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I was wondering if anybody has purchased products from betterbee in Greenwich, NY and has a review of their beemax Polstyrene products (telescoping outer cover and hive top feeder). I was also wondering if anybody has purchased the betterbee 10 Frame Unassembled Beginner's Kit w/ Wooden Frames, Wax Foundation and Small Gloves. Thanks, DP

Link to kit- http://www.betterbee.com/Unassembled...h-Small-Gloves
 

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As you know, I am a happy Betterbee customer. Almost all of my equipment comes from them.

I think their wooden ware is very nice, and extra thick. To be honest, I've never price compared wooden ware from other suppliers because I really like what I've gotten from Betterbee and I value purchasing stuff locally whenever possible. (Plus they are extremely generous with advice and answering new-beekeeper questions!)

I suppose I got three of their starter kits last summer (the hive parts kits, not three of the starter kits that come with smokers, clothing, etc.), though I customized them by trading in the styrofoam lid for the wooden telescoping one. Plus I added screened bottom boards for varroa monitoring, and then medium supers (which didn't get much use the first year, but are this year). I have the BeeMax hive top feeders which overall I do like very much, though they are not impervious to damage from carpenter ants so they won't last as long a woodenware. I also bought BeeMax lids for the feeders because the syrup tends to keep the underside of the wooden lid too damp (it will grow mildew) so I take the wooden lids off when I'm feeding. I plan to paint the feeders (mostly for aesthetics, but also to try and discourage ant chewing) before the end of the summer.

For hive bodies, though, I think woodenware is preferable. I bought two medium supers for each colony last summer, but the bees barely needed them. However this spring to accommodate planned-for splits (only some of which happened) and expected swarms (none of which occurred, yet) I bought more boxes and frames. But my over-wintered colonies were growing so fast that even using up all the stuff I bought for the hives that didn't materialize I was still short and it seemed every week I was running up to Betterbee and buying more woodenware. It completely outstripped my ability to get it painted before being pressed into service. So later this summer I'll have to rotate it all out for painting.

There is also a very useful Bargain Barn you should be sure to check out when you go to Betterbee. That's where scratch 'n dent and cosmetically imperfect stuff winds up, to be sold at a discount. I've scored nearly all my BeeMax hive top feeders from there as the BeeMax stuff can get a banged-up corner pretty easily.

I
 

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I was wondering if anybody has purchased products from betterbee in Greenwich, NY and has a review of their beemax Polstyrene products (telescoping outer cover and hive top feeder). I was also wondering if anybody has purchased the betterbee 10 Frame Unassembled Beginner's Kit w/ Wooden Frames, Wax Foundation and Small Gloves. Thanks, DP

Link to kit- http://www.betterbee.com/Unassembled...h-Small-Gloves
I was given the 10 frame un-assembled beginner kit with plastic frames and small gloves a couple years ago. I changed over to wooden frames. If you aren't going to use every single thing in the kit, just order items you will use separately and skip the kit. While I was happy to receive as a gift, I never use the gloves, or the book. I also use a different type of feeder than the hivetop one that came with the kit, so that is also unused...

Betterbee is excellent. Under new ownership in the last 2-3 years. They have good stuff, they do things well, and once in a while if something isn't right, they make it right immediately if you give them a call or send an email.

I have used their Beemax hives, the Beemax outer cover, and their wooden-ware. The main advantage in my view to the Beemax is that it is far easier to assemble and get ready for use than wooden ware... glue and paint for Beemax versus glue, nail, prime, and paint for wood. Yeah, I'm a bit lazy... I found it to be quite sturdy, for my limited uses no advantage over wood in that aspect. Disadvantage is that it's basically, I think, a form of plastic. So, I think it breathes a little less and you can't/aren't supposed to (?) burn it or scorch if needed for American Foul Brood. Second disadvantage is that it's thicker than the wood, so you have to be careful in lining up wooden ware if mixing and matching. For example, I use wooden bottom slatted racks and wooden hive bottom boards. The beemax hive body actually overhangs these wooden hive parts by quite a bit, as it's thicker, so outside dimension increased.

Unless you have a strong preference for ease of assembly, I'd recommend wood over beemax for hives. I do like their covers, and they sell a Beemax cover for the wood hives, which I also have.
 

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I use their foam hive top feeders and telescoping outer covers. I like them both. The hive top feeders are best for winter feeding because you can keep it full all winter and dont have to disturb them to add syrup. They arent my favorite for spring or summer feeding. If its full of syrup and you need to do an inspection, the bottom will be covered in bees when you remove it. If you set it down, you crush lots of bees, if you pour it out, its a mess. I did build an inner cover a few years ago with a slot that matched the slot in the hive top feeder that worked great. I can remove the feeder and the only access they had to the bottom of the feeder was through the slot that went into the feeder. It worked good, but I prefer jar feeding in summer on until winter. But over the winter its a great feeder. I am in western KY and I have seen the bees feed all winter long.

