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Author Topic: Foam boxes,etc.  (Read 3655 times)
OPAVP
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« on: February 12, 2011, 09:33:23 PM »

Hi guys,
Most of you know that in Europe and also here in N.America bee boxes made out of foam products are/sold.
Two or three different brands.

Have any of you used/are using this type of super?
My questions: Do they improve the early build up of packages or splits in early spring. Reasoning that the 2 0r 3 " thick walls  must make the boxes easier to heat for the bees and thus promotes faster increase.  Another question:  I switched to all shallow boxes a couple of years ago. Easier lifting,etc.

Do you think that the queens lay better on deep frames,than on two shallow frames ?
Does the bee space between bottom and top box restrict laying?

If 60000-70000 workers are needed for good honey yields,how many boxes are needed?
2 deeps? 3 shallows?


Let me know what you think.
Greetings from Alberta,Canada.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2011, 10:04:21 PM »

>Have any of you used/are using this type of super?

They are available in mediums and deeps...

>My questions: Do they improve the early build up of packages or splits in early spring.

I have not seen that.  A hive with less insulation seems to warm up on a sunny day and the foam ones do not.  This warming allows cleansing flights and stores to be rearranged.  It also seemed to have more condensation.  Perhaps they could work better.  I have seen Italian hives in them that were booming but probably booming too early...

> Reasoning that the 2 0r 3 " thick walls  must make the boxes easier to heat for the bees and thus promotes faster increase.

Maybe.  I have not seen that.

> Another question:  I switched to all shallow boxes a couple of years ago. Easier lifting,etc.

And I switched to mediums...

>Do you think that the queens lay better on deep frames,than on two shallow frames ?

No.  She moves more easily from box to box on the shallows and the cluster moves more easily from frame to frame when the cluster spans the gap  between the boxes.

>Does the bee space between bottom and top box restrict laying?

No.  Between to deeps she hesitates to move up and down because they are almost big enough for her.  With mediums (and I would assume shallows as well) she has no trouble deciding.

>If 60000-70000 workers are needed for good honey yields,how many boxes are needed?
2 deeps? 3 shallows?

Three mediums = 2 deeps.  I have not done the math on a shallow, but I'd say it takes four shallows = 2 deeps because you lose a bit for top bars and bottom bars and space between the boxes.

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Michael Bush
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edward
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2011, 04:21:10 AM »

Aah you lucky  evil your starved for choice , here in Sweden we have

langstroth hives ( double deep,deep,and shallow)
Low normal
Swea,1/2swea

Oh what fun we have debating which frame size is best , then we can decide to argue about what size of boxes to use and finally if we should use wood or frigolte/Styrofoam hives

Keeps us warm in the long dark winter months  hissy fit soapbox banana devil whip beat a dead horse I dunno hissy fit

Some universal truths , low , lightweight are easier to work with.

If you think ahead , bend your knees and not your back when you lift think what your doing , plan for a long and healthy beekeeping career,hobby


<<<My questions: Do they improve the early build up of packages or splits in early spring. Reasoning that the 2 0r 3 " thick walls  must make the boxes easier to heat for the bees and thus promotes faster increase.

? dont know , have not used all wooden hive without insulation.
If I have smal hives or I want them to draw new wax comb I will restrikt the ventalation so it is easyer for the bees to keep the hive warm.

 <<< Another question:  I switched to all shallow boxes a couple of years ago. Easier lifting,etc.

Yes... definatly smaler lighter boxes are easyer to lift and cary , easyer on the spine

<<<Do you think that the queens lay better on deep frames,than on two shallow frames ?

This is a question for the beekeeper and the way he whants to keep his bees!
Bees can build a hive anywhere , chimnys , walls , trees ,

<<<Does the bee space between bottom and top box restrict laying?

havent noticed any problems.

<<<If 60000-70000 workers are needed for good honey yields,how many boxes are needed?
2 deeps? 3 shallows?

Sounds about right , you might whant to add a forth shallow in the spring time.

 Sad grin
Now the right way to keep bees,, .. ... ............ ... .. .

 :roll:This is how I keep my bees.  rolleyes

Frigolite/styrofoam - light and easy to lift , easy for the bees to control the in hive conditions , Warm winter , cool in summer.

Keeps heat/cold in and out.

1 Doubel deep as brood nest , also as winter residence , strong hives may need an extra shallow in spring time. Less frames to work with , easyer to find queen , bigger brood patern with out interuption.

