Hello Sydney guy. This is a feedback I have sent to Corey at Nuplas for comment, that may be of interest to you or anyone considering plastic. As of yet I have not recieved a reply.
Dear Corey, I bought 30 X 10 frame Nuplas hives with standard lids, vented bases with trays and plastic frames as a trial. The idea of no paint or chemical preservatives appealed to me and wanted to try them.
The convenience of one piece plastic frames was also attractive so I bought 300 plastic frames from Nuplas.
Here are a few of the issues that I am working through:
1. There are no straight flush surfaces between components, so there are large gaps between lids and boxes, boxes and boxes, and boxes and bases. Water enters through these gaps during rain and SHB walk through the gaps from the outside to the inside and also through the vents. I tried planning and sanding the box parts before and after assembly to make the fit better but still have some gaps. All lids and bases I bought are bowed and I am not sure how to deal with this. Silicone gap filler every time I open the hives is not an option.
2. The hive clips fit poorly and offset the hive parts making gaps worse.
3. The plastic hives attract large amounts of condensation and are very wet in the mornings with lot of water in the trays and mould inside the lid. I have placed insulation in the lids and use Mercer Mats (http://bindaree.com.au/hints/hive-mat/
) with some benefit, but still insufficient as evidenced by water still lying on the Mercer Mats and still have mould. Every time it rains the trays fill and overflow with water and I loose the oil. Recently on the Northern NSW coast, this is every couple of days! I need the tray full of oil for SHB control. Also, the trays are not "ribbed" or "celled", therefore and the hive needs to be perfectly level or the oil pools in one corner of the tray and rising water spills it out.
4. The plastic frames are also a problem for me. I washed the new frames with bleach, rinsed them and applied a good coating of pure fresh beeswax. I feed 1:1 sugar syrup to assist in drawing comb. I have had to remove and strip many frames because as the bees are reluctant to draw comb and then build the cells out from the foundation in patches, and the cell sizes just get bigger and bigger in some patches of drawn comb. I don't know what is causing this. The wax frames don't have the problem nor do the "Red E" plastic frames I have purchased from Tobins (http://www.wrl.bigpondhosting.com/Index.htm
)! Maybe a dud batch of Nuplas frames? Is the odd frame width affecting bee space or cell size/ depth, possibly wrong for Australia? Do bees go tropo from the humidity and excessive condensation in the plastic hives ? Could it be plastic toxicity / hormone mimicking driving them nuts? Has anyone seen this before? Any ideas? I am wondering if I can return the unopened boxes of frames for credit for more boxes?