The outer covers are strong and light. I have had some for about 6 years or so. The ones that I didnt paint look kinda crappy, but they are still in good condition. I think painting them will make them last longer but I guess time will tell.

Rob
 

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My only problem is that I would like to keep my entire order from betterbee, but they don't sell the hive top feeder and telescoping outer cover in wood. Thanks, DP
 

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My only problem is that I would like to keep my entire order from betterbee, but they don't sell the hive top feeder and telescoping outer cover in wood. Thanks, DP
Took me about 30 seconds to find the telescoping outer cover in wood on their website.

Correct, they don't have wooden feeders.... I hate wooden feeders. Unless you're prepared to seal the inside of the feeder with epoxy, expect it will leak. Even siliconed joints will likely leak eventually. I've started using the Mann Lake plastic feeder inserts (build your own wooden box, or buy theirs)... I love them. A dab of silicone around the screen to keep it in place and to keep the bees on their side... essentially no drowning deaths, no leaks... I'm very pleased. Nothing worse than filling a wooden feeder, and looking back a minute later to see syrup running out the bottom board as it rains down on the bees. Heck, buy an extra deep box and use the Better Bee screened pail lid to feed with.
 

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I am puzzled by your comment, DPulanski.

Betterbee sells (and I have) the BeeMax styrofoam hive top feeders, that fit the 10 -frame wooden ware (and maybe also 8-frame wood, I don't know since I run 10-frame stuff) in addition to BeeMax feeders that fit the BeeMax hive components.

The BeeMax feeders for the BeeMax hive bodies are larger than the ones for the wooden hive bodies, so be sure to ask for the right size. (I think that the BeeMax feeders for the BeeMax hive bodies have the ability to be divided into two separate feeding compartments if you were running a double nuc below. Not so with the BeeMax feeders for the 10-frame wooden ware.)

I recommended getting a wooden telecover for "regular use" and an additional BeeMax cover for the BeeMax feeder to avoid mold development on the wooden surfaces of the telecover during feeding. When the feeder is on you must take off your inner cover, and it's simpler just to use a stryofoam cover during the feeding period. Typically after the start-up period when you first establish your hive the only time of year you feed is late in the fall to make up any weight not added during the goldenrod flow. If the wooden cover parts (inner and tele) develop moldiness due to constant exposure to the syrup below there's no time to dry them out properly before you have to shut the hives up for winter. I prefer to use that period as a break and get the inner parts of the hive as dry as possible before sealing up the hives. I would hate to think of my bees closed up with mold, especially since one of the big winter risks to a hive is lack of ventilation.

Also I meant to mention this before: you made note of "small" size gloves in one of your earlier comments. I am a small female (size 7 gloves) and the extra-small goatskin gloves are too big for my hands, so it would pay try the gloves on your own hands before settling on the size. They do sell a children's size which has narrower finger tubes, but the finger lengths are too short from tip to knuckle, so the X-small is the best I can do, even if the tips hang off the end of my fingers after a few uses.

They have sample gloves, jackets and a display of most of what they sell, so it's a treat to visit Betterbee. And if you go on Friday or Saturday, there's a great Thai street food vendor at the T-intersectoin between Rt 29 and RT 40 (next to the Aubuchon Hardware store). If you like Thai food, I'd definitely plan on a meal there!



Enj.
 

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The BetterBee product offerings are by and large quality products. Their customer service is very good. Take a ride and visit them.
That said, I have a favorite plastic division board and plastic hive top feeders and get them elsewhere usually once a year to replace old ones and so I have a few on hand.
But I use them whenever I can and lots of equipment in my yards comes from BB. I do not care for the BeeMax line and don't have any of it in my operation.
 

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Unless you have a strong preference for ease of assembly, I'd recommend wood over beemax for hives. I do like their covers, and they sell a Beemax cover for the wood hives, which I also have.
I agree with the ease of assembly for the BeeMax hives, which is why I went with BeeMax last year when I restarted beekeeping with one hive after 8 years away (we had hives for 4 years). I ended up with 2 hives by last Fall, combined into 1, and they survived the winter as a super strong hive here in Western NY. Didn't have to wrap the hive and we had a lot of snow and a cold winter. They didn't need any emergency feeding. I would like to believe that the styrofoam helped in that aspect.

When my wife was chief beekeeper 8 years ago, we had 6 wooden hives and 2 Beemax and a LOT more time to assemble all the wooden ware. Now with 3 little kids, time is harder to find.