For Honey harvest I use frigolite/styrofoam shallows.

I have colueags that have boxes that are over 30 years old , they are UV sensative so they nead a coat of paint.


mvh edward Tongue




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Finski
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2011, 04:45:01 AM »

.

Have any of you used/are using this type of super?

I have nursed bees in Finland 47 years. First I have American type uninsulated wooden boxes.

Then I tried  plastic foam boxes first time 1987 and they we so good that later I have bought 3 brood deeps per hive. In summer I use those old wooden box as supers.

Quote

My questions: Do they improve the early build up of packages or splits in early spring.

They save 1/3 ow winter food and there is no  afraid that the food will cease.
It makes build up better and you get erlier yield.

But if you split early the colony, that is draw back in colony build up.

Real early build up need patty feeding 3 weeks earlier than willow starts blooming.

Quote


Reasoning that the 2 0r 3 " thick walls  

Polystyrene hives have 3 cm thick walls, not 5 or 7 cm.

Quote

I switched to all shallow boxes a couple of years ago. Easier lifting,etc.

Do you think that the queens lay better on deep frames,than on two shallow frames ?
Does the bee space between bottom and top box restrict laying?

Strong huive has no troubles with those body gaps. Many here use merely medium boxes.
It makes good to back pain.

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Finski
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2011, 04:50:24 AM »

.
continues


Quote


If 60000-70000 workers are needed for good honey yields,how many boxes are needed?
2 deeps? 3 shallows?

When canola or fireweed or raspberrygives a good flow, 3 deeps + 4-5 medium supers are needed.

I use 3 broods because it has many reasons:

- the lowest box has only pollen and nectar when entrance is wide open
- every year I need to draw a new box or 1,5 box of foundations and it happens during a good flow.
- swarming fever cutting with false swarm needs deep boxes too.
- honey handling , extraction and transporting needs extra boxes.

- old boxes are usefull to store old combs before melting.what you think.
Greetings from Alberta,Canada.
[/quote]
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Finski
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2011, 04:55:53 AM »

.
Here hives are just transported and loaded for fireweed yield

later they needed 1-2 empty mediums more.

Those wooden boxes are 45 years old. I paint them in 20 years cycles Smiley



White styro boxes have foundations. No time to paint them.

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Robo
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2011, 07:16:18 AM »

I use the BeeMax polystyrene hive and nucs.




I also see a 25-30% less winter food consumption with the poly hives over the wooden Langstroth. 

The amount of brood a colony can raise is dependent on the amount of bees they have and how much brood they can cover and keep warm. In a warmer hive, the bees do not need to cluster as tight and can cover more brood.   Solar heat plays no part in this as the coldest times are at night when the sun is not shining.  Once again, it is more about the quantity of bees and breed than the box they are in,  but with equal population of bees, in general, my experience has been the polys will have a better build up.
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OPAVP
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2011, 09:18:03 AM »

Finsky,

I would build the boxes with 6cm. high density foam. @1/2 or 3 ""inchesThank you all.
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Finski
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2011, 09:44:35 AM »

Finsky,

I would build the boxes with 6cm. high density foam. @1/2 or 3 ""inchesThank you all.

It is waste of time and work to make DYI hives. Ants love them. They chew them if bees do not chew them.
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2011, 11:39:40 AM »

I have tried the styrofoam boxes and liked them for a few years. Last year I pulled a medium foam box for inspection with aggravating results. When I placed it on the ground on edge to inspect the next below it, two of the corners split and not at the glued joints but at the body end of the fingers. I then had to gather the spilled frames and try to salvage as many of the surviving bees as possible. I didn't do anything different than what I do with wooden supers and maybe that is what the problem is. It may require a completely flat surface to distribute the load evenly to the sides when standing. This I rarely have so I am replacing the foam boxes with wood as is possible. I have had old wooden boxes break also but not as completely and never nearly new ones.
Maybe it was just a fluke but that experience and the fragility in separating boxes has changed my mind about them.

Bruce
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2011, 04:09:37 PM »

Hello OPAVP,

Where are you going to get 3” high density foam?  What is the R value?
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Finski
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2011, 04:28:10 PM »

.
When you repair polystyrene boxes, use polyurethane glue in it. It hardens with moisture and attach to plastic.

Bees bite entrances bigger, woodperckers make holes and if you drop the heavy box, it goes to pieces.

