Need Bees Removed?
International
Beekeeping Forums
November 23, 2014, 02:26:41 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Beemaster's official FACEBOOK page
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar bee removal Login Register Chat  

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 6   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Bluebees Styrofoam Nucs  (Read 13438 times)
BlueBee
Galactic Bee
******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 4381

Location: Mid Michigan


« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2011, 11:16:59 AM »

Hi Windfall, I recently made up a couple more super insulated nucs to hold my extra deep (10K cells) frames.  For these nucs I tried the idea of laminating the foam to the wood FIRST, and then cutting to size.  This allowed for a much simpler construction process than my earlier design.  Less clamping and less sliding around of foam parts.

The only downside I see with the lamination first approach vs lamination later approach is the first uses no nails to hold the sides to the ends; itís a total glue job.  If you laminate after making a wood core, you have the opportunity to use nails into the end wood if you choose.

Hereís a photo of my newest builds using the lamination first approach.


Logged
BlueBee
Galactic Bee
******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 4381

Location: Mid Michigan


« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2011, 11:42:35 AM »

Now to some of your questions:

How has the luaun to solid wood joint held up?
In the original design, I built the inner wood core first and then glued on slabs of foam.  That gave me the opportunity to glue and nail the luaun sides to the solid wood ends.  The foam was then glued to the wood (and itself) with polyurethane glue (like gorilla glue).  After a year outside in Michigan I can report the joints are as solid as the rock of Gibraltar (metaphorically speaking).  The glue is super strong and the poly glue will tolerate some flex so I have had no joint issues whatsoever.  As for expansion and contraction, yes that is a valid concern, but in a super insulated hive the wood isnít going to see the temperature extremes of your winter/summer.  That might mitigate the concern a little.  For me, I have had zero joint problems in Michigan.

Why do you have such extended entrances on your foam nucs?
I donít recommend them.  Just a product of a lot of re-designing and re-working of my original boxes.

Do you migratory like tops wick in moisture?
The tops are pure foam, sans a couple of 1.5Ē strips of wood on the top to protect the foam from a rock.  They also over hang the sides of the nucs a bit (about an inch).  I have not had any moisture getting into the hives around the tops.

How much do you like your screen tops?
I LOVE my screen tops.  It makes it SOOOO much easier to look in on nucs to see how theyíre doing without really disturbing them.  The screen tops also gives me a lot more control over the insulation and ventilation capacity of the hives.  Finally I have started putting feed/water pans on the tops of my frames for feeding.  I can now dump sugar/syrup and water through the screen top without disturbing the bees.  This has worked out great so far.  Less robbing, no ants, no drowned bees.  I think it will also work out great for checking the nucs in the winter and adding more winter sugar if needed. 
Logged
windfall
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 355

Location: huntington,vt


« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2011, 12:03:07 PM »

Thanks, this all helps. I had considered laminating first but really don't like all that end grain and thermal breaks (very minor). Although I am sure it greatly speeds construction. Also I do like some mechanical fasteners when I can use them.

you misunderstood my bond concern. It was the foam to solid lumber lamination (as opposed to ply) that I was curious about. And not so much heat and cold causing movement but moisture changes. But really I suspect the hive maintains a pretty steady humidity most of the time...and the surface areas are not that big.

I have two small swarms from this summer that have just about filled out 5 frames each. I think these will make a great home for them over the winter. And I may well build some "shells" for a couple 8 and 10 frame deeps (1 box hives)
Logged
BlueBee
Galactic Bee
******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 4381

Location: Mid Michigan


« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2011, 12:28:37 PM »

I had considered laminating first but really don't like all that end grain and thermal breaks (very minor). Although I am sure it greatly speeds construction. Also I do like some mechanical fasteners when I can use them.
Very good points.  Nothing wrong with the original process, just keep an eye out on the foam when you glue and clamp it to the wood core.  The foam has a tendency to want to slide on you until the glue sets up a little.  If it slides, you end up with gaps in the mating surfaces which are difficult to fix.  Those gaps can make thermal breaks.  If you do end up with some uneven mating surfaces, you can glue on some of the flexible foam stuff for an air tight fit.  I use water based contact cement to glue on the flexible foam since PU glue wonít stick to it.

