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Hi all

Dose anybody use these in the USA. I had a little search around and I cant seem to find much.

I have just moved over to running all polystyrene mediums (for interchangeable frames and light weight).

There's a lot of talk about wrapping and overwintering, poly hives seem to be a great answer to this. Cool in the summer warm in the winter they last for about 30+ years, they use them in Finland -22 f or lower.

Just interested dose anyone use them :D
 

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There is a guy in my area, who uses them, I think he has 2 hives he wraps them in 2" foam and tar paper for winter, don't ask me why. I am in Maine and we see 30 below at least a couple times a year, my hives 3/4" pine not wraped in anything seem to come thru just fine.
 

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I've trialed them since 2002. My experiences can be found at pages listed at http://tinyurl.com/y9ya6ff

The above URL points to a search page where there are numerous references to my comments over time, and also pointers to some neighbours who have a novel application for them and winter 1100 in singles up here in the Great White North. You may have to use your search in page (Ctrl+f) for "styrofoam" or "styro" to find the relevant parts.

I hope this helps.
 

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I have a buddy that has one that he's been evaluating. I was surprised to hear that a mouse eat through a section of the hive, just above his mouse guard and entered the hive. Seems that the mouse knew that polystyrene isn't too tough.
 

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All polystyrene is not the same. I've seen some that were junk. The polystyrene currently sold by Betterbee and Dadant are absolute top quality. I had a hand in their development and can tell you the quality is only because Betterbee and Dadant insisted that it be there. In fact, these are so dense that the supplier initially said it could not be done!

For a hobbyist it is hard to find a reason not to use them. For a commercial guy who wants to bounce them off trucks, etc. it is another matter. I especially encourage women to try them because of the lack of weight.

All that said, they are not all that much better than wood for overwintering. I recall the R-factor for wood is .5 per inch of thickness. The super-dense Polystyrene used for the Dadant and Betterbee hives is significantly higher (I forget the number) but is still very very low compared to what is used in the walls of a house in the northern part of North America. Bees just do not need much insulation as long as they have wind protection.

Lloyd
 

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I'm entering my fourth season using BeeMax hives. I'm not sure I would say they are warmer in the winter as the bees only heat the cluster area and not the ambiant region between the cluster and the wall of the hive. I have no reason to believe they are necessarily cooler in the summer, either.

So far, they have held up well. Ants eat them up pretty easily.

Grant
Jackson, MO
 

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I use the Beemax Telescoping Top made for Langstroth Hives, I do not see a difference between them and the wood/metal tops in the R value for overwintering. I do like them because they are lighter and cooler in the summer, much cooler on the underside than the others. I do have a complete Beemax Hive used for collecting swarms and for temporary housing, very easy to lug around :)
 

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I'm running BeeMax hives here in Colorado. Both of them made it through the winter. No problems with condensation, although the humidity is very low here. The feeders are very well designed.

My only complaint is the local equipment supplier doesn't carry them, so I have to mail order supers, bottom boards, covers, etc.
 

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Agree with most things stated about BeeMax Hives. I run about 25 of them and about the same number of wood. I did notice that the Beemax seemed to be about 2 weeks ahead of the wood during spring buildup. The bees don't cluster on the outside as badly in the summer (does that mean cooler?).

You CANNOT bounce them off a truck, as previously stated. Had one fall off the Gator over the weekend and it broke into 3 pieces. Because the styro is so dense, all the breaks were clean and I had it back together in less than 5 minutes.

Don't particularly care for the bottom boards. The big indention allows lots of burr comb to be built downward. I think the screen needs to be on the topside of the BB, not the bottom. In fact, I will probably rotate the BB's through this summer and change the screen.

They absolutley must be painted as the styro is not UV stable. Also, don't let the school kids do it unless you totally trust them :D. Way too many cracks that don't get painted unless they pay close attention. Won't say how I found this out. Wouldn't think you could mess up painting bee boxes.

Last thing is the little piece of plastic used for a frame rest. It works great, however the little void it leaves between it and the end is a great place for SHB to do their thing. Because the frame ends overhang this void, the bees have a hard time policing the SHB population.
 

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good to see sexism isn't dead :thumbsup:
Making an observation based off of a common trait of the human species is hardly Sexism, I suppose If the same statement was made about making beekeeping a little easier for elderly beekeepers that would be Ageism? Granted I have met many strong women in my time, and many I would not want to meet in a dark alley, likewise I have met many men that would have a difficult time hefting a full wooden super. However for the most part it is still an observation of the species. A "majority" of the human female would benefit from a lighter load if given the option.
 

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> I did notice that the Beemax seemed to be about 2 weeks ahead of the wood during spring buildup.

Odd. I noticed the opposite, but when all was said and done, I got the same number of splits from each as the season progressed.

I also noted significantly higher varroa levels in the Beemax hives in fall compared to wood.

Neither is more than a casual one-time observation I made a few years back when these were things I happened to actually measure in the course of what I was doing at the time.
 

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Making an observation based off of a common trait of the human species is hardly Sexism, I suppose If the same statement was made about making beekeeping a little easier for elderly beekeepers that would be Ageism? Granted I have met many strong women in my time, and many I would not want to meet in a dark alley, likewise I have met many men that would have a difficult time hefting a full wooden super. However for the most part it is still an observation of the species. A "majority" of the human female would benefit from a lighter load if given the option.
Or you could have said "the lighter hive bodies would benefit people who have difficulty lifting heavy objects"

I think that the majority of women are much stronger than you think. And elderly to a certain point for that matter
 

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A "majority" of the human female would benefit from a lighter load if given the option.
Wouldn't everyone benefit from a lighter load? I don't see why it is not sufficient to say that using all mediums or poly hives is much lighter then the alternatives. Michael Bush does a lovely job of explaining the benefits of lighter equipment without saying it is especially useful for women or old people.

ETA: cold I lift a wood deep full of honey? probably. Would I prefer to lift somethng ligher? yes. If I ever start a lang hive I'll probably choose to use 8 fram medium with weight being PART of the deciding factor.
 

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Actually, I find the Beemax boxes harder to lift than wood. There is not much difference in weight between the two types, but there is a noticeable difference in size and awkwardness.

For those who want less weight and size there is always 8-frame equipment. Unfortunately, I know of none in Styrofoam.

Now if we really wanted an ideal brood box, how about a jumbo styro box. Again, none are on the market, at least that I know about.

There, now, is a box nobody would want to lift if it got plugged!
 

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Now if we really wanted an ideal brood box, how about a jumbo styro box. Again, none are on the market, at least that I know about.
What size Jumbo are you thinking? Sweinty in Denmark has a selection.
 

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Yeah. They have lots of cool stuff. One of my styro boxes is a sample I got from them years ago. I wonder... I guess I should look, but then I have to figure the freight. Ouch!

I like their boxes a bit better than Betterbee's. Betterbee's boxes knock down and that is much better for shipping, but also less tough in daily use.

Next, we have to get Nick to make some jumbo Pierco frames, preferably black...
 
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