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Author Topic: Bluebees Styrofoam Nucs  (Read 12877 times)
BlueBee
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« Reply #40 on: September 10, 2011, 09:35:25 PM »

Actually out in the barn tonight making more of these dang foam nucs!  My 5 frame deep nucs are getting too crowded.

I think you might be onto something Sparky.  In this batch, I once again used the lamination process since it seems faster to me.  However this time, I plan to feed each laminated side piece through the saw for one final pass to nibble off a kerf or two on the luaun on the ends.

Then when I glue the things up, there will be a channel about 1/8Ē deep with the luaun edges at the bottom of the channel.  I then plan to fill that with caulk or more Gorilla glue to seal the edges and bring it flush to the surface.  

My design is still in flux, plenty of room for refinement.  Keep the ideas coming!
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 10:20:49 PM by BlueBee » Logged
derekm
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« Reply #41 on: September 11, 2011, 06:52:53 AM »

what do coat the wood with?
have you tried epoxy?
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
windfall
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« Reply #42 on: September 11, 2011, 08:07:48 AM »

I was thinking if I did more, that I would laminate first. Then when the pieces are cut use the table saw to remove 2" of luan (or better yet masonite..no formaldehyde) from the appropriate edges. Then the pieces would self reference for assembly and clamping and the endgrain all be buried.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #43 on: September 11, 2011, 01:42:54 PM »

DerekM, I am letting my poly glue foam into the channel gap left when I trimmed back the edges of luaun by a blade kerf width (photo below).  I then trim that with a razor and caulk over to fill any air bubble voids.  Epoxy would be an excellent choice too, but I donít have any in my supplies.

Windfall, I kind of like your idea of back cutting 2Ē of lamination off the side pieces to hide the end grain and make them self reference.  I hadnít thought of that idea.

Folks, itís pretty much a full weekend project to make a batch of these things.  Iím hoping to finish building today and get a coat of primer on.  This new batch is 8 frames wide and holds deep frames.  My process is coming along pretty well, but I still found a thing or two I would change for the next batchÖ.God forbid I have to make more!


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Sparky
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« Reply #44 on: September 11, 2011, 08:17:58 PM »

That is the great thing about beekeeping. There is always things to build or changes to make to improve the equipment that you are using to help keep the bees living or just to make the craft easier on yourself so it is not as much work. Nice job on the insulated hives don't forget to post the results after winter to let us know how you made out.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #45 on: September 12, 2011, 12:27:03 AM »

Another thing Iíve found very helpful when using the lamination first approach, is the use of water weight.  I canít think of a quicker, simpler way to add weight to hold parts down.  The Polyurethane glue I use tries to expand and separate the parts as it foams up.  It requires a lot of weight (or less glue?) to prevent this problem.

I canít take credit for the water weight idea though.  I was inspired by the genius of the AceBird on this one.   I would have used 5 gallon buckets if I had a bunch of spare ones.




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BlueBee
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« Reply #46 on: September 20, 2011, 06:53:37 PM »

I moved a couple of my late season nuc into new 8 frame foam nucs today. 



My little late summer splits are doing pretty well in their foam homes.  They were 2 deep frame splits.  The queens just started laying about Sept 2nd.  Theyíve brooded up their 2 initial frames and combed up and brooded up a third with foundation.  Theyíve covered the frames with about 70% brood so I should have about 12,000 new winter bees pouring into these bigger foam boxes over the next week.   

The nuc on the far side of the bench is my original 5 frame foam nuc design.  A 5f deep with 5f medium super.  Theyíre doing well too.  The 5 frame nucs were built with 2Ē foam, the 8 frame units 1.5Ē foam.
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derekm
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« Reply #47 on: September 21, 2011, 05:59:14 PM »

whats the end one called PV=NRT ?
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
BlueBee
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« Reply #48 on: September 21, 2011, 09:07:31 PM »

Donít worry; I didnít forget your countryman Boyle.

