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Author Topic: Insulated Hives?  (Read 450 times)

Offline FatherMichael

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Insulated Hives?
« on: December 31, 2019, 07:10:23 pm »
As I plan for spring 2020 and expansion in my new apiary I wonder wonder if insulated hives might help.

Dr. Thomas Seely seems to think so.  In his exposition of small hive beekeeping he has said the bees need an insulated hive to simulate the qualities of a nest in the wild.

We have extremes of temperature here in West Texas, from 110 to below zero.  Heat spells can last up to two months!  This year, for instance, what began as a great spring and promising for crops ended up with a drought and disappointment.

Does anyone here have experience with insulated hives?  Want to experiment with them.

Offline MikeyN.C.

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2019, 10:58:52 pm »
Like a tree ?

Offline Troutdog

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2020, 05:46:13 am »
Love em not as durable as wood but easier to fix with foam glue
Bee max and paradise Lennox
Stay away from lyson



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Offline beesonhay465

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2020, 07:49:57 am »
the response [ like a tree] prompted this . i have a hive that moved in this spring. the hive is made from recycled hollow core doors. the bottom is about 6 in. deep with a layer of dirt, leaves and rotting wood. the entrances are round and in the . middle of the brood box and the first super. the roof has a tapered shim with screened vent 2 in. high and across the width of the hive. it is adjustable from closed to completely open.in the heat of summer i use a piece of foil faced bubble wrap on top of the frames with the front rolled back and the vent wide open. now  is closed down leaving about 1/4 in open and the upper opening to the super completly closed.

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2020, 12:55:43 pm »
Love em not as durable as wood but easier to fix with foam glue
Bee max and paradise Lennox
Stay away from lyson



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Wow, those have some good R values!  Thanks!

Offline Troutdog

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2020, 01:40:13 pm »
paradise is called bee box sorry about that you can only get them from blue sky bee supply in Ohio......shipping is a killer.

paradise also has no space on top the bee space is on the bottom so adding supers on top of your 2x deeps is a problem of sorts.
their bottom boards are required as well, with beemax you can use solid wood and I recommend you do that.
you will need at least 2 coats of paint and preferably a sprayer. brushing paint on the poly is sooooo time-consuming with all the nooks and indents.

They are much more of a system. Their 6f nucs are awesome and if I had to reinvest in hives I would just run 6f deeps period.

Robo did some thermal work on the hive configurations and really the best is a 2-inch sleeve with 3 inches on top ....... so keep your wood but make a sleeve to fit over. and yes they work great in the summer as well.
the biggest difference I  see here is faster build-up in spring and later brood out at end of the season. I'm cold weather upstate NY so this is a definite advantage. They seem to evaporate honey faster as well. Folks in Australia use em all the time.

They regulate temp and humidity better and I think i have a little less disease in them.

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2020, 08:09:16 pm »
Went with the paradise bee box from Blue Sky -- just submitted the order.

Can see the virtue of two 6 frame deeps for the brood chamber.  Will keep that option in mind.

Went to the new apiary today and with my chainsaw made a clear path for the truck.

Really looking forward to a new year of beekeeping.

Thanks for the feedback, guys.

Offline Troutdog

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2020, 08:41:14 am »
You wont regret the 6f. Bees love it.
The trick to beekeeping is doing what needs being done WHEN it needs to be done.

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Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2020, 05:24:42 pm »
FatherMichal. I also am a pastor a church. Greetings. I enjoy reading your posts. Just how many hives do you have, and how long have you been beekeeping?

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2020, 05:38:42 pm »
We run 100 8f paradise hives. The bees do very well in them.
I do not like their plastic QX as the bees tend to stick them to the frames, making supers hard to split to remove. We have replaced them with steel and makes life easier.
As a migratory Beek the light weight is good, also when handling supers of honey.
Painting is done with a small roller, 8" x 1"which fits the handle slots, plus plenty of paint for the small surfaces of writing etc.
Spray would be good

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2020, 09:55:09 pm »
Like a tree ?

Yes, I've been reading Dr. Thomas Seely, who studied bees in the wild.