I also have a Beemax hive top feeder that I used on the swarm that I captured early June (pretty sure they were my own bees), but I couldn't get the bees interested in it (maybe they didn't need it?). But, it was very easy to fill and use.

I would HIGHLY recommend Betterbee as a vendor - we used them 8 years ago and I use them now and I've driven there to get packages. Definitely a first class operation.

-Jim
 

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I use the Beemax hives and so far so good: easy to assemble, to move around, and pretty hardy. Betterbee is an excellent company to deal with, with very prompt service.
 

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I bought their 8 frame beginner kit and am very pleased with everything. I've bought all of my stuff from them. Fast shipping and they have not made a single mistake on any of my orders. The Beemax hives seem to be very nice and I use the hivetop feeder in both of my hives. Great stuff from Betterbee.com.
 

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I purchased 3 BeeMax hives this 2015 season because of a friend of mine who uses them almost exclusively on his 80 hives.
I live in Western New York. Our winters in the Buffalo area are many times brutal with snow, cold temperatures and wind. My chief goal is for my bees to survive and thrive the winter.

My experience with my three BeeMax hives thus far is that I love them.

The PROS:

1) Easy to put together. No nails or screws.
2) No need for entrance reducer as the entrance is only the size of bee-space.
3) No need for mouse guard as entrance is only the size of bee-space.
4) Placing your ear on the hive body I can easily hear the bees legs pitter-patter and hum of the hive.
With wooden hives I have to strain my ears or use a stethoscope to hear anything. In the winter I don't like
banging on a hive to check their status.

The CONS:

1) Ok, IF your hive gets American/European Foul Brood then you can't burn them. That's IF.

NOTES:

1) I found out you do need to paint or put something on the hive to prevent outside mold. However, you have to do the same for wooden hives too.
2) This December I purchased and installed the Broodminder and am currently testing a wooden hive to check the internal temperature and relative humidity. I will also be installing a Broodminder in a Polystyrene hive. I've interested to know each hive which one is warmer so I want live numbers in the hive. The Broodminder will provide me hourly reading. I will share on this thread my results. If you want to know more about Broodminder: http://broodminder.com/
3) I have 10 hives to overwinter into 2016. Wooden hive 7, Polystyrene 3. I'll share also how the BeeMax vs Wood hives are doing this spring.
4) In the 2016 BetterBee Catalog for $126 you can get "The Essentials Kit"

1 Telesoping Outer Cover
1 Wooden Inner Cover
2 Deep Hive Bodies
20 Plastic Frames
1 Bottom board

This is all I need because I still use wood for supers.

Dave
 

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I appreciate all the nice words about Betterbee in the thread. I am writing to give a little more clarification to some of the issues brought up here.

We do recommend that you paint Beemax products where they will be exposed to the sun. They will hold up better. Latex paint usually works fine.

We started a new website almost one year ago along with a new accounting system. This has been a lot more complicated than we anticipated. We are still working through making sure everything is right for every item. One of the sensitive things is the search ability. I was looking not to have the search return every item in the catalog no matter the word as well as return "like" items with a minor difference in spelling. This is a work in progress.

If you cannot find the telescoping outer covers, try typing in "outer cover". There are wooden telescoping covers in 8 and 10 frame wooden hive sizes. We do NOT have a telescoping wooden cover for the BeeMax line. We do have the polystyrene BeeMax telescoping cover for the BeeMax hives.

There are lots of choices for feeders. Type "feeder" in the search.

Our 2016 catalog has been out for just over a month now. The new prices do not take effect until the first of the year. If you want an online version, that will be on the web soon. We have a new version with a great search feature and hyperlinks to all of the products. It will be online soon. This is a new thing for us. The old online versions were simply a pdf download. You can still download a pdf version of the new catalog.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to call the main number 800-632-3379 or email our support line [email protected]. These tend to get answered quickly.

Thank you,

Chris Cripps
Greenwich, NY
[email protected]
 

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A great sealer for wooden feeders is beeswax. Used it and have no leaks
I use beemax supers which have kept my bees alive in Western Mass winters while my wooden hives bees died under same weather conditions
 

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A great sealer for wooden feeders is beeswax. Used it and have no leaks
I use beemax supers which have kept my bees alive in Western Mass winters while my wooden hives bees died under same weather conditions
are you certain you can draw the conclusion that the hive body was the cause of their demise?
most bees in NE winter in wooden hives and do just fine.
 

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Wood hives and the beemax hives in same bee yard ,same conditions and my beemax hives were the ones that made it thru winters. Were all hives identical regarding colony strength numbers etc I can't say they were with 100% but I will say darn close.
 
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