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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,
Does anyone have an opinion of the heavy-duty styrofoam hives?
I just got one and painted it (it says to).
It seems to work well, but I am concerned about how well it will hold up with usage.
Won't the hive tool and propolis cause problems? Any other comments would be nice too.
Jason in TN
 

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I'll be interested to hear how others are doing with beemax hives since I bought a couple to try next year.
 

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I do not own any myself but know two beekeepers who do. From discussions from them I can pass on the following.

If your keeping bees in the backyard and are not planning on moving them, then they are an option to be considered. Light wieght and possible insulation values are pro's.

If you do pollination or move the hives at all, then consider staying with wood. I made this choice when considering how boxes slide in the back of my truck, the many times one fell from a stack, or I dropped one. The foam boxes do not hold up to much abuse. They will break, crack, and can be damaged when scrapping propolis, etc. Consider scrapping.

How about long term sun ray or heat damage? Can they be repaired if the edges are eaten by a groundhog? Is there any natural ability for moisture absorbtion like wood in the dead of winter? Wood has also shown the natural ability to fight off molds and mildew. Can the foam? Can you set a concrete block on top if needed?

Wood boxes can last 30-50 years if properly maintained.
I asked this before when comparing these foam boxes to the movement a few years ago when the plastics hit the market, and do you now how long that lasted? Not long.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
These are very good questions to consider and very wise ideas to keep in mind.
I will not be pollinating so I have no plans for moving it. I think it would be a wise use for use with bee escapes in setting up to remove bees from a house attic since it is so lightweight. I keep a brick on mine. It works well.
I have heard that some beekeepers in England have had good success with them and honey production is increased due to cooler hive temps and better survival in the winter due to heat retention in the winter.
Jason
 

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Sometimes an idea doesn't take off because of misunderstandings or bad publicity and sometimes they fail because they aren't very good. I have heard the hype on plastic hives but don't know anyone who uses them. Maybe they are that good. Maybe they are not. I would like to hear what you think after a year of using them.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Will do. I will certainly keep everyone updated on my experiences with the BEEMAX hive.
Thanks,
Jason
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My one and only BeeMax hive is going well.
The population was extraordinary this Spring in comparison to my other hive and it is holding up to the elements well. I like the ventilated bottom board as well. Oh, and some care must be taken when using it stacked with other wooden hive bodies as the hive tool is unforgiving!
Jason

[This message has been edited by Jason G in Tennessee (edited December 06, 2004).]
 

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This spring I purchased 2 of the Nuc type hives. The ants promptly built their home in the tops boring a hole maze in it and gave the bees a hard time in both nucs. I took the tops and put a fiberglass coat on them to plug the ant tunnels and this seemed to fix the problems. After the swarms grew large enough I transfered them to a regular hive. These nucs seem to be just the ticket to create devides or catching swarms but you need to keep an eye out for problems. Why did the ants only use the top? I liked being able to put the syrup in the bottom to feed the bees. This worked great and I have ordered 5 more for this year.
Clint


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Clinton Bemrose
just South of Lansing Michigan
Beekeeping sence 1964
 

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I've had 3 BeeMax hives for about 5 years now!. Actually they are the styrofoam hives that BetterBee sold (before they came up with their own mold) that were imported from Europe. Although they seem very flimsy they have held up very well.Hive tools do some damage but over 5 years time not enough to warrant me replacing them. I also found some deep scratches on the front of one hive indicative of a skunk!

I've broken one by dropping it but a little glue and you'd never know it was damaged.

I have 2 of them on the stryfoam bottom boards. The bee space for the entrance is 3/8 of an inch so I do not have to add 1/2 wire cloth in the winter to protect from mice. The downside to the bottom board is twofold
1. You cannot use the Oxalic Acid Evaporator via the front of the hive due to the 3/8 inch space.
2. The screened floor area is small, something like 8 x 8 inches. You can monitor for mites but keep in mind that without the entire bottom open, you can only count mites that fall in the very center.

They definetley have more brood in them in the early spring but that seems to even out by summertime ( compared to my wooden hives).

The other "problem" I have is the bigger outside dimension of the box. I put standard wooden inner covers onto the BeeMax boxes. Since the standard inner cover is a little small, the bees have chewed the styrofoam away and made their own top entrance.

Overall, I like them, however; when its time to replace them I'll do so with wood!
 

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A few weeks Canadian beekeeper, Allen Dick (not to be confused with Dick Allen
) posted these remarks on Bee-L

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One thing we have now noticed is that the hives with high mite loads are all in polystyrene hives. On is in wood. The low infestation hives are all wood.

Just guessing -- unless this is a fluke -- it looks as if the longer broodrearing that takes place in styro hives may favour varroa! .....
http://listserv.albany.edu:8080/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0411A&L=bee-l&P=R676

(BTW, those have screened bottooms, the wooden hives don't)


[This message has been edited by Dick Allen (edited December 07, 2004).]
 

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It's only an issue because of the Varroa. It's true an extra early and late brood cycle will give the mites more chance to reproduce, but I think we need to find a way to control them other than cutting out brood cycles.

Let's face it a late brood cycle is good insurance of young healthy bees to get through the winter on. An early brood cycle is good insurance of a lot of bees to raise the brood that will bring in the main honey flow. We feed to try to set this off, so why not use styrofoam to set it off?

If you want to short the bees one or two brood cycles, do it right before the flow when they could do more service bringing in nectar instead of raising brood. You can remove the queen two weeks before the flow and accomplish this AND get a new queen in the process.
 

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I recieved my NUC and feeder and am very pleased.......i want to orer a few hives for trial but want to know if anyone has moved these types of hives? How do you hold them together while moving? Staples? Straps? Both?.........I do't plan on moving them to much but I do plan some movement to different locations............Any suggestions?



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You have to stop and smell the roses......but please watch out for my bees.
 

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If I were moving a bee max hive I would make sure it's proplized together well and just strap it with two straps. One in the front and one in the back. These straps are available at most bee supply places but you can also find them at hardware stores etc. Just don't get carried away with the cinch.
 

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I've got my poly hives from Betterbee assembled, I'm trying to figure out the frame rests, and having no luck. Every way I've turned them leaves about 1/8" between the top bar and bottom bar of the frames. I stacked up two wooden boxes for comparison and got 7/16" with the same two frames! Is this just a variation between manufacturers? Also, when I put the frame rest in the way it seems it should go, with the long side vertical, I have to force the frames in, and I can hear the poly flexing when I put one in the center of the box.

So, anybody got some hints on how they should go in?

Edited to correct my measurements after double checking


[This message has been edited by dcross (edited December 11, 2004).]
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Oh, another thing. If you use these with wooden boxes there is a larger space between the boxes and the bees will build comb between the two boxes and fill it with brood or honey depending on what they want to do with it. It is about 1-2 inches of comb that is built between the two.
JG in TN
 

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>I'm trying to figure out the frame rests, and having no luck.

I laid mine the only way that seemed to make any sense at all and it still didn't seem quite right. I put it where the rest goes across the rabbet and down the inside of the hive. I glued them in. If anyone has a better idea, I'd love to hear it, because the bee space sitll didn't seem to come out right.
 

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If you fog you have to be careful and not get too close to the styrofoam. It melts easily.

If the surface you set the bottom board on is not level the board will flex over time and gaps will open up.
 
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