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Author Topic: Building Styrofoam Hives  (Read 2987 times)

Offline homer

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Building Styrofoam Hives
« on: December 31, 2009, 06:35:49 PM »
Has anyone ever make their own hives or nucs out of styrofoam before?  Just curious as based on the cost of the hives as compared to the cost of a sheet of styro insulation one could save a bundle of money!  For those that have Beemax hives, how thick are the hive body walls and the top?

Offline Bee Happy

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Re: Building Styrofoam Hives
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2009, 07:24:17 PM »
I could see the propolis making that a very difficult thing to manage. unless you gel-cote the outer surface; but that's another set of expenses.
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Offline fermentedhiker

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Re: Building Styrofoam Hives
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2009, 08:18:04 PM »
The actually seem to use propolis less in polystyrene hives.  The problem I see with making you own is getting the right material.  The beemax hives you see for sale are made from polystyrene which is much denser and stronger than the blue/pink/foil back type foam sheets you see at building supply stores.  You would have to coat the blue/pink board with something to keep the bees from chewing it out and lugging it off as trash.  All of them would probably require some sort of framework to give them the strength necessary to hold up.  If you do try it be sure to take pictures and keep us posted on your results.
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Offline contactme_11

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Re: Building Styrofoam Hives
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2009, 08:36:39 PM »
I would never do this because offgassing from that would probably kill your bees as soon as it gets hot.

Offline homer

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Re: Building Styrofoam Hives
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2009, 08:42:43 PM »
I would never do this because offgassing from that would probably kill your bees as soon as it gets hot.

Do the polystyrene hives not have this problem?  I was unaware of it!

Offline Finski

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Re: Building Styrofoam Hives
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2009, 09:44:30 PM »
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I have used polystyrene hives 23 years. They are splended.
It saves 30% of winter food and spring build up is fast.
The most important is that they are kind to back. Empty boxes weight is 1 kg.

To build your own hives from polystyrene is not wise at all.
Ants like them and make tunnels into material.
Hives spread into your hands.  I made 5 hives and they went broken before I got frames in.

You can clean blastic boxes with hot lye water. It disolves resin and wax and sterilize against diseases.


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Offline homer

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Re: Building Styrofoam Hives
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2009, 09:52:51 PM »
What is so different about home made boxes versus manufactured ones, that would make the home made ones fall apart and the others last?

Offline Sparky

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Re: Building Styrofoam Hives
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2010, 04:54:47 PM »
What is so different about home made boxes versus manufactured ones, that would make the home made ones fall apart and the others last?
Density. The Polystyrene hives are made with a higher form pressure that makes them very dense and more rigid than the porous insulation board materials. If you tap on the two materials you can hear and feel the difference.

Offline homer

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Re: Building Styrofoam Hives
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2010, 08:44:58 PM »
Isn't polystyrene those little foam balls that are formed into a shape?  I can purchase sheets of the stuff, I just need to know the density of the sheets I should buy.

Offline bee-nuts

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Re: Building Styrofoam Hives
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2010, 10:20:59 PM »
I work at a plastics factory.  There are many, many, many kinds of styrene plastics.  Styrenes are cheaper than other plastics that we work with.  The styrenes also have the most health risks when heated.  I would never want my bees around any styrene material when in the summer heat when gases or anything else are released from them.  I definitely don't want my honey in it or it in my honey either.  I don't care who says its safe.
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Offline Sparky

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Re: Building Styrofoam Hives
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2010, 10:59:43 PM »
Isn't polystyrene those little foam balls that are formed into a shape?  I can purchase sheets of the stuff, I just need to know the density of the sheets I should buy.
I personally do not know of a source other than a place like McMaster Carr or MSC that might have such a specialty product of the same density as the material used in the hive bodies and tops for beekeeping. The stuff that you buy at Lowe's and Home Depot is no where near same material. If you were to cut enough material from the sheet product that would equal the size of the compared telescoping cover you will find that the hive top will weigh more because the material is compressed much more and takes more material to make said product of equivalent dimensions.

Offline mswartfager

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Re: Building Styrofoam Hives
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2010, 11:07:06 PM »
I have a Beemax hive and it is definitely a very sturdy, dense, "commercial grade" of polystyrene - unlike anything I have seen in stores or at the home improvement places.  

I tried to use cut sheets of the cheapest polystyrene that I could buy at Home Depot to insulate my wood hives on the inside for winter.  The bees almost immediately started to pick it apart and chew it out.  They apparently didn't want it in there at all.  So I just removed it.  (I was experimenting to see if sliding cut sheets of that ridged insulation inside the hive would work for the winter warmth, but it wasn't to be.)  They don't pick apart or chew at the Beemax hive at all.

 

Offline homer

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Re: Building Styrofoam Hives
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2010, 10:47:07 AM »
I work at a plastics factory.  There are many, many, many kinds of styrene plastics.  Styrenes are cheaper than other plastics that we work with.  The styrenes also have the most health risks when heated.  I would never want my bees around any styrene material when in the summer heat when gases or anything else are released from them.  I definitely don't want my honey in it or it in my honey either.  I don't care who says its safe.

Just FYI, there are tons of beekeepers who very successfully use Polystyrene hives all the time.  They are commercially available and people like them very well, so I don't know that the risks you talk about effect the bees.

Offline Finski

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Re: Building Styrofoam Hives
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2010, 02:39:00 PM »
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We have plastic eveverywhere. Look your car interrior.

I think that in hive pastic it is important that it gives no odor.

Different plastics are hundreds.

And of course,  many use plastic foundations and are afraid of plastic walls.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 03:42:38 PM by Finski »
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