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2020, 09:59:36 pm »
FatherMichal. I also am a pastor a church. Greetings. I enjoy reading your posts. Just how many hives do you have, and how long have you been beekeeping?

Fantastic!  We're a new church plant in Lubbock, just getting started.

Have only one hive now, which is doing very well.  I've ordered two nucs.

Been keeping bees off and on for 50 years but my last hives were a long time ago, before Varroa mites.

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2020, 10:08:34 pm »
Decided to retrofit an old deep and shallow with 3/4" polyisocyanurate.

Will glue that to the outside and then stuff the telescoping cover.

We'll see how that stands up.

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2020, 06:33:19 pm »
Got the first of two Paradise Honey Bee Boxes today.

It went together along with a medium super in under an hour and I like it a lot, especially the adjustable entrance.

Will probably add 3/4" of a polyisocyanurate foam board to the top in winter (foil down), plus plug the vents (plugs were included).

With the screened bottom and vented cover the bees should have no trouble staying cool (95 vs. 105 degrees) and evaporating nectar in the heat of our summers.  But the bottom insert may need a piece of 1/2" foam glued on to stiffen and insulate it for winter.

What I do not understand are the deep grooves on the sides, much more than needed for a handle.  ???

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2020, 05:01:41 pm »
I agree about the handles, why so long I am unsure but the depth is good for a grip on a heavy super. our's are 8f full depth.
There are no vents in ours , just the floor mesh, and have no problems with moisture or heat.

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2020, 08:54:42 pm »
I agree about the handles, why so long I am unsure but the depth is good for a grip on a heavy super. our's are 8f full depth.
There are no vents in ours , just the floor mesh, and have no problems with moisture or heat.

Don't know if it will work but I plan not to lift any hives or supers.

Will try to follow Dr. Seely's recommendation of small hive management: one deep brood chamber and super on top.

Will use cell-rite foundation for the brood chamber and foundationless top bars for the super above a queen excluder, harvesting frame at a time instead of whole supers.  Lost my left leg above the knee in a boating accident -- bending and lifting kills me; so, looking for ways to mitigate the back breaking labor.

Offline Robo

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2020, 03:47:39 pm »
Love em not as durable as wood but easier to fix with foam glue
Bee max and paradise Lennox
Stay away from lyson



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Wow, those have some good R values!  Thanks!

Sorry I'm late to the post,  but in reality current polystyrene hives are about equivalent to what a dung covered skep 100 years ago provided as far as insulation.  I've been using BeeMax for probably close to 15 years and will never go back to wood.   I have tried the newer poly hives (paradise, Lyson) and still find the BeeMax to be the best.   They are truly compatible with wooden Langstroths (I still use wooden honey supers in the summer) and have correct bee space.  All the others I have had issues with.

If you haven't already, you want to look into the work Derek Mitchel has published on this subject.   I also spoke at a conference on the thermodynamics of beekeeping a couple of years ago on my experience and experiments.   It can be heard here -> http://beeimprovement.com/audio-library/

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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2020, 05:21:03 pm »
In the polystyrene hive wax moth can cause some real damage, only had one hive with it so far but the larvae drilled right through the sides.
Made a mess on the inside surface.
Troutdog: what are the issues with the Lyson? They are on a big push in Oz, claiming to be better than Paradise. Also saying that they have done a revamp on the design.

Offline Robo

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Re: Insulated Hives?
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2020, 05:31:50 pm »
In the polystyrene hive wax moth can cause some real damage, only had one hive with it so far but the larvae drilled right through the sides.
Made a mess on the inside surface.

Yes, I have a few boxes that have more air than poly in the walls due to letting the wax moths have their way.  Acrobat ants can also be an issue if left on dirt.

Lyson bottom boards had an issue early on with the back of the frames resting on them.  Bees would propolize them making them harder to remove and you would also crush bees when reinstalling.   The latest Lyson hives I have gotten (with BetterBee logo) seem to have addressed this issue.   Although I still find the BeeMax to be the best, followed by Lyson and Paradise last.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison