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Author Topic: How to best secure styrofoam sheets for side insulation?  (Read 3945 times)
gjd
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« on: December 26, 2011, 08:05:31 AM »

I'm putting polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) sheets on the outside of a hive for winter insulation, similar to tar paper wrapping.    On in late fall (well, next year), off before the first inspection.  I've screwed them on a non-rectangular top bar hive, but would rather not do that if possible on a Langstroth.  Duct tape will not last the winter, and light rope works (so far), but tends to dig into the corners if tightened, and I suspect will loosen right about when the snow is 2' and -5F.  Does anyone have a good, easy way to hold insulating sheets in place seasonally?

I've got ventilation and roof insulation.  Looking for advice on sides specifically.  I'm using 2'x8'x1" coarse white polystyrene sheets, because they're cheap and I can quickly and easily cut them in a parking lot before putting them in my small car.  I paint the outer surface a dark color with spare paint.   I could go with other materials if a good reason.
Thanks for any suggestions, Greg

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JackM
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2011, 08:36:56 AM »

You could get some furring strips and sort of use them around it, and they would be reuseable next year, sort of like a wood rubber band.  Speaking of rubber band, inner tube?
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S.M.N.Bee
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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2011, 11:51:05 AM »

Bungee cords should work?
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BBees
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2011, 01:57:20 PM »

Went to a workshop where a fella used this method and has historically had good overwintering success in northern NY.

Attaches felt paper to the front of the hive with push-pins. Takes 3 pieces of 1/2" foil-faced insulation board cut to fit the sides and rear. When he goes to Lowes to buy the board, he grabs some extra tie-down twine. He also buys a number of cheapo bungee cords. Positions the insulation board (tucking in the felt paper), and holds it there using the twine and bungee cords. He ties loops on the ends of the twine and attaches the bungee so it is tight enough to keep it from blowing off. He didn't use anything on the corners, but I think sheet rock corner bead would keep the twine from cutting into the insulation board. He uses a piece of that insulation board between the inner and outer cover (with a groove cut out from the feeder hole to the notch in the inner cover for ventilation.
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AllenF
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« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2011, 06:57:39 PM »

Cold weather foil tape.   (duct tape)
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2011, 08:56:04 PM »

I don't paint, but if you do make sure it's latex, not oil based.  I like the denser stuff (pink or blue) rather than the flimsy white open cell styrofoam because it's easier to handle.  The open cell white in a light breeze will break into pieces when you are trying to carry it.

 
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Michael Bush
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MTWIBadger
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2011, 12:13:27 AM »

Greg
I used duck tape and bungee tubing last winter and it just didn't work well for me.

This year I used 2 inch blue insulation sheets cut to size and attached them with 2.5 inch screws with a large washer.  This worked very well and I used two or four screws per side.  I felt this was very tight especially when cut to the exact size.  The hardest part is cutting them square and to size. I doubt there is a better way to attach insulation unless you add glue. 
Luke
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JRH
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2011, 01:34:23 PM »

I use 3/4" straps from www.strapworks.com to hold 2" styrofoam "blueboard" insulation around the top box.  No screws, no glue, nothing but the straps and the foam.  You really don't need TWO straps.  It would work with just the horizontal straps, but you would need a helper to hold the foam while you adjusted the strap for length and tightness.  I use the vertical straps all year 'round - eliminates the need for bricks or rocks.

The straps are cheap at www.strapworks.com  I use 3/4" poly straps - impervious to sun, don't absorb moisture - and the snap-together plastic buckles.  Easy and inexpensive.

I cut the foam to 20" X 8" so I get three on the short dimension of the 2 X 8' boards.  Always ask at the lumber yard if they have any junk/broken styrofoam boards they want to give away.  They often do.

Here they are:



and:



The wire coming out of this hive is the "outdoor" probe of a $10 Walmart Indoor/Outdoor thermometer.  I just run the wire between the inner and outer covers, dropping the probe down through the hole in the inner cover.  Temperatures typically range from 30 to 50 degrees higher inside the hive.  I keep the thermometer itself in a Tupperware container under the hive.

Incidentally, if you supply enough ventilation in the summer to keep inside-the-hive temperatures under 105 - 110, you will eliminate bearding and the waste of the bees' energy that goes along with that.


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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2011, 09:22:34 PM »

I tied it together with baling twine when I put them on the sides...

