Glass Crown Board to observe bees in winter

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john1 

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I hope in winter we do not open the brood or super (I have left a super with a little bit of honey in most of the frames).

I open the roof and leave the sugar syrup on the wooden crown board.
I have not opened the super or brood for the last 2 months.

I hope I will have to leave the hive without opening until April.

So, I am planning to use a clear glass crown board to see the bees in winter.

Has anyone used any of the following glass crown boards -



Not sure which one to choose, or if there is any cheaper one available.

Thanks
 
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I have both but started off with glass. My preference is polycarbonate as it has no ridge in the middle. So if adding a plastic tub or fondant pack over the hole it’s flat to the surface, so bees don’t escape in the gap between the glass and the ridge and the base of the material you’re putting over the hole. Easier to cover the hole too. Inherently a warmer material, though I top insulate with kingspan all year; glass and wood can be blowtorched for cleaning.
 

Ian123 

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Glass crown boards are a relic and are as practical as a chocolate fire guard! Use the poly. As to not opening hives till April I suggest you let the weather and bees decide! and are monitoring hives during the winter.
I never get over the number of people who you hear in April saying I’ve just been down to inspect my bees and there dead/starved. When weather has permitted inspections for the month before😳 In some areas colonies are booming by then and some are even swarming.
 
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madasafish 

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I use polycarbonate crown boards. I rarely use them in winter as it tends to be cold and wet. And nothing much to see.
If I need reassuring I heft the hive. If heavy? Ok. If light feed. Not much else possible in winter.

Glass ? Far too dangerous/fragile/heavy. 1940s beekeeping
 

Gilberdyke John 

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I hope in winter we do not open the brood or super (I have left a super with a little bit of honey in most of the frames).

I open the roof and leave the sugar syrup on the wooden crown board.
I have not opened the super or brood for the last 2 months.

I hope I will have to leave the hive without opening until April.

So, I am planning to use a clear glass crown board to see the bees in winter.

Has anyone used any of the following glass crown boards -



Not sure which one to choose, or if there is any cheaper one available.

Thanks
I make my own out of 3mm polycarbonate and offcuts of wood. Insulation lies on top of the polycarbonate to stop condensation. Kingspan is good but polystyrene works pretty well too.
 

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hemo 

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5 or 6mm used poly carb here to make up insulated CB's. I have used polystyrene but do cover in 100mm foil tape to stop the other creatures eating/nesting in it .
 
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It feels like glass would be more prone to condensation than poly, so I've always avoided it. At least one equipment seller's website specifically says this and recommends that glass crownboards aren't used in winter.
 
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My polycarbonate crown boards, only a year old, have become fairly opaque due to wax and propolis. I feel the hive tool will scratch the surface. Should I remove the CB s and soak in washing soda? - obviously not until spring now.
 

Apiarisnt 

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My polycarbonate crown boards, only a year old, have become fairly opaque due to wax and propolis. I feel the hive tool will scratch the surface. Should I remove the CB s and soak in washing soda? - obviously not until spring now.
I have been using acrylic (aka Perspex) rather than polycarb because it is marginally cheaper, but it is much more susceptible to scratching. I have tried all sorts of ways of cleaning them, but most seem just to spread the wax and propolis across all the surface. Eventually I invested in a half decent Kärcher steam cleaner, which will also be used for cleaning poly nucs.

When I announced to her indoors that I was buying some cleaning equipment for the kitchen floor, I was met with ridicule rather than mere disbelief. "What has
it got to do with bees?" I was immediately asked.


Acrylic CB before.jpgAcrylic CB after.jpg
 

john1 

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Hi,
When I search online I can see 6mm, 5mm, 4mm etc. ploycarbonate sheets -



Not sure which is the right thickness for crown board (they are expensive).

Can anyone please tell me what thickness should be the wood piece to make the frame around the polycarbonate to turn it to a proper crown board. I hope I can just screw the wood to the polycarbonate.

Thanks,
 

Apiarisnt 

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Hi,
When I search online I can see 6mm, 5mm, 4mm etc. ploycarbonate sheets -



Not sure which is the right thickness for crown board (they are expensive).

Can anyone please tell me what thickness should be the wood piece to make the frame around the polycarbonate to turn it to a proper crown board. I hope I can just screw the wood to the polycarbonate.

Thanks,
I experimented. 3mm too flimsy, 6mm too thick but 4mm seems to me in the Goldilocks zone. For all the hassle foregone, the little extra cost of having them cut to size makes life a great deal easier. I order online pieces cut to 430mm x 430mm then make up 460mm x 460mm frames for them
 

hemo 

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4 or 5 mm for rigidity but if 6mm came my way I wouldn't refuse it. Timber surround is bee space thickness.
However rather then just make up a CB why not go the full hog and make up an Polycarb CB eke with a bee space one side and the other side deep enough for 50m pir.
 
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Apiarisnt 

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4 or 5 mm for rigidity but if 6mm came my way a wouldn't refuse it. Timber surround is bee space thickness.
However rather then just make up a CB why not go the full hog and make up an Polycarb CB eke with a bee space one side and the other side deep enough for 50m pir.
The ones in my pictures above are made from 20mm x 44mm batten. One side has a bee space, the other ~35mm. Bee space side down in summer, bee space side up in winter, leaving enough room underneath for a slab of fondant.
 

Gilberdyke John 

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Hi,
When I search online I can see 6mm, 5mm, 4mm etc. ploycarbonate sheets -



Not sure which is the right thickness for crown board (they are expensive).

Can anyone please tell me what thickness should be the wood piece to make the frame around the polycarbonate to turn it to a proper crown board. I hope I can just screw the wood to the polycarbonate.

Thanks,
Trying to screw wood directly to polycarbonate causes the polycarbonate to split. I build eccentric crown boards with beespace one side and 1" the other so by flipping the board it caters for an apiguard tray during autumn Varroa treatment. Drill through from the thin wood and the polycarbonate to provide clearance for the screw. I also cut a 1" hole central to the poly for use with a rapid feeder. This is closed with a thin offcut at all other times. There's no point making the hole bigger as it coincides with the size of the tunnel in the feeder.
 

hemo 

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The ones in my pictures above are made from 20mm x 44mm batten. One side has a bee space, the other ~35mm. Bee space side down in summer, bee space side up in winter, leaving enough room underneath for a slab of fondant.
Yes the larger depth space on the opposite face does have it uses, if I have to feed fondant in stead of syrup I place a whole 12.5kg slab or half a slab on and remove the PIR and invert the polycarb cb/eke. The PIR still sits on top of the 9mm bee space under the roof, once the fondant is stored all gets put back the correct way.
 

john1 

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Thanks all,
I bought a 4mm polycarbonate sheet, 6mm piece of timber for one side (bee space) and a 50mm treated roof batten for the other side (eke).

I will make a hole in the middle of the polycarbonate to leave the fondant above the polycarbonate (I think if I leave the fondant above the frames directly, that will block the bees and they will not be able to move freely above the frames).
Thanks
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I think if I leave the fondant above the frames directly, that will block the bees and they will not be able to move freely above the frames
The only reason they need to be up above the frames it to get at the food - if the fondant is on the top bars, they don't need to go any further
 

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