Quote
you misunderstood my bond concern. It was the foam to solid lumber lamination (as opposed to ply) that I was curious about.
Youíre right, I misunderstood the question.  Sounds like you were really asking if the foam delaminates do to expansion/contraction rates that differ from the foam.   I have not seen any delamination.  Iím guessing that foam can be stretched and contracted in this case without delamination but I donít know for sure.

I can tell you from experience that luaun exposed to a Michigan winter will completely delaminate in one season.  You probably already know that, based on your concerns.  I have not had any luaun delaminate inside the nucs but I would certainly not be opposed to using the higher grade plywood inside like youíre talking about.  Luaun is cheap, but the top layer is no thicker than paper.

A person could also use a non wood inner core, but I like the idea of a little wood in the nuc!
Logged
BlueBee
Galactic Bee
******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 4381

Location: Mid Michigan


« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2011, 01:03:14 PM »

Do you migratory like tops wick in moisture?
The tops are pure foam, sans a couple of 1.5Ē strips of wood on the top to protect the foam from a rock.  They also over hang the sides of the nucs a bit (about an inch).  I have not had any moisture getting into the hives around the tops.

Oops, let me clarify that statement.  I just looked at my photo on page 1 of this post!

I see in that photo, the edges of my top cover appear to be wood.  That is true.  Those were the first tops I made.  On the original tops I cut a foam slab out for the top and then wrapped a 1x3 around it to protect the foam. 

I have done away with that 1x3 wood wrap in all subsequent builds.  For me, gluing that wood around the edges of the foam was extra work without any real benefit in my bee yard.  The wood does provide mechanical protection to the top cover if you fear banging it around and denting an edge.

All my new tops are pure foam with just 2 rails of wood on top to protect the foam from a weight stone. 

Logged
derekm
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 531

Location: glow in the dark Hampshire UK


« Reply #25 on: September 03, 2011, 05:47:24 PM »

my nuc

]]

and bits



lower grid (entrance removed)




floor (entrance removed)

« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 05:04:24 AM by derekm » Logged

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
Galactic Bee
******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 4381

Location: Mid Michigan


« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2011, 02:27:16 AM »

OK, I FINALLY got some photos marked up how to make these things.

I made up some more nucs recently and took photos of the assembly process this time.  Decided to change my assembly process this time around to make them a little quicker to build.  My newest builds start by laminating the foam to the wood FIRST.  My original process started by assembling a wood core FIRST and THEN gluing on the foam.  Both approaches have their pros and cons.

So far I like the new process because it is faster to build and more idiot proof than the original process; Iím not the greatest wood worker around.

Here is a photo montage of my assembly process.


You can see all the photos in their full size on my photobucket album here:
http://s1082.photobucket.com/albums/j365/MichiganBee/Extra%20Deep%20Foam%20Nucs/

My latest builds were 5 frame nucs for my extra deep (10K cell) frames.  I have been experimenting with larger comb bee keeping this summer and will probably need these nucs next spring.  I already have all the foam medium and deep nucs I need, so youíll have to adjust your assembly process a little when building shallower boxes.  I believe you can get 3 deep nucs out of sheet of foam or 4 mediums.
Logged
Grieth
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 113

Location: Melbourne, Australia


« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2011, 04:08:05 AM »

Bluebee,

Thats a great set of photos and explanations!

If there was an award for presenting new ideas to the forum, you should be nominated.

Thanks

Grieth
Logged

"The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kingsĒ
Lewis Carroll
windfall
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 355

Location: huntington,vt


« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2011, 08:27:34 AM »

These are great Bluebee.
I am about half way through construction on 2. It is true that the foam wants to slide around quite a bit. The key with poly glues is a very thin layer and lots of clamp pressure but the clamps have to be run dead square to your work. Even a bit of kick will cause the laminate to slide until they are. With sturdier materials you can place a few referance tacks to locate a piece but the foam won't index....too soft. Next time I may cut the foam pieces a bit extra wide (1/8 or so)and then true them to the wood box with a sandingboard after cure so as not to be fussing with alignment so much.

