow hear but it doesn't stay long or get deep. the one time it filled up past the sides I did clear the sides. The only time the wind seems to stop is when it gets below the donut (below 0f or -18c) then only for a few hours. we seem to have winter,spring,spring,winter,spring,summer, winter,winter, spring. It is Dry in this part of the county. I did not know it could be 95f (35c) and you would not sweat, or at least feel like a wet sponge till I moved hear.

    There was one time in January that it hit 50f (10c) I had popped the top cover off, I did not remove the plastic, saw few bees in a tight cluster on the top corner and put the cover back on. Maybe 20sec with the top off.

    From the time the last picture to the next inspection that I had done was over 6 months. Bottom box was completely empty, queen cups no eggs though, fully developed drones. Reversed bottom, pulled 5 frames of honey. 3rd box up checkerboarded. Added plastic frames to the 5th box. I did not feed anything this year.

  7. #26

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Eduardo Gomes View Post
    The rats or other rodents do damage to these hives?
    Re-read what Odfrank said. Yes, they are chewed by rats. And woodpeckers love those hives. The handles make a good start for hacking your way into your hive, if your are a woodpecker.

    Also those hives tend to break. Just as Odfrank showed, even with pictures. So why do you ignored that? To me, I never saw an old EPS hive, but I surely saw good solid looking 60 year old wood hives. (I own one. It has still bees in it.) Theoretically you can repair them by glueing and by using a special repair kit, but that really looks ugly and doesn't prevent them to break again.

    The insulation is just too low, to be truely effective. So in colder climates it doesn't differ from wood hives much. But an EPS hive has way too high humidity in it, as as found in a study in Germany. High humidity is not really beneficial to bees.

    I still run a dozen EPS hives even right now, but I sell them in Spring after wintering. As I did with all the others. I don't like them at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eduardo Gomes View Post
    In Portugal polystyrene hives cost about three times more than the wooden hives.
    And think about all the money: do you really want to spent three times the money for EPS hives? I wouldn't even think any further. You could have three times more bee hives when using wood, means three times more production for the same money invested. Out of question, really.

  8. #27

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Some impressions.













  9. #28

    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    You get the same results in wooden hives.

    Another disadvantage of EPS hives: how do you clean them and how do desinfect them? Fire? Caustic soda?

  10. #29
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Mr.Biggs, I really appreciate your detailed response. I have 3 top bar hives, and am going to start 3 of the Beebox hives(all mediums) this Spring. Yeah, I know, opposite ends of the spectrum, but it's all cool. I like to prepare ahead, and my biggest challenge has been trying to figure out how to configure them for wintering next Winter. Most people here say you need some form of top ventilation, but the Finnish who make the Beeboxes recommend no additional top ventilation and leave the screened bottom open as you did. My concern with that here was the wind, but yours apparently did fine with that. Maybe sitting on those solid blocks gave some airflow underneath, but not too much like an open or slatted stand would do. Guessing the biggest difference between your place and mine is the humidity. I have thought about taking a poly medium and making a quilt box out of it for placing on top during the Winter, would then have to leave the lexan sheet off, or make some holes in it so the humidity could travel into the shavings. Was planning on putting a 3/4" hole in each box, which could be plugged with corks as needed, and possibly leave the top one open for Winter ventilation. Kinda hate the idea of that warmth leaving the hive though.

  11. #30
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    Re-read what Odfrank said. Yes, they are chewed by rats. And woodpeckers love those hives. The handles make a good start for hacking your way into your hive, if your are a woodpecker.

    Also those hives tend to break. Just as Odfrank showed, even with pictures. So why do you ignored that? To me, I never saw an old EPS hive, but I surely saw good solid looking 60 year old wood hives. (I own one. It has still bees in it.) Theoretically you can repair them by glueing and by using a special repair kit, but that really looks ugly and doesn't prevent them to break again.

    The insulation is just too low, to be truely effective. So in colder climates it doesn't differ from wood hives much. But an EPS hive has way too high humidity in it, as as found in a study in Germany. High humidity is not really beneficial to bees.

    I still run a dozen EPS hives even right now, but I sell them in Spring after wintering. As I did with all the others. I don't like them at all.



    And think about all the money: do you really want to spent three times the money for EPS hives? I wouldn't even think any further. You could have three times more bee hives when using wood, means three times more production for the same money invested. Out of question, really.
    Thanks for your opinion Bernhard. I did not ignore what was said by Odfrank .

    Odfrank is referring to a brand and I am thinking in another .

    Bernard do you have hives of Paradise Honey?

    In fact these hives are about 3 times more expensive than the wooden hives, but if produce 20% more around, if swarm least, if contribute to the decrease of my need to do two annual treatments just to one, I see this cost as an investment and not as a waste.

    I am convinced that I should rehearse with only a handful and then draw my own conclusions, since in this forum, and both in English and Spanish forums I consulted is not a consensus issue.

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Eduardo Gomes View Post
    Thanks for your opinion Bernhard. I did not ignore what was said by Odfrank .
    Amazing...everyone else ignores what I say. I get no respect.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Amazing...everyone else ignores what I say. I get no respect.

    Odfrank I got the idea that your polystyrene hives had been bitten in the warehouse. It was so?

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    You get the same results in wooden hives.

    Another disadvantage of EPS hives: how do you clean them and how do desinfect them? Fire? Caustic soda?
    My theoretical options for now are caustic soda and/or bleach.

    The option to burn the hive will be on the table in case of AFB.

    Does the spores of the AFB will be removed with bleach or caustic soda in a polystyrene surface as it is thought to be on plastic surfaces?

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Eduardo Gomes View Post

    Odfrank I got the idea that your polystyrene hives had been bitten in the warehouse. It was so?

    I think they were chewed in the apiary. I was selling them for someone else so I don't know for sure.

  16. #35
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Hello, every one.
    My impressions on the EPS hive from Paradise Honey.
    I bought them directly from them in Finland.
    The price is same as wood here in France, even a bit cheaper. The shippment for 6 hives was is a bit expensive thou.
    The painting was done with an air gun, i did it piece by piece before assembly to have a neat job but it was fastidious. If i had to do it again i would assemble, stack and paint.
    My experiment was with 6 hives to try them out for overwintering.
    I overwinter in the mountain, the temperatures in winter at night, are around -5c to -10c with some peaks to - 15c.
    You have to leave the bottom board screen open most of the winter to avoid moisure, and close it when brood rearing starts again on the weaker colonies.
    My question was wether to insulate, wrap or do nothing for best results!
    My conclusion is that there is to much insulation for my conditions, it might be good but for really cold climates but not here.
    Spring developpement is slowed down due to the outside heat not coming in on nice sunny days.
    My wood hives wich are now grayish in colour do a great job in caching the heat if the sun, even without wrapping.
    It seams that wrapping is justified for people with light coloured hives.
    There is an advantage on honey store consumption wich is reduced due to less t variation during cold spells.
    They are light for sure.
    One neat feature is that you can turn the roof upside down to add air flow on top on
    really hot days or when moving them. I never used it thou!

  17. #36
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Thank you David for your opinion and the details that regard .

    Quote Originally Posted by David Medinger View Post
    My conclusion is that there is to much insulation for my conditions, it might be good but for really cold climates but not here. Spring developpement is slowed down due to the outside heat not coming in on nice sunny days.
    This is a point to consider carefully. Do you think that we can do anything to minimizes this aspect, eg . closing the screen bottom board when brood rearing starts as you refer?

    With regard to the production of honey, swarming and varroa infestation do you found significant differences?

    Do you had problems with rats gnawing the hives? How do you disinfect this hives? Thanks in advance.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Eduardo Gomes View Post
    Thank you David for your opinion and the details that regard .


    This is a point to consider carefully. Do you think that we can do anything to minimizes this aspect, eg . closing the screen bottom board when brood rearing starts as you refer?

    With regard to the production of honey, swarming and varroa infestation do you found significant differences?

    Do you had problems with rats gnawing the hives? How do you disinfect this hives? Thanks in advance.


    Hello Eduardo

    I had them in use 3 years:
    I had no problem with mice nor rats, no problem with wood peckers (we have some but not many of those)
    I did not do any special work on the varroa issue, so can't tell!

    As for the heat issue the problem is that on warm spring days the outside heat don't get in as much even more so when closing the screened bottom board, but if you don't close it, the cold wind on cold days will chill your brood when the bees retract!
    I like the tar paper wrapping method better for the bees can make use of the extra heat to get to the stores if needed!
    But i actually took the t in a wrapped hive(behind the tar) and an unwrapped hive(close to the wood) and the t got higher on the unwrapped one!
    But again my hives are kind of greyish in colour and they absorb the heat of the sun with no need of wrapping, so why wrap?

    IMG_0535.JPG

    For the cleaning i found this for you (it's in the bee box manual)
    "Parts soiled by bees can be washed gently by hand, or with a steam washer. Careful steam washing will remove almost all pathogens. If the bee colonies have had major problems with bee diseases the boxes can be disinfected by washing them with a 4 % solution of sodium hydroxide (NaOH). The same can be achieved by washing the hive parts with a solution of dishwasher detergent powder. A solution of one tablet in 5 litres of water is of appropriate strength. Virkon S is a disinfectant widely used in Europe. A 2 % solution of this disinfectant will kill all bacteria and spores of bee diseases when sprayed on pre-cleaned hive surfaces. Virkon S is biologically degradable and is not harmful to bees. The active ingredients are among others potassium monopersulfate 50% and organic acids.

    If you have a way to translate it, here is an interesting link unfortunately in French, it's a comparative study on a few over wintered nucs in poly hive / Two colonies in a wood hive: http://www.sdal42.asso.fr/documents-...ruchette-styro

  19. #38
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    Default Re: Advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by David Medinger View Post
    If you have a way to translate it, here is an interesting link unfortunately in French, it's a comparative study on a few over wintered nucs in poly hive / Two colonies in a wood hive: http://www.sdal42.asso.fr/documents-...ruchette-styro
    Thank you David.
    I can read French.

    I downloaded the study and read it carefully. At the end I conclude that the polystyrene nucs have advantages as regards the low consumption of reservations and low moisture. However the spring development is slower.

    Take into account that the study is done with a small number of nucs and average values ​​in these cases have to be read with great caution because they are too influenced by extreme values ​​(like nuc S1 in this study).

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