Plastic Foundation and Winter.....
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  1. #1
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    Default Plastic Foundation and Winter.....

    I was thinking today as I lost another hive.... When the bees form a ball to keep warm... with the plastic foundation it seems that it would be harder to transfer heat between them.. Has anyone done a study or what are the thoughts on this subject>>>>>

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Plastic Foundation and Winter.....

    I winter bees on plastic frames at far below zero and I don't notice any difference between them and wood frames with wax foundation, but I have done no scientific study. I think your wintering problem is elsewhere.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Plastic Foundation and Winter.....

    Plastic isn't a great medium for heat transfer, but it won't kill your bees. Check for how much honey and pollen was left, where it was, how much (if any) brood there was, and if there is evidence of mite infestation. Starvation kills hives in late winter, mites typically cause them to die off in late fall or early winter, first time it gets really cold.

    Peter

  5. #4
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    Crown Point, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Plastic Foundation and Winter.....

    1000's of colonies winter on plastic foundation every year and survive just fine. I'm sure combs of pure wax/ cocoon transfer heat better. But honeybees are very resilient they can do just fine on plastic in spite of the beekeeper.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Plastic Foundation and Winter.....

    The specific heat on plastic is ~0.40 units -----> (BTU/pound degree F)
    The specific heat on beeswax is ~0.82
    In general...materials with a lower specific heat transfer heat better than ones with a higher specific heat.

    Aluminum is a good example. It's specific heat is ~0.21. Its used a lot to make heat sinks. Transfers heat every efficiently.

    Plastic foundation is not killing your bees.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Plastic Foundation and Winter.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Firedog09us View Post
    I was thinking today as I lost another hive.... When the bees form a ball to keep warm... with the plastic foundation it seems that it would be harder to transfer heat between them.. Has anyone done a study or what are the thoughts on this subject>>>>>
    The primary barrier to heat transfer is the film heat transfer coefficient on both sides of the solid surface that happens in a tiny thickness of the air next to the surface. What that surface is made from is very nearly irrelevant. Besides, wax and plastic are going to have about the same thermal conductivity.

    Just to illustrate suppose you had an aluminum sheet installed in place of all the glass in your homes windows. Now we all know aluminum is a much better heat conductor than glass so you might guess the heat loss would go up after installing aluminum. But, you would be dead wrong. The increase in heat loss would be about 0.1%. So small it would be hard to measure. This is all physics 101 and should be covered in any beginning physics book. I will admit aluminum is not going to let light thru so is not very practical.

  8. #7
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    Feb 2016
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    DeKalb Alabama
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    Default Re: Plastic Foundation and Winter.....

    Thanks Vance... I have also wintered on plastic for a while and had no known issues.... This was just a Thinking question and to see what everyone else thought... Thanks again

  9. #8
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    Feb 2016
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    DeKalb Alabama
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    Default Re: Plastic Foundation and Winter.....

    PSfred,

    I understand the process of wintering bees.... These had done well and were out gathering pollen and seemed like they were going to do fine... Then we had one of those 70 degree days that dropped to the 20's .... that was the reason for the thought on plastic... Thanks again

  10. #9
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    Thumbs Up Re: Plastic Foundation and Winter.....

    Quote Originally Posted by aunt betty View Post
    The specific heat on plastic is ~0.40 units -----> (BTU/pound degree F)
    The specific heat on beeswax is ~0.82
    In general...materials with a lower specific heat transfer heat better than ones with a higher specific heat.
    Thank you for this post! Wondered the same thing myself, even asked the same question four years ago and had no scientific explanation...This is logical,factual and to the point, thanks aunt betty.
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    DeKalb Alabama
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    Question Re: Plastic Foundation and Winter.....

    WOW......
    I was recommended to this site to see what others thought...... Seems that the answers that are given here are given to make folks feel like they are not doing what they should be and that only the person that posts is the one with the problem.... {despite the bee keeper} I don't have book laying on my table that has simple 101 answers to the issues... Not sure where that was part of bee keeping.........

    There were some answers that helped and I thank those.........

    I can sit at home and be Belittled .....

    Thanks for your time on this....

    Mike

  12. #11
    Join Date
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    Great Falls Montana
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    7,793

    Default Re: Plastic Foundation and Winter.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Firedog09us View Post
    PSfred,

    I understand the process of wintering bees.... These had done well and were out gathering pollen and seemed like they were going to do fine... Then we had one of those 70 degree days that dropped to the 20's .... that was the reason for the thought on plastic... Thanks again
    The conditions you describe coupled with a wind aimed at the entrance or unprotected SBB do inded kill colonies. Bees unfortunately are sometimes slow to cluster.

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