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/ApartmentNucsWrappedInFoam.jpg
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Michael Bush
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BlueBee
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2011, 04:26:59 AM »

I probably went a little over board with some of my hive insulation systems grin  My bees are better insulated than I am.  I’ve tried numerous foam insulation systems; here is one that I have used for over my wood hives.  It's slices of foam that can be easily added or removed over a wood hive.  Each slice is glued together with gorilla glue (Polyurethane glue) and fit snuggly on top of each other.  This results in a foam shell with very little air infiltration losses.  

Photo of wood hive with slices removed


Photo of wood hive with sliced installed.

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JackM
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2011, 08:40:00 AM »

I probably went a little over board with some of my hive insulation systems grin  My bees are better insulated than I am.  I’ve tried numerous foam insulation systems; here is one that I have used for over my wood hives.  It's slices of foam that can be easily added or removed over a wood hive.  Each slice is glued together with gorilla glue (Polyurethane glue) and fit snuggly on top of each other.  

Nope, looks awesome to me, even painted the foam to prevent UV issues.  And Gorilla glue is great in this application
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BrentX
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« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2011, 11:23:20 AM »

Bluebee, you're showing how with just a little more effort the bees can have a first class winter home.  I like that with your design the hive insulation should last for years and be good to look at.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2011, 12:56:08 PM »

Thanks BrentX.  Yeah the foam shell system I have been using works well.  Painted foam should withstand the weather and UV for a long time.  It keeps the weather off the inner wood hive making that wood last longer too.  I can add or remove slices of foam as a hive grows and leave it on all year round.  In the winter it traps the bee heat in.  In the summer a foam shell can keep out the solar gain.  I have been keeping the foam on year round.  You don’t need a hive tool to split apart the foam slices so they are durable as long as a skunk doesn’t decide to scratch them.  The system allows you to use standard wood hives under the shell.  You can have a nice super insulated system using standard wood hives.
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doggonegardener
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« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2012, 11:18:58 AM »

gjd,

we haven't used ours yet as we are just building my hives but we made the bottom of the hive wider than it needed to be so there are little ear stops at the bottom to catch the sheet from sliding down under the angled sides of the hive.  Then we put some lightweight lewan (sp) on the outside of the insulation sheets to keep the bungies from digging into the sheets and ruining them.  Something inexpensive.  Then we also had something to attach a little D ring to (or you could drill a little hole in the lewan) to hook the bungees to.  The side pieces attach to each other with the bungees and they sandwich the end pieces in place under the bungee.  Kinda like lacing up the hive.   

Ne
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Darxus
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« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2012, 05:01:15 PM »

What paint works well for this?
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loumaro
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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2012, 08:13:31 PM »

I like Bluebee's solution the best. It looks like the easiest way to get a quility looking
project and one that should realy work good. BlueBee I usually don't like your posts
but it looks like if you stick to Bee business and not politics I can tolerate you. Real
nice looking set up.
THANKS

Louie
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Louie
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« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2012, 04:07:54 AM »

LOL, hey we all have our own opinions when it comes to politics.  I’m probably considered a moderate, maybe even a conservative, in any other forum except for beekeeping  Smiley

Thanks for the compliment with regards to the foam shell idea.   I’m sure I wasn’t the first to try it, but I have used it for a few years now.  It sure insulates the hives well and works well but there are a few minor problems I have encountered.  First if you set the thing on the ground, the ants will likely start tunneling in the foam.  Since there are no bees to protect the inside of the foam, the ants can make a real mess.  However it turns out that spiders also like to hang out in the gap between the wood hive and the foam shell and they tend to eat the various bugs that try to make that area a home.  We don’t have Black Widows up here, so I don’t have to worry about them moving into that gap like you might in the south.  

Another problem with the foam shell concept occurs when working the bees.  You obviously have to take off some of the foam to get to the wood hive.  I don’t normally take it all off.  When I work the bees, some of the bees invariably crawl into the space between the wood hive and the foam.  I brush them off the exterior of the wood hive before putting the foam back on, but I still don’t get them all.  I may lose a half dozen bees at a time when inspecting, but the hives tend to be packed with bees.

As for paint, I use a latex primer on the foam and then top coat with latex or enamel.  Nothing special.  I usually use latex top coat, but I have been using more enamel lately since it doesn't have as much “blocking” issues as latex.  By blocking, I’m referring to the technical paint term for stickiness of the “cured” paint and not it’s hiding ability.
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Chrisd4421
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« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2012, 10:50:02 AM »

R
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