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I don't have any poly hives. I do use screen bottom boards, However mine are made so I can close them off with 3/4 ply. It is an experiment of sorts in that I angle drilled 4 down angled 1" vent holes down the sides above the closed out screen. (With screen over the holes) My reasoning is that we see a range of temperature above and below freezing during the winter with a lot of wind sometimes. I did not want the bees to contend with a strong updraft in the hive. I can tape off the holes as well, but usually leave 1 or 2 open. Entrance is reduced to 3/4 X 3/8. I also use a metal water vapor deflector over the top feeder box so that condensate runs into the box and not on the bees.

So far I haven't put in any top entrances. The feeder box gets some insulation. So far it has worked well.

I think bees are somewhat adaptable to various amounts of air flow because they typically live in tree hollows. They also propolize holes shut.

So one thing I might try is to add some punky wood frames at the 1 and 10 positions to maybe absorb moisture and give it up. Sort of imitating a tree hollow.

Don't know what the average winter humidity level is in Finland but I expect it is on the dry side. Where I live humidity can be a problem in the winter.

A tree hollow will typically have a 2 -3 or more inch thick wall. I've cut a lot of trees down and this is what I see. It also has walls that absorb and give up moisture. I don't know if anyone has looked at where in a hollow bees prefer their nests but it would be something to figure out. I do know that there is often a lot of empty hollow above the nest. At least this is what I have observed from video's of cut outs.

Maybe some data gathering of a hive purposely put in a hollow tree section might provide some insight? It would be fun to see what they do.
 

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I've followed Juhani Lunden's guidance exactly and can report that overwhelming, our poly hives are exhibiting better performance year round compared to our wood hives.
Feels good. :thumbsup:

I dont´t know if the Paradise boxes in US still have grooved upper and lower surfaces (like in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_m08HBDS1E, these are much preferred in Central Europe, but not used in Finland).
If you prefer boxes with even/plain/smooth tops and bottoms (like wooden boxes) they make them here in Finland, too. :D



Company Mesimestari and HoneyPaw boxes. However I do not know are they sold in US.
Here is video from UK.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR1nrIOjnh8
 

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Last year I wintered 2 - 6 frame poly nucs. for the life of me I can't remember the brand right now. I got them from blueskybeesupply.com. Anyway, I was really impressed with the results. Those 2 nucs ended up being ridiculously strong for their size. Screened bottom was open. entrance reduced. and they were on a stand about 16 inches from the ground. both of them were proportionally stronger than half of my 10 frame hives.

With that being said, I live in south arkansas. Winters are virtually non existant. it only gets to the high 20's for about 2 days every 3 years. it'll stay in the 30's-40's for about 2-3 weeks TOTAL. the rest of the winter is flying weather for the bees.

I'm still using those 2 boxes for making nucs, but I dont plan to purchase any more of them. I think for winter purposes, its overkill for my area. The bottom board has a weird shape which prevents it from sitting flat on top of a wooden bottom board. I like to put my nucs on top of a wood bottom board until they're ready to move in a 10 frame box right there. OAV is a pain because the hot tip on the provap melts the poly so you gotta kinda "wing it". overall the hive is bigger in all dimensions since the poly is like 1 1/2 thick so it takes up more space than what I think a nuc should.

It's a great hive body and I really like it, but I don't think it has much of a place in my current operation.
 

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I have 2 Lyson 6-frame nucs on the way with extra top box and feeders. I think I will like having them in 6 over 6 config to allow for harvesting a donor frame or two, assuming we make it through winter.

This is my first year doing nucs at all and I have 6-8 left in Jester boxes. That's not going to cut it in TN mountains without wrapping thoroughly. Thanks for advice, I will likely move all my nucs into these in Oct.
 

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I have 240 colonies, all of them in polystyrene manufactured at Superior Bee in Ohio USA. They are a full 2 inches thick. We are in a harsh zone 3 climate but I think the insulation benefits the colony just as much in the heat. I keep the bottom shut tight year round. There is visible condensation in the form of icicles hanging from the bottom of the hive because the condensation forms on the walls and runs down and out. I have no top ventilation at all. I do add another 2 inches of pink board on top of the lid for the winter, so about R20 on the roof and R10 on walls. Condensation may be a good thing as long as bees are not getting wet, because they have water to drink but also varroa does not like the high humidity. In the spring 90% of the top bar area has no water stains or mold, just a little bit in the 4 corners. My bottom entrance opening (the only one) is the larger of the two on a standard reducer about 3/8" x 4".
I have this year started using the lid as a solid bottom board. I use it in the same orientation as the lid on top, so another words right side up. I do prefer it for quite a few reasons, the bottom board that comes with a polystyrene hive leaves much to be desired. The only drawback for me so far is that I have to make reducers a custom size as the opening is about an 1/8" bigger (in height) than the standard reducer. And I also have to make plug for the back side because the lid is open on front and back when used as bottom board. This plug is a solid piece of wood, no entrance.
 

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I have 240 colonies, all of them in polystyrene manufactured at Superior Bee in Ohio USA. They are a full 2 inches thick. We are in a harsh zone 3 climate but I think the insulation benefits the colony just as much in the heat. I keep the bottom shut tight year round. There is visible condensation in the form of icicles hanging from the bottom of the hive because the condensation forms on the walls and runs down and out. I have no top ventilation at all. I do add another 2 inches of pink board on top of the lid for the winter, so about R20 on the roof and R10 on walls. Condensation may be a good thing as long as bees are not getting wet, because they have water to drink but also varroa does not like the high humidity. In the spring 90% of the top bar area has no water stains or mold, just a little bit in the 4 corners. My bottom entrance opening (the only one) is the larger of the two on a standard reducer about 3/8" x 4".
I have this year started using the lid as a solid bottom board. I use it in the same orientation as the lid on top, so another words right side up. I do prefer it for quite a few reasons, the bottom board that comes with a polystyrene hive leaves much to be desired. The only drawback for me so far is that I have to make reducers a custom size as the opening is about an 1/8" bigger (in height) than the standard reducer. And I also have to make plug for the back side because the lid is open on front and back when used as bottom board. This plug is a solid piece of wood, no entrance.
Thanks for ALL that level of detail. I have 6 more 6-frame polys that arrived today. Already liking this setup, and you answered just about everything I was wondering. My hope was to plug up the holes and vents, keep it warm, and get 1-2 more weeks of comb-drawing and brooding on each beginning and end of the season. Our growing season is about a 6-8 weeks shorter than the nearby valleys. Of course our winter is beach weather compared to yours. Thanks again! :D
 

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Hey Joebeewhisperer,
Glad it helped you.
Cal
Thanks, I moved everyone into polys today that was not already in a 10-frame wood setup. I have one deep that's falling apart with a packed medium over it. I may go ahead and set it up in a 10-frame poly soon. I know millions of hives exist in 3/4" lumber, but I've never seen one in the wild with that kind of exposure. I like this high-R thing. Thanks again! :)
 
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