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Author Topic: polystyrene hive  (Read 4017 times)
tbrinck
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« on: February 26, 2013, 08:31:02 AM »

Out of curiosity I looked at the price of the Owens Corning Foamular F-250 2 in. x 2 ft. x 8 ft. Tongue and Groove Foam which is about $20. With one of these sheets i can build 9 10 frame deeps or 14 med. supers. Therefore i figure two sheets should give me enough to do 2-3 hives with extra supers for honey season and an extra deep for bucket feeding. I was wondering if anyone had any success with making hives from this material when compared to wood? Also what should i coat it with the prevent any damage to the foam? Would i just be better off buying the wood deeps and supers at local store? thanks
Tyler
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BlueBee
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 10:57:28 AM »

Foamular 250 is rated for compression loads of 25psi.  You donít need that much compression strength for a bee hive.  I would go with Foamular 150 which is rated at 15psi and is typically 30% cheaper.  In Michigan, you can buy 4íx8í sheets of 2Ē Foamular 150 for $21.  The prices of the stuff does vary a lot from State to State; possibly due to the high shipping costs.

IMO, the best use of foam in a bee hive is the brood box.  Thatís the only component of the hive you should have the bees in during the winter.  The insulation is primarily for warmth during the winter at Northern latitudes.  Yes you could build the honey supers from foam, but supers get moved around a lot and are subject to a lot of mechanical injury (dropping, prying, denting).  If youíre a hobbyist and plan to be very careful, they will work.  For me (a mere hobbyist) foam supers are not worth the extra effort without a palpable benefit.  I use wood for honey supers.  Now brood boxes is a totally different story, mine are all made out of Foamular 150 or the Dow (blue stuff) equivalent.  
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derekm
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 06:24:50 PM »

the most important parts are the roof and the sealing of the roof to the boxes below.
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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?
fshrgy99
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2013, 06:02:22 PM »

This is where I first saw them.

Beekeeping by Rotation System


These polystyrene hives are prefabbed. If you build your own from a sheet how do you fasten/glue the corners? I am Interested as my winter is long and cold.
Thanks
Dennis

P.S. What a worker bee!
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BlueBee
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2013, 07:07:49 PM »

Making your own boxes from sheets of polystyrene is very easy, but it is time consuming.  Time is money, so while the materials are cheap, the final product cost (material + labor) is high.

XPS foam is easily glued together with polyurethane glue (like gorilla glue).  Easy but very messy and time consuming because you have to clamp the pieces together for a good 20 minutes for the glue to set up before moving to the next step.  The gluing and clamping delays are the real time killers in making your own. 

The bees will start chewing on exposed XPS foam sooner or later, so it would be very wise to cover or coat the interior surfaces with something.  Foil, hardboard, plastic, paint, etc.

Finally it would be very wise to paint the finished XPS hive because it is susceptible to UV from the Sun.  It will break down pretty quickly when exposed to the full Sun.  Regular latex works fine for painting the hives.



The hives in the photo are constructed of 38mm thick extruded polystyrene (XPS).  These happen to use a mid entrance which isnít the most thermally efficient, but it keeps the skunks at bay.  These hives are toasty warm inside all winter as long as your bee population doesn't tank. 
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Finski
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2013, 08:39:07 AM »

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Home made hives from insulating board will not work.
It is mere waste of material and work.

I have used 25 years polyhives.
I have made too own "styrene hives" but truly they are rubbish.

.here poly box price is 15 euros.

.

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BlueBee
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2013, 11:05:44 AM »

No, it isnít rubbish to make homemade hives out of insulation board.  They work very well and are probably 2x better insulated than Finskiís store bought units.  Thatís because the insulation board is low density foam and it doesnít conduct heat as readily as the denser commercial poly hives.  Homemade units can also be thicker which makes them a better insulator.  The commercial hives are not 50mm thick.  All in all, a homemade box will be much warmer for the bees. 

The major problem with the homemade units is the time and effort it takes to make them and their limited ability to tolerate mechanical abuse.  From a bee perspective though, they usually work great.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2013, 11:17:52 AM »

.here poly box price is 15 euros.