If you continue to laminate first I would suggest sealing the endgrain of the ply with two coats of epoxy, about 30 min apart.

I am trying to track down some ventilation references that I know I have read in the past 6 months regarding insulated nucs. They probably came from either Robo or Finski as those guys seem to have a fair bit of experience with them. I feel like it was something like a 1/2" or 3/4" hole at the top in addition to a reduced bottom entrance.

It would seem to me that getting your ventilation balanced right is going to be key to making these work succesfully. especially at the nuc scale (vs full hive) Too much and you have wasted the time in insulating. too little and it is going to be a wet moldy mess.
Logged
BlueBee
Galactic Bee
******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 4381

Location: Mid Michigan


« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2011, 02:44:15 PM »

Grieth, thanks so much for your kind words!

Windfalll, I believe Finski reports using a top vent hole the size where you can poke a finger into it.  On my nucs last year I used a top vent that was about 15mm x 9mm.  However I did not have instrumentation in the nucs to monitor the temps so I donít know yet what is really optimal. 

My experience with mold is similar to your concern.  In my climate, when I do not have a small top and small bottom entrance/vent it gets too stuffy inside and mold can and will grow.  With instrumentation I hope to tune my bottom entrance and top vent sizes this winter for optimal values. 

Windfall, it sounds like you are likely a much better wood worker than I am.  It would be great to see your finished nucs when you get them done!  My tools and skills are relatively crude when it comes to fine woodworking.  Thanks for the idea for protecting those luaun edges. 
Logged
BlueBee
Galactic Bee
******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 4381

Location: Mid Michigan


« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2011, 02:52:57 PM »

For readers concerned about a top vent letting all the heat out:

A huge top vent will obviously let most of the hives heat out; just as a huge hole in a human house roof will let most of the heat out.  A small top vent limits the rate of heat escaping and still leaves most heat trapped inside the hive.  Human houses have all kinds of small holes around electrical outlets/ceiling light junction boxes that also let heat out, but it is the size of these holes that is important.   Small holes limit the loss of heat while still allowing some of the highest dew point water vapor to exit from the hive.  Yes, you will loose some heat with a top vent, but a hive (or human house) doesnít instantly freeze up due to a small hole in the ceiling.

My current foam nuc designs have a top vent that I can adjust according to the season.  It is adjustable by stuffing a strip of flexible pink foam gasket material in a top crack that is intentionally left open.  Hereís a photo of my top vent setup.

Logged
derekm
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 531

Location: glow in the dark Hampshire UK


« Reply #31 on: September 07, 2011, 05:03:21 AM »

Entrance design is a crucial part of the heat balance.  How to preserve heat yet allow bees free movement in winter and how to allow the bees to cool by fanning in summer.

I have seen that in some wooden designs,  that some have a entrance where the bees climb upwards into the hive. I have also been told and seen the bees propensity to move upwards into dark spaces.

I decided that for my designs I would have a steeply,  sloping ,long, (75 to 100mm) insulated, tunnel entrance so the the outside entrance was below inside floor level. This would help preserve the heat bubble in the hive in winter (heat rises CO2 falls) and to have a wide (75% hive width) and low (12mm) entrance so the bees could keep cool and defend  in summer. The wide tunnel can be  reduced at the hive end by thin plastic strips (acetate presentation slide material). The inside of  the foam tunnel  is protected  from the bees using a coating of polyester or epoxy resin.

« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 09:34:55 AM by derekm » Logged

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
Galactic Bee
******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 4381

Location: Mid Michigan


« Reply #32 on: September 07, 2011, 12:42:13 PM »

Derekm, you definitely have some interesting ideas.  I canít disagree with your physics.  I also agree that your approach is probably more thermally efficient than mine.  I view my foam hives as a work in progress.  Theyíre not perfect.  I go through the typical development process with these things.  Design based on what I know, build units, hive some bees and monitor the results.  Make changes based on what worked and didnít work and repeat the process.  I try not to have too many iterations of the development process, but when dealing with bees, unexpected problems can arise.    

