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Jamanda

Polystyrene bee hives

They had one of these at the apiary this evening. Other than snobbiness about the aesthetics of the thing I'm trying hard to think of any disadvantages over a traditional wooden single skinned national (with which they are completely compatible)

They are much better insulated and tests show they only vary in temperature inside by 2 degrees whether it's freezing out or scorching hot.

They are water proof so the walls don't get damp in Winter.

They are light to handle

They last at least 20 years - probably longer but that's the longest anyone's had one at the apiary.

They are cheaper

They take about 5 minutes to assemble.

Any comments?
Tavascarow

I know they are popular in the cold scandinavian countries.
I haven't any experience of them.
My only doubts would be possibly easier damaged by pests like mice.
Possible moisture build up inside the hive, wood breathes poly doesn't.
Can't be repaired like a wood hive.
I think the advantages probably out weigh the disadvantages but I've plenty of spare wood hives to last me a lifetime so I doubt I will bother.
Very Happy
kevin.vinke

that´s what is used here, presumably to get through the cold winters. They are kept in a wooden hut with one side open with the hives sitting on a "bar" facing the woods.
I went passed there the other week though and they had all been removed so not sure what´s happened to them all.
random

They are very common here in Sweden, and the good ones don't have any disadvantages over wooden hives as far as I can tell. Some of the cheaper ones are softer and the bees nibble them. It's true they can get condensation as they don't breathe but that is easily solved with a mesh floor [and thats better for varroa too]

Cleaning them requires a different routine as obviously you can't put a blowtorch over them like you can a wooden hive. I use a strong lye solution.
Jamanda

The one I saw had a mesh floor. We were told white spirit for disinfecting them and to paint the out side with masonry paint as UV light can damage the polystyrene over time.
Lionheart

Any idea where you can buy these from in the UK? Might be worth a go later in the season.....
Mrs Fiddlesticks

would their lightness be a problem with the hive tipping over in strong winds?
random

Mrs Fiddlesticks wrote:
would their lightness be a problem with the hive tipping over in strong winds?


I use a ratchet strap to hold mine to the bases, but once full they are actually quite heavy. The polystyrene is much more dense than that used for packing etc.
joanne

Stamford sell them http://www.stamfordham.biz/Hive%20Parts2008.htm

The only disadvantage I know of is that they can easily get damaged on the corners when you are opening up the hives plus they don't last as long and you then have all that polystyrene to get rid of - also as mentioned before - the bee's like to nibble them

I've used both wooden and poly hives in the club apiary and I've got to say that I much prefer the wooden hives and so do the bee's - - I just don't like the idea of housing my bees in all that plastic - If we had winters like Scandanavia I would use them but we don't - if you want more insulation - go for a WBC hive

I don't even think they are any cheaper - I pay about £110 per auction for a UK sourced Cedar hive from eBay - Stamford charge £112 per hive
Chez

jocorless wrote:
if you want more insulation - go for a WBC hive


I would say that, too, but I am a fervent WBC person Smile.

If they do the job, then that's all that matters; but if you kept chickens you'd have to keep them away from them, as per the 'what to do with the meat-packing boxes thread'. Laughing
Jamanda

jocorless wrote:
Stamford sell them http://www.stamfordham.biz/Hive%20Parts2008.htm

The only disadvantage I know of is that they can easily get damaged on the corners when you are opening up the hives plus they don't last as long and you then have all that polystyrene to get rid of - also as mentioned before - the bee's like to nibble them

I've used both wooden and poly hives in the club apiary and I've got to say that I much prefer the wooden hives and so do the bee's - - I just don't like the idea of housing my bees in all that plastic - If we had winters like Scandanavia I would use them but we don't - if you want more insulation - go for a WBC hive

I don't even think they are any cheaper - I pay about £110 per auction for a UK sourced Cedar hive from eBay - Stamford charge £112 per hive


These ones were £60 including varroa board and queen exluder.
Chez

Jamanda wrote:
These ones were £60 including varroa board and queen exluder.


That's really good value.
Jamanda

Chez wrote:
Jamanda wrote:
These ones were £60 including varroa board and queen exluder.


That's really good value.


It is isn't it? They seemed quite robust. As I say one guy had had one for 20 years. I wonder if I should try one and a wooden one.
RichardW

Chez wrote:
jocorless wrote:
if you want more insulation - go for a WBC hive


I would say that, too, but I am a fervent WBC person Smile.

If they do the job, then that's all that matters; but if you kept chickens you'd have to keep them away from them, as per the 'what to do with the meat-packing boxes thread'. Laughing


Could some one devise a plan to convert the meat packing boxes into a bee hive?

I know nothing about bees or would try my self.

Justme
Chez

Justme wrote:
Could some one devise a plan to convert the meat packing boxes into a bee hive?


Is the polystyrene the same density? I think it would make a difference to the robustness if it wasn't.
RichardW

I doubt it. Also you would have to make all the parts (IE frames) as the size would be wrong for standard bits. Poss better to use the box walls as insulation in a double skined wooden one.


Justme
random

Justme wrote:

Could some one devise a plan to convert the meat packing boxes into a bee hive?
Justme


The polystyrene is much more dense than that used in meat packing boxes. Packing boxes are so soft the bees would nibble away at it. Also the hives are made as a single piece with no joints which contibutes to their rigidity and strength
boisdevie1

Company in Poland

http://www.lyson.com.pl/lang_en/sklep.php?akcja=produkt&p_id=629&g_id=1

Is selling them for 44.29euros. Don't know what the delivery costs are but that seems pretty cheap to me.
joanne

Thats a Langstroth Hive - Not a commonly used hive in the UK - for some reason most hobbyists prefer to use Nationals or WBC's with Smiths in Scotland - The commercial guys use deep commercial brood boxes and matching supers as they have lifting gear

We were talking about poly hives again on Saturday - Another disadvantage that came up is that you can't flame them to sterlise them like you can with the wooden hives
Jamanda

jocorless wrote:
Thats a Langstroth Hive - Not a commonly used hive in the UK - for some reason most hobbyists prefer to use Nationals or WBC's with Smiths in Scotland - The commercial guys use deep commercial brood boxes and matching supers as they have lifting gear

We were talking about poly hives again on Saturday - Another disadvantage that came up is that you can't flame them to sterlise them like you can with the wooden hives


Apparently you use white spirit. I decided against them, for now at least.
joanne

Jamanda wrote:

Apparently you use white spirit. I decided against them, for now at least.


Ahh thats interesting - I'll pass that titbit on - Thanks Mandy Very Happy Very Happy
spicycauldron

Polystyrene. White spirit. All sounds a bit... unnatural, compared to wooden hives. Also not remotely recyclable, as well as a contributor to landfill and having long-term degradability issues.

And isn't polystyrene made from fossil fuel, ie an oil product or by-product?

White spirit's not a good thing to go splashing round the garden either.
Jamanda

spicycauldron wrote:
Polystyrene. White spirit. All sounds a bit... unnatural, compared to wooden hives. Also not remotely recyclable, as well as a contributor to landfill and having long-term degradability issues.

And isn't polystyrene made from fossil fuel, ie an oil product or by-product?

White spirit's not a good thing to go splashing round the garden either.


That's why I decided against them.
RoofTops

These people have just announced they will be selling them in the UK in a few weeks: www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk This sort of hive dominates the market in the rest of Northern Europe, for example 99% of all new hives sold in Denmark are plastic. They are lighter, better for the bees (20% more honey according to a Scottish bee farmer with over a thousand hives) and significantly cheaper. The lack of green image is not really appropriate. They will last for 30 years if made of the high density stuff and are a much more appropriate use of fossil fuels than burning it in fuel tanks or as plastic packing around doughnuts. I only ever had one wooden hive and junked it for polystyrene 5 years ago. I wouldn't go back and now have 7 with bees.

Clean them with washing soda and sterilise with domestic bleach or better still Zircon. Paint with Cuprinol Garden Shades. Better than masonry paint as it remains flexible. Leave the white spirit in the shed.

And they don't blow over in the wind.
TheGrange

Jamanda wrote:


These ones were £60 including varroa board and queen exluder.


I've just paid 53.00 for secondhand vacant for 12 years cedar complete hives... so i guess they are on a par with a secondhand hive
Barefoot Andrew

Good luck!
A.

PS Where abouts in the Peaks are you?
Bulgarianlily

Ah that is why the hives here look a funny shape, they are langstrorths! That has been oddly worrying me for the last two years. They tend to have the entrance half way up as well which looks odd.

I would be interested to know if the bee problems are more, the same or less in areas that have different hives....
Poly Hive

Some information.

Poly hives have been in the UK since 1987.

There is an article in next months Beecraft on them.

There are no sterilization issues.

The critical density is 100gms per liter.

There are NO condensation issues at all. Bees often start brooding on the frame side next to the hive wall.

Having kept bees on a reasonably large scale for many years, and currently being all poly, I can say with some assurance, bees prefer poly to wood.

Happy beekeeping.

Poly Hive. Smile
mochasidamo

spicycauldron wrote:
Polystyrene. White spirit. All sounds a bit... unnatural, compared to wooden hives. Also not remotely recyclable, as well as a contributor to landfill and having long-term degradability issues.

And isn't polystyrene made from fossil fuel, ie an oil product or by-product?

White spirit's not a good thing to go splashing round the garden either.


That's why I decided against them.


The voice of reason. We are (sadly, largely) custodians of the environment and the vital subject of anthropomorphic climate change seems no longer to trouble many. It will Sad

And PH how can you reasonably say the bees prefer them when not given a choice?
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