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Grieth
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« Reply #49 on: September 22, 2011, 09:56:36 AM »

Are you suggesting that the Styrofoam nucs give your bees so much gas you can measure it by the pressure buildup in the nuc (hence the note of the formula on the hive) grin
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BBees
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« Reply #50 on: September 25, 2011, 08:45:15 AM »

Bluebee,
I really like your idea. Hives I've played with adding supplemental heat did great. But, maybe you can help me figure out how to use your idea in my out apiaries for overwintering nucs. Moisture seems to be my biggest problem here in north/central NY. Despite the cold winter temps, the relative humidity is often 90+%. Up to this point, my best defense against the moisture has been leaving the SBB open year round, top entrances, 1/2 hole in each box, and quit feeding syrup by Oct. 1st. Even with that, I have dead-outs in the spring just dripping wet. (As a side note, I left some boxes with extra frames of honey in the out-apiaries for spring feed, and they were soaking wet in the spring too!) Any suggestions on how I could use your design and avoid the moisture build-up issue? Do you think a form of quilt boxes adapted to your design are in my future?

Thanks, Steve
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BlueBee
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« Reply #51 on: September 26, 2011, 12:15:22 AM »

BBees youíve got some good questions, and I donít have all the answers. 

I did not have any moisture problems in my foam nucs last winter, but I still donít have enough data/experience in these foam units to make many strong conclusions.  As Finski preaches, bees in foam consume a lot less stores.  The less honey consumed, the less CO2 and H2O vapor the bees will generate.  I speculate that the lesser amount of H2O generated by the bees and the top vent allows enough moisture to escape to prevent moisture problems in the nuc. 

If you wanted to add a quilt (or quilt box) on top of one of these foam nucs, that would be fairly easy to accomplish with my current design.  As you can see in the photo above, I currently use a screened inner cover.   That allows me to easily see how the bees are doing and pour syrup into the food tray (orange thing you see in the photo) to feed them.  There is no reason you couldnít throw a quilt on top of that screen if you wanted. 

This winter Iím wintering in both my original 2 story 5d+5m nucs and this new 8 frame deep design.  This is another experiment to see what  works best.  I know bees like to move up in wood hives during the winter.  However Iím not convinced that is necessary in warmer foam hives.  I would prefer single story foam nucs if they winter just as well.  There are some management issues that work better with just a single story.
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BBees
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« Reply #52 on: September 26, 2011, 07:18:17 AM »

Bluebee, thanks for the reply. I appreciate the work you are doing and your posts. Finding the right temperature/moisture balance for overwintering seems to my biggest challenge in beekeeping.

Good point on less H2O and CO2 from less consumption of stores. I would have to think the warmer environment also widens the temp/dew point spread. Either way, you seem to be on the right track for finding the right temperature/moisture balance to get your girls through winter.

I also like your single hive management idea.

Time to go to the shop and see what I've got to work with.

Thanks again, Steve
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BlueBee
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« Reply #53 on: September 26, 2011, 02:02:06 PM »

It might be worth mentioning that there are a few things I donít like about my 5 frame foam nucs.

When I make up a nuc, I invariably end up with frames that are wider than 35mm and that makes my 5 frame nucs too cramped.  My 5 frames nucs have an inner width of 192mm.  The outer honey frames in your donor hives are almost always much fatter than 35mm.  If you use one of them for a food frame in a 5 frame nuc, you can only fit in 4 frames. 

Summer splits build up fast in these 5 frame nucs and that requires more attention to prevent swarming.  You either have to pull frames of brood or add a super.  Pulling frames can result in pulling a queen too.  Adding a foam super creates its own set of problems.  The fatter matting surface between the foam boxes results in a lot of bees getting squished if you remove the super to inspect the bottom box.  One of those bees could be your queen.  Over time all the dead squished bees compromise the thermals of the mating surfaces.  The bees donít care much for getting squished either. 

Supering foam units also means you have to design in some system for splitting the boxes apart when the bee propolize them together.  You canít stick a hive tool between 2 pieces of low density foam and pry without the foam giving way.  You have to design in extra pieces of wood for that purpose.   