We have weeks and weeks of temperatures that never get above 0C for highs here mid winter.  A cold spell would be lows down to about -30C.  The great lakes moderate our winter lows by keeping a lot of cloud cover (insulation) over head most of the winter.  

My goal last winter was to keep my bees warm enough so they didnítí have to cluster (60 to 70F; 15C to 21C).  My reasoning was, if they donít have to cluster, they canít starve to death in the middle of winter from being frozen in one spot in the hive.  After a development cycle of such a design, I discovered an un-expected problem in my bee yard.  The bees loved the warm temps, but so did the wax moths.  

This year, Iím relaxing my thermal goals a little.  My goal this winter is more modest, I just want to keep them from experiencing the full brunt of a Michigan winter.  My current design goal is to not overheat them.  If I loose some thermal efficiency due to the chimney effect; thatís acceptable to me.  I wonít really know for sure how wise, or un-wise, this strategy is until spring.

BTW, last year I used a top only entrance/vent.  There were NO bottom holes.  I was more concerned about the heat loss due to the chimney effect last winter.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 12:55:20 PM by BlueBee » Logged
derekm
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 531

Location: glow in the dark Hampshire UK


« Reply #33 on: September 07, 2011, 01:14:55 PM »

Bluebee,
   I checked out the over heating by running the hive temp figures with two values of heat output  Corresponding to the endothermic and and ectothemic outputs (heater bees and just lounging around). This then gives a temperature range the bees can control themselves by regulating  the type activity.  Given the number of bees varifres with the size of hive I worked out that   endo = 524 W/m3 and ecto  =154w/m3.
So if your nuc is a langstroth with 50mm styrofoam you are ok for 34C internally with an outside temp range of  26C to 7C. From the volume of hive  I estimate endo = 11.2w and ecto= 3.3w So open that topvent when the outside temp gets above 20c Wink. This all assumes you have the right number of bees for the volume. Running the figures on my nuc (a British national 50mm PU foam) gives an outside temp range of 23 to -3)
So it was not surprising that when I closed up the entrance in 26C,  they started producing queen cells to swarm.
I moved them to the full size hive but dummied down.  They continued to want to swarm until I opened the entrance wide and just cracked open one of the 4 top vents. A week later the outside temperature drops to 20c and the bees now are trying to propolise over every vent. We have now reverted to unvented but  keeping the entrance wide.
   I have learned you keep the heat bubble in but ensure the bees have enough air to manipulate the temperature. I also learned that a hole, just 3mm by 10mm in the top of the hive, can nock 8C off the hive floor temp in one minute.
So when someone say the vent should the size of a dime, they should mean edge on!

-30c and a langstroth nuc that needs 100mm polyurethane but get ready to open the vent when temp comes up to 16c.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 01:40:41 PM by derekm » Logged

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
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 355

Location: huntington,vt


« Reply #34 on: September 07, 2011, 04:02:42 PM »

Derek,

Those are interesting results. When you opened the venting and saw the 8 degree drop in a minuet: did the hive temp stabilize after that to a new norm or did it continue to drop to ambient temp? What size hive was this?
This may be a regional terminology issue. But do you mean to imply you are controlling swarming with hive temp? or do you mean bees clinging outside the hive which we call bearding?

Bluebee,

I thought your problem with "overheating" and wax moths was in one of your hives running heat?

I may have to PM robo or finski and request their experiences with venting /entrance and insulated nucs. I think this thread may be off their radar. The  "finger hole" top vent Finski described I believe was on a full size hive. It might even be worth starting a new thread on just this topic, but in the past top entrance and venting seem to really stir up a slew of theoretical argument than a tally of actual regional experience

Separately, I would add that with the 2 nucs I am building almost done I have to say they are pretty labor intensive to make (especially if you want them smooth and nice looking) and not particularly cheap in material. Definitely one of those projects you need to enjoy the tinkering to be worthwhile.
Logged
BlueBee
Galactic Bee
******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 4381

Location: Mid Michigan


« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2011, 06:36:33 PM »

Derekm, thanks for your calculations.  I would say your numbers are fairly close to what I have been observing.  The differences are probably in the amount of air infiltration I have with my top vent and a chimney effect (albeit small). 

One of my double decker foam nucs was bearding earlier this week on a cloudy 57F/14C day.  I checked my vent which was suppose to be about 220mm x 4mm, but the stone weight on top had squished the vent down to about 200mm x 1mm.  That was trapping in too much heat and causing bearding at 14C.

As you point out, a person needs to remember to open up the venting on a foam hive when it gets mild outside!

With a fairly small top vent, I seem to still be capable of achieving a heat gain of +35F/20C inside the hive just from the bees.  For my bee yard, that is probably good enough since I have to worry about the dang wax moths.

Windfall, my wax moth issues last winter were in electrically heated nucs, but my guess is the buggers donít care how they get warmed up; electric or super insulation.  May not be an issue in other bee yards, but in mine I need to plan my thermal design around the wax moth life cycle too.
Logged
cam
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 100

Location: Millbury Massachusetts USA


WWW
« Reply #36 on: September 08, 2011, 01:08:08 PM »

Might want to check out these links:

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,31651.0.html

http://latshawapiaries.com/uploads/wintering-nucs.pdf
Logged

circle7 honey and pollination
derekm
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 531

Location: glow in the dark Hampshire UK


« Reply #37 on: September 08, 2011, 03:05:02 PM »

Derekm, thanks for your calculations.  I would say your numbers are fairly close to what I have been observing.  The differences are probably in the amount of air infiltration I have with my top vent and a chimney effect (albeit small).  

One of my double decker foam nucs was bearding earlier this week on a cloudy 57F/14C day.  I checked my vent which was suppose to be about 220mm x 4mm, but the stone weight on top had squished the vent down to about 200mm x 1mm.  That was trapping in too much heat and causing bearding at 14C.

As you point out, a person needs to remember to open up the venting on a foam hive when it gets mild outside!

With a fairly small top vent, I seem to still be capable of achieving a heat gain of +35F/20C inside the hive just from the bees.  For my bee yard, that is probably good enough since I have to worry about the dang wax moths.

Windfall, my wax moth issues last winter were in electrically heated nucs, but my guess is the buggers donít care how they get warmed up; electric or super insulation.  May not be an issue in other bee yards, but in mine I need to plan my thermal design around the wax moth life cycle too.

 You need to watch out for "Crowded pub syndrome".  All day the the pub has been emptish  but the doors been left open so the barmaid has turned the heat up. Then a crowd descends on the on the Pub and all of sudden its far too hot and so half the  patrons are drinking their beer outside.
 The bees have the heat turned up for the brood during the day cos the vents are open , then the foragers come home and then its far too hot.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 03:32:43 PM by derekm » Logged

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?
derekm
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 531

Location: glow in the dark Hampshire UK


« Reply #38 on: September 10, 2011, 07:09:58 PM »

blue beehow is the progress inside the nucs?  I've  been surprised at the rate of progress inside my foam hive. 5  weeks saw them fill the nuc with brood and stores  4 weeks has seen a doubling in brood size  from 3 frames to 7  frames  with brood  9 frames drawn with remarkably few bees.  Removing the need to cover the brood with a thick layer of bees means the hive  can grow much quicker. Fewer bees covering means more brood can be raised per bee, fewer covering bees means more of the food can go to develop comb and brood. Everything is happening faster. They are foraging off the heather and have taken a kilo of sugar in just under a week as well.
Logged

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?
Sparky
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 804


Location: Hagerstown MD


« Reply #39 on: September 10, 2011, 08:53:33 PM »

Back to the protecting the exposed luaun edge on the outside surface. Have you tried to just miter a 45 on the edges of the sides and ends so the luaun would be totally concealed on the inside and provide more surface area to apply glue on the corners ?
Logged
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 6   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Beemaster's Beekeeping Ring
Previous | Home | Join | Random | Next
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines | Sitemap Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.357 seconds with 22 queries.

Google visited last this page November 20, 2014, 02:53:54 PM