When you use polyurethane glue, spray a little bit water on surfaces. Glue makes small foam. Add screw to make broken box firm.

When you repairs a hole, cut from polystyrene wall a hole kind piece and add a glue + water mist.

**********

I have made mating nucs from big boxes. I split a commercial box in 3 parts with table saw. Then I make a missing wall from ordinary insulation styro foam board. Paint the boards that anst cannot into board.

Glue + screw the missing wall to the nuc.

.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2011, 04:34:06 PM »

Woodpeckers?  Thank God I haven’t had that problem yet!
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OPAVP
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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2011, 05:25:01 PM »

Blue Bee,
You buy 3" building foam in 2" X 8" sheets at the lumber yard. R value I don't know. One sheet=$ 28.00
I have made two nuc boxes,for 4 frames, out of 2" foam,same stuff. A couple coats of paint and seemed to last well.
 Glue it with waterproof glue!
 Handles well on the table saw.

Finsky:

What latitude do you live near?
I'm just a couple of miles south of latitude of 50 degrees North. at 3000 ft.above sea level.

We have appr. 120 frost free days.  Last frost about last week in May. First frost 2nd.week of Sept.

Greetings.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2011, 05:45:39 PM »

OK OPAVP, I think we’re on the same page now.

I figured you were probably talking about the pink or blue stuff.  You threw me off calling it high density.   I call it low density extruded polystyrene, with an R value of 5 per inch.  So 3” thick stuff would have a R value of about 15.  Very substantial.  I suspect that is much higher than the R value of Finski’s hives.  Not sure if they use the term “R value” over there or not.

I have cut plenty of the stuff on my table saw, but feel it is vey dangerous because the stuff binds my blade too easily and the foam dust is likely toxic.  I wear a good breathing mask.  The next time I cut some, I’m going to try using NiCr wire instead of the table saw. 

My bees will eat thru that low density foam unless some precautions are taken to prevent it.  Really I think it was the robbers that did the most chewing.

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AllenF
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« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2011, 07:46:52 PM »

I am wondering if any one has every tried to wrap a foam box with exterior plywood on the outside for strength or increased life?
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« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2011, 07:52:07 PM »

From my observations - if you have hives on a 4-way pallet.  If you have a styrofoam hive and a wooden hive on the sunny side, you have more activity with the styrofoam hive.  On the shady side, wooden boxes warm up faster and they have more activity than styrofoam boxes.

The one piece foam boxes are more durable than the BeeMax boxes you assemble.  The BeeMax boxes are not as rugged, and I would be cautious using them in a commercial operation unless you were very gentle with them.

Allen Dick at www.honeybeeworld.com has been looking into getting some foam boxes made if there is sufficient interest.  You may want to contact him.  He has also played around with styrofoam boxes the past few years and posted his experiences.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2011, 08:12:16 PM »

Allen, I have wrapped the inside of a foam hive with Laun before, but not the outside.

A wood interior core makes for a pretty sturdy box, but it is a messy glue job to assemble.  My paws were black from Gorilla glue for a week.

What I like about exterior foam, is once it is protected from UV (painted), it is immune from weathering.  With all the freezing and thawing up here, I fear a plywood exterior would delaminate fairly quickly.  Robo's corregated plastic election signs might be a good exterior covering for more protection from mechanical dings.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2011, 10:01:10 PM by BlueBee » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2011, 08:33:06 PM »

I've had good luck with the Beemax boxes.  I was very skeptical at first, but am quite pleased with how tough they are. Ya they ding a lot easier,  but I find the box joints to be much sturdier than wooden boxes.  The beemax boxes have no rack to them and I don't even glue.

They also repair a lot easier than wood.   I had a bear attack this year.  Beemax super snapped cleanly into two "L"s that I glued back together in a couple of minutes and it was as good as new, minus a bear claw mark. The wooden supers I ended up burning.
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Finski
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« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2011, 12:16:09 AM »

I am wondering if any one has every tried to wrap a foam box with exterior plywood on the outside for strength or increased life?

That is maddness. My oldest foam boxes are 23 years old and they are Ok.
Boxes need no strenghtening. If you put plywood in boxes you cannot clean them.

Last summer I bout tens of used 20 years old foam boxes 7 euros a piece.

Foam box weight is 1 kg.
*********************

I made my own boxes from construction styrofoam boxes. They collapsed before I used them. They are so soft that even glue do not keep pieces to together of screws.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2011, 12:34:33 AM by Finski » Logged

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