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Author Topic: My first home-made styrofoam hive  (Read 2899 times)
ugcheleuce
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« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2014, 04:50:08 PM »

Wax propolis, honey, dead bees and friction will not be kind to the top sides and undersides of your boxes when they meet and repeatedly have to be pried apart.


Actually, now that you mention that, it was one of my first concerns, but I think I have a solution for that.  I apologise for not mentioning it previously.

Note also that since the frame rests of the upper box rests directly on the frame ears of the lower box (i.e. with no bees space between the frame ears and the box above it), I would have had to come up with a solution to prevent the bees from sticking the frames to the upper box anyway.  My idea was to place two 100 mm wide strips of plastic foil (one on top of the other) over each row of frame ears where they would be in contact with the box above them (indicated in red in the image).  This would enable me to stick the hive tool between the two strips and easily separate the hive boxes without having to cut them loose.



By "plastic foil" I mean the stuff you make restaurant table cloths from.  We also use that foil between the top box and the hive cover to prevent the bees from sticking frames to the cover board.

Samuel
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Samuel Murray, Ugchelen, Netherlands
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BlueBee
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« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2014, 03:56:25 PM »

LOL, you do have a unique looking box. Smiley  I canít say Iíve ever seen a hive with milk jug cladding.  Where are the handles?

I was originally concerned about the surface hardness of my painted polystyrene hives too, but it really hasnít been a major problem for me.  The extruded polystyrene has a more consistent surface which becomes modestly hard with a couple layers of latex paint.  If you go with an oil based enamel, the surface hardness also goes up. 

Does this look familiar to your designs?



Bottom brood box is jumbo sized made from extruded polystyrene with just paint on the surface.  Top supers are wood.
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ugcheleuce
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« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2014, 04:48:56 PM »

Where are the handles?


I haven't gotten that far -- I initially assumed that I would not be able to add handles, due to the weak strength of the wall material.  One solution for handles may be to use rope that goes into re-enforced holes.  It would be best if the ropes go through the entire hive, so that the hive walls are squeezed towards each other when you pick up the box.  If the ropes only go through the one wall, when you pick up the box, it will have the effect of pulling the walls away from each other.

In a previous version of this box (which existed only on paper), each styrofoam box had a 1 cm thick wooden shim underneath it that stuck out about 5 mm from the side of the hive, and it would have been possible to pick up the boxes by grabbing the shim as if it was a handle.  I may still do a version that uses the shim.

Quote
I was originally concerned about the surface hardness of my painted polystyrene hives too... a more consistent surface which becomes modestly hard with a couple layers of latex paint. 


I had the same experience with my one poly nuc box -- paint hardens the surface:



Samuel
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Samuel Murray, Ugchelen, Netherlands
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« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2014, 05:01:35 PM »

With regards to your plastic gaskets between the boxes; that might work.  However I would have a couple of concerns.  First it can get pretty windy where I live.  A strong wind might be able to shift boxes with plastic gaskets.  A bigger concern would be animals pushing on the upper boxes and pushing them off if they are too slippery.

I canít say Iíve tried your idea of plastic gaskets yet, but it might be worth experimenting with.  applause
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ugcheleuce
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« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2014, 06:07:57 PM »

It can get pretty windy where I live.  A strong wind might be able to shift boxes with plastic gaskets.  A bigger concern would be animals pushing on the upper boxes and pushing them off if they are too slippery.

Fortunately my hives are all placed in bee stalls (bee club covered apiaries), and if worst comes to worst, I can use tarp tie-downs to secure the hive.
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Samuel Murray, Ugchelen, Netherlands
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RayMarler
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« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2014, 04:06:42 AM »

The Duct tape I've used is not as long lasting or waterproof as the Duck tape I mentioned. I don't know about who makes what under who's name. Duct tape is for taping up ducting work, which is normally indoors or covered inside a building or attic. Duck tape is more of a rubberised or plastic type tape with much stronger waterproof glue on it than the duct tape I'm familiar with. Perhaps it's all in a name or manufacturer or distributor. All I can say is I do not use duct tape any more. I'm sorry for any confusion or concern I may have caused by posting about my duck tape.
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« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2014, 10:39:41 AM »

You shouldnít use cloth based ďduct tapeĒ for actually sealing HVAC ducts; itís not designed for that purpose.  You should use foil backed tape or mastic.

The cloth stuff doesn't hold up over time and doesn't normally have the UL listing against flammability.
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Kevin Bentley
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« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2014, 01:00:51 AM »

While I commend the effort to create improvements and possibly recycle EPS,  Polystyrene(Styrofoam is a brand name) bee hives are not a good idea for a variety of reasons.  Several of those reasons are here:  Google "The Great Stryrofoam Boycott" article in The Park Record and see if that changes your mind about using that material.  Great creativity nonetheless. 
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BlueBee
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« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2014, 09:42:53 AM »

I disagree for a variety of reasons.  A Harvard study found styrene molecules in strawberries, beef, wine and cheese.  Have you given those up too?  Foam is a long polymer with very few free styrene molecules to leach out.  While data suggests leaching of those few styrene molecules is possible under heat, I donít put my bee hives in the microwave.  Unlike in the food service industry, the life space of polystyrene hives is measured in years, not minutes.  Hence this is one use that does not contribute to filling up landfills like foam coffee cups.  Furthermore, the bees will chew right through foam if you donít face the honey side with some more mechanically robust material.  Mine are faced with wood.  So the only thing my honey is exposed to is wood, propolis, and the natural flora occurring in a bee hive.  The foam just acts as a thermal blanket around the bees; like a thick tree does in nature. 

Have you ever checked the chemicals generated when you light a smoker Smiley       
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Kevin Bentley
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« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2014, 11:05:18 PM »

Touche, then I think the point is moot if bees are not in direct contact with the polystyrene.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2014, 01:35:55 AM »

But the commercial polystyrene boxes arenít faced with wood so I suppose you have a point.  grin

Not to belittle your concern, but what isnít toxic in our environment these days?  Not saying that two wrongs make a right, but there is no escaping exposure to toxins.  I hear we all have molecules of Teflon in us too.  What do you do. I dunno
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greenbtree
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« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2014, 10:38:26 PM »

I will try to take some pictures of my foam boxes and post them.  I have never INTENDED to use these boxes as hives (I made them as swarm traps) but when the girls are planning on swarming, what to do?  So some of them have been out in the weather for a season.  Here is my experience.  Without paint, UV starts degrading the foam.  Paint helps.  I used paint inside and out, and the inside paint did not seem to bother the bees, and did seem to deter them from chewing.  Lids will start to warp with time.  So will the walls unless firmly attached to each other.  I found that even glue alone wouldn't stop it, but that glue (There is special glue just for rigid foam) with big, long deck screws would. Duct or duck tape WILL break down (I have tried different types for winter proofing).  The biggest problem is, as others have stated, that some spots are just not strong enough.  Mainly where the lids meet the body, and especially where the ears of the frames rest, even with a wood or metal protective strip.  It is impossible not to rip up the foam over time.  That said, they make great swarm traps, and even better "I'm off to get a swarm or do a cut out." boxes as they are extremely light and plenty sturdy in the short haul.

JC
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jayj200
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« Reply #32 on: May 13, 2014, 09:27:56 AM »

duck tape is good for temporary jobs only no UV inhibitors. aluminum foil tape works the best, UV's do not penetrate

also one already has wooden ware keep it just wrap this for cold with foil covered (backed) foam.
we can get it here in 3/4, 1, 2 inches

i see ducktape used to repair screens all the time it does not last a season outdoors
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BlueBee
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« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2014, 12:28:37 PM »

The foil tape is probably a good idea.  Are you talking about the stuff used to seal HVAC ducts?  The only problem with that stuff is the expense. 
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beesNme
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« Reply #34 on: May 13, 2014, 01:28:06 PM »

not sure if this will help or hinder, i remember in school we use to make coolers from cardboard boxes, line them with foam and fiberglass them over, you got the benefit of the insulation and the durability of the fiberglass, how bees would react to it well that is unknown to me. i do like blue bees hives though. i asked a club member about poly hives and he said that they would be slow to warm up in spring, true but also the bees would be heating it up as well and over time i think it would balance out. as insulation works both ways.  but thats just my ramblings
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BlueBee
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« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2014, 11:48:07 PM »

i asked a club member about poly hives and he said that they would be slow to warm up in spring, true but also the bees would be heating it up as well and over time i think it would balance out. as insulation works both ways.  but thats just my ramblings
You are correct.  Too bad Finski isn't around to debate that point Smiley

The problem with asking beeks about poly hives is most beeks in America don't use poly hives and are quick to just make up an opinion and belittle anything done differently than in the last 100 years.  Just see any of my posts  laugh

My bees build up much quicker in my foam hives than the few wood I have left IF the winter population hasn't been decimated by mites.  If there are lots of winter bees in a foam hive, they have no problem keeping the hive warm day and night.  A wood hive will get substantial solar gain on a sunny spring day, but then night comes and the heat is quickly lost.
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« Reply #36 on: May 14, 2014, 08:04:53 AM »

i asked a club member about poly hives and he said that they would be slow to warm up in spring, true but also the bees would be heating it up as well and over time i think it would balance out. as insulation works both ways. 

slow to warm up?   They are already warm.

I'm with bluebee on polystyrene hives.   I have had nothing but great results with them.   I must admit,  I was skeptical when I first tried them, but quickly changed my mind.
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edward
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« Reply #37 on: May 14, 2014, 09:07:10 PM »

In Scandinavia we like are bees to sit still in the Winter.

Solar gain will Wake them up to early and make them break the Winter cluster.

When this happens they will use more Winter stores filling their bowls, in an even worse case start egg laying causing the hive to start to early.

If they start laying eggs they have to keep the brood warm, witch demands a lot of energy.

This can cause starvation because the natural necktar - pollen haven't started.

When the willows start to bloom, we Close most of the ventilation so they don't have to work hard to keep the insulated hives warm.

I hope you understand it all a bit more.


mvh Edward  tongue
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beesNme
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« Reply #38 on: May 15, 2014, 09:22:42 AM »

anyway of getting more pictures ?
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jayj200
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« Reply #39 on: May 21, 2014, 06:25:25 PM »

Sam
try using that foil coated tape looks like a roll of aluminum foil with glue.

people us the duct tape to repair screens cause they think its good. to a point it is the UV  's destroy this product down here.
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