I can make about 2 of my jumbo hives from a $20 sheet of foam.  When I add in the cost of a liner, glue, and other parts to assemble the things, the total cost is around $20 a box for the materials.  Since one Jumbo is all I need for brood, they replace the need for 2 deep boxes.  If Finski is paying 15 euros for each deep brood box, then heís out 30 euroís per bee hive.  My home made unit total material cost is 15 euros per hive, so Iím better insulated than Mr Finskiís hives for half the price! applause

However if you count my labor costs, Finski wins.  Sad
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Finski
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2013, 12:53:57 PM »

.
We will see in what condition are your boxes after 5 and 10 years.

.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2013, 02:04:34 PM »

Touchdown Jesus was made of Polystyrene.  He stood strong along I-75 in Ohio for many years until he got struck by lightning.   



Do you have lightning in Finland?
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danno
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2013, 02:32:13 PM »

Bluebee
I see from the photo that you put alot of effort into your woodware or foam ware in this case.    How many colonies do you have?   I see you have been here for 2 years so tell me how many years do you have keeping bee's?  I'm just curious as to what you base all your knowledge on.    
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 02:44:42 PM by danno » Logged
BlueBee
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2013, 03:36:18 PM »

Dannyboy, youíre clueless.

Iíve gone through 8 generations of poly hives and run over 30.  Heck, Iím just here trying to share real observations with folks interested in different ways of doing things.  Obviously youíre not one of those folks.   If nobody is interested, then fine, Iíve got plenty of other things to do.
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danno
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2013, 03:59:12 PM »

Dannyboy, youíre clueless.

Iíve gone through 8 generations of poly hives and run over 30.  Heck, Iím just here trying to share real observations with folks interested in different ways of doing things.  Obviously youíre not one of those folks.   If nobody is interested, then fine, Iíve got plenty of other things to do.
Clueless I'm not.   30 is a good number to base your observations on.  I wouldn't have believed your numbers were that high.  It was a honest question.  I saw 3 in the picture not 30.  You do things way different then me but honestly I think thats OK.  So what does 8 generations actually mean in years
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 04:57:39 PM by danno » Logged
fshrgy99
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2013, 04:01:06 PM »

nobody likes my video?  tongue
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BlueBee
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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2013, 05:58:40 PM »

I take photos of the hives in my back yard, itís more convenient.  The majority of the hives are located on a farm.  I may expand up in numbers as I get my designs completely tuned for my goals.

Fshrgy99, that video has been posted on here at least 3 times before.  It is a good video none the less.  That bee keeper is quiet the trooper.  Lots of good ideas in that video IMO. 
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danno
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« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2013, 06:35:51 PM »

I take photos of the hives in my back yard, itís more convenient.  The majority of the hives are located on a farm.  I may expand up in numbers as I get my designs completely tuned for my goals.

Fshrgy99, that video has been posted on here at least 3 times before.  It is a good video none the less.  That bee keeper is quiet the trooper.  Lots of good ideas in that video IMO. 

One more time What does 8 generations actually mean in years?   How many winters have you been through
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Grandpa Jim
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« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2013, 11:58:17 PM »

Fshrgy99 ....those hives in the video are now available in the US.  www.modernbeekeepingusa.com  Our club has purchased one to try this year.  We will see how well they do. 

The goose wing she uses as a brush...I got some and they work great.

Jim
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Finski
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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2013, 04:27:05 AM »

One more time What does 8 generations actually mean in years?   How many winters have you been through

winter is nt a point . It is bees and ants which destroy self made hives because insulating boards are  so soft.
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fshrgy99
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« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2013, 05:53:04 AM »

Hi Jim,

Did your club purchase an entire hive and does a full super weigh any less? In that video it looks like that slip of girl is managing the hives with magic. Doesn't break a sweat either!

I'll also look for the other 3 postings of the video in forum records ... maybe my questions are answered there.

I am kind of committed to wood as I have a pile of wood from sawn logs but a full size honey super is just too heavy for me.
I quickly went to mediums.

We get a long winter here so I might be interested if they weigh a lot less and I can build a durable version. (Bluebee seems to be enthusiastic.)

I'd love an update on how you like those hives sometime. I get the impression that some love them and some hate them.

Dennis
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danno
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« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2013, 08:26:40 AM »

One more time What does 8 generations actually mean in years?   How many winters have you been through

winter is nt a point . It is bees and ants which destroy self made hives because insulating boards are  so soft.
Finski winter is not your point but it is mine.   I agree with yours.  Ants will find a hole or crack and tunnel right in.  My point is does bluebee have enough colonies and winters using them to make judgements
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