I think it takes about 8 deep frames in the spring for a colony to really take off and/or replace a dead out.  5 frames is just a bit sub optimal in my opinion.

These are some of the reasons my new foam nucs now hold 8 frames and are 12.25Ē (311mm) wide inside.  Granted, that is a little too big if you only have 2 or 3 frames of bees youíre trying to winter. However if you only have 2 or 3 frames of bees youíre probably going to need to add some electric heat and room to fit the electronics in.  An 8 frame design might work best for that too.  It has room for electronics and/or more insulation for really small colonies. 

A 8 frame nuc is a better fit for a mid summer split IMO.  Easier to deal with on all fronts.
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Sparky
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« Reply #54 on: September 29, 2011, 08:23:52 PM »

Bluebee, you may want to consider rubbing a small amount of vaseline between your boxes. Here is another option.
http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Case-of-100-Hive-Corner-Protectors/productinfo/561H/
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derekm
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« Reply #55 on: October 08, 2011, 03:45:55 PM »

here are the photo of my mk1 PU foam hives from a more accessible location .The Mk 2 has ally corner reinforcement as well.







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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
BlueBee
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« Reply #56 on: October 08, 2011, 03:58:46 PM »

Very nice derekm.

Youíve got some very interesting design ideas.  I love it!

First off, what is that greenish mesh like thing sticking out your bottom entrance?  Does that get shoved in to the hive for a screen bottom, or it is some form of landing board?

Next, what is your bottom baffles made from?  Plastic? Wood?

What type of coating do you have on the outside of the foam?  Looks like more than just a layer of paint?

How do you pry your boxes apart without denting the foam?

Whatís on the inside surface of your foam?  Foil?

Thanks for posting the photos!
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derekm
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« Reply #57 on: October 08, 2011, 04:07:06 PM »

Very nice derekm.

Youíve got some very interesting design ideas.  I love it!

First off, what is that greenish mesh like thing sticking out your bottom entrance?  Does that get shoved in to the hive for a screen bottom, or it is some form of landing board?
The green tongue is the landing board. The guard bees seem to monitor it for vibrations, a tap and a bee appears.
Quote
Next, what is your bottom baffles made from?  Plastic? Wood?
Thats PU foam shaped witha router then resin applied.
Quote
What type of coating do you have on the outside of the foam?  Looks like more than just a layer of paint?
The foam is ally foil coated as bought, I then gave it a layer of resin then paint
Quote
How do you pry your boxes apart without denting the foam?
T the full size hive has anti propolising gaskets so its not such a problem, However mk 2 has 2" ally angle  corners,
Quote
Whatís on the inside surface of your foam?  Foil?
Yes thats as delivered. Our building trade uses a lot of ally foil covered PU foam, so its cheap and easily available.

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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
gregted
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« Reply #58 on: October 08, 2011, 05:23:09 PM »

Nice work Derekm,

I have some foam that used to be on an extension for a caravan annex that is about 2 inches thick. Might have a go at these soon.

What do you glue yours together with?

What is the purpose of the grid in the bottom of your base?

On another post earlier in this thread, someone had a problem with the internal dimensions of their nuc. 196 mm is very tight. 35 x 5 is only 195 so no room for wire, nail heads etc..

I make mine 200 mm internal. This gives room for slightly larger frames and still keeps the leftover space under the bee-space pf 9.5 mm so they shouldn't propolise it. At least that's the plan...

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derekm
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« Reply #59 on: October 08, 2011, 06:06:23 PM »

Nice work Derekm,

I have some foam that used to be on an extension for a caravan annex that is about 2 inches thick. Might have a go at these soon.

What do you glue yours together with?
either polyester ot epoxy resin
Quote

What is the purpose of the grid in the bottom of your base?
there are two grids they act as  a reduced area omf, but  100% garbarge shutes. the bottom grid is a baffle to reduce air flow  caused by external wind to keep the heat bubble intact.
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
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