Does anybody have experience with building/using a hive box made out of Transparent PVC board?
Transparent PVC board is available with up to 15mm thickness. It seems to me that a reasonably sturdy Langstroth deep box can be made from it instead of wood. The joints can be glued with PVC glue to build a strong joint stronger than nails or screws. The joints would also be moisture and air proof. The box would be lighter, more durable, rot-free, long lasting and no need to paint and will retain it beauty. I believe it will also be cheaper and have a higher r-value for better insulation.
My main motivation is to be able to see parts of the frames to be able to see potential problems without having to open the hive. For example, honey frames can be seen whether they have been capped and therefore ready for harvest. Swarm cells might be detected earlier so that we can take action to avoid the swarming. We would be able to assess a colony faster which would be a godsend for commercial beeks.
I can foresee several issues with using Transparent PVC, some of which I think I can mitigate. Other issues, I do not know if they are insurmountable issues and I am hoping to get some ideas from experienced Beeks here. Some of the issues I will enumerate below.
1. PVC glue might outgas and hence be unacceptable to bees. I believe this can be mitigated by dipping in beeswax to mask and cover the smell and make it more acceptable to bees.
2. PVC itself may be unacceptable to bees. Again, dipping or coating with beeswax should solve this issue.
3. The hive will not be totally dark. I do not know if this is an issue. Does anyone know if the bees will colonize a hive that is not totally dark? Will they be comfortable is such a hive? I've seen observation hives and the bees appear to be not bothered by light; but that is only light for a short amount of time. How will bees react if the hive is illuminated all day long? Will the Queen even lay in frames that are not totally dark? I suppose I can mitigate this problem by covering the hive but this will incur more work.
4. Sunlight will be directly shining onto the hive possibly raising the temperature inside. The increased temperature may or may not be a problem. Its advantageous since it will evaporate more moisture to make honey faster. Its disadvantageous as it may cause more bees to spend more effort in fanning to cool the hive. This may be mitigated by installing a chimney to increase air flow ventilation to lower inside temps but improve honey evaporation. This might be good for honey production.
Does anyone foresee any other issue with my plan above?