Polystyrene v Cedar

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Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
309
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108
Location
Kent
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
5
I'm contemplating Demarre for next year (not wishing to increase my colonies) and I will have to buy some more (14x12) brood boxes.
With the recent discussion on here regarding keeping the bees warm in winter, I wondered if it's possible / advisable to mix in poly brood boxes with standard National kit. If so,which make? I make my own UFEs and am on bottom bee space. Any advice appreciated. Thanks.
 
All my colonies are on 100% Abelo poly.
It's my first year on this format. I've been warned to keep a close eye on them in very early spring, as poly colonies tend to start a lot earlier than colonies in timber.
 
All my colonies are on 100% Abelo poly.
It's my first year on this format. I've been warned to keep a close eye on them in very early spring, as poly colonies tend to start a lot earlier than colonies in timber.
I think a lot of people who keep both might disagree. Wood starts earlier but overtaken pretty quickly by poly.
 
All my colonies are on 100% Abelo poly.
It's my first year on this format. I've been warned to keep a close eye on them in very early spring, as poly colonies tend to start a lot earlier than colonies in timber.
Thanks. Hopefully in the future I might have some experience to compare the two.
 
It's what suits the beekeeper IMO, the bees really don't care. Can't say I noticed any difference with colony build up, some are stronger than others but nothing to do with their hives, in fact I often find the strongest colonies in old, crumbly boxes. Only poly I have now is nucs, for convenience but they are a little pricey these days.
 
With the poly if only on a single brood then one will need to go double brood pretty quickly to make use of the early increase and nectar income , once one notices the early spring flows cominng in then supers are needed pronto to pre-empt early swarming . This is often delayed altogther or until a bit later in to late spring/early summer.
This spring was a very good one and the flows were heavy, a couple of my largest colonies had in excess of 100lbs of nectar in quite short time. Which they then dawdled in converting so I had to keep adding supers as it was coming in faster then the conversion.
 
Bee boxes are one of the few choices you have NOT to create more plastic in the environment. I wonder how many plastic bags are equivalent to a brood box.
"However, expanded polystyrene is 100% recyclable, depending on its previous use and cleanliness it can be either recycled into completely new expanded polystyrene products, or used to make slate alternative roofing tiles, or hardwood substitute products such as garden furniture that will not rot. In fact in the UK 33% of all expanded polystyrene manufactured is recycled, this is a much higher level than both aluminium and glass. Recycling expanded polystyrene is a relatively energy efficient process, using less resources in terms of energy and water than recycling paper."

https://www.beehivesupplies.co.uk/PDF/Recycling and Environmental Considerations.pdf
 
"However, expanded polystyrene is 100% recyclable, depending on its previous use and cleanliness it can be either recycled into completely new expanded polystyrene products, or used to make slate alternative roofing tiles, or hardwood substitute products such as garden furniture that will not rot. In fact in the UK 33% of all expanded polystyrene manufactured is recycled, this is a much higher level than both aluminium and glass. Recycling expanded polystyrene is a relatively energy efficient process, using less resources in terms of energy and water than recycling paper."

https://www.beehivesupplies.co.uk/PDF/Recycling and Environmental Considerations.pdf

:laughing-smiley-014

"Well they would say that wouldn't they?" I find myself using this sentence as a defense against this sort of green-washing.

'depending on [sic] cleanliness' Covered in propolis? I've been struggling to get propolis out of the vinyl floor in my kitchen where I do extractions. (been trying the phosphoric acid spray from Thorne) A brood box that's been used for a decade?

. . . . Ben
 
"However, expanded polystyrene is 100% recyclable, depending on its previous use and cleanliness it can be either recycled into completely new expanded polystyrene products, or used to make slate alternative roofing tiles, or hardwood substitute products such as garden furniture that will not rot. In fact in the UK 33% of all expanded polystyrene manufactured is recycled, this is a much higher level than both aluminium and glass. Recycling expanded polystyrene is a relatively energy efficient process, using less resources in terms of energy and water than recycling paper."

https://www.beehivesupplies.co.uk/PDF/Recycling and Environmental Considerations.pdf
If your local recycling centre takes it.

Recycled paper is still biodegradable at the end. Poly boxes aren't.

Relatively energy efficient

Still uses more energy than putting an old wood hive box onto a wood pile or compost heap where it will benefit insects and at least some of the carbon will be sequestered in the soil. Or better still, it could be looked after such that it's still usable as originally intended decades later.

Best to avoid greenwashing.
 
If your local recycling centre takes it.

Recycled paper is still biodegradable at the end. Poly boxes aren't.

Relatively energy efficient

Still uses more energy than putting an old wood hive box onto a wood pile or compost heap where it will benefit insects and at least some of the carbon will be sequestered in the soil. Or better still, it could be looked after such that it's still usable as originally intended decades later.

Best to avoid greenwashing.
And I’m still trying to find out exactly how efficient poly hives are. I can get R values for cedar but no one seems to publish poly hive data.
 
And I’m still trying to find out exactly how efficient poly hives are. I can get R values for cedar but no one seems to publish poly hive data.
TBH I suspect they're a lot more efficient than cedar... do you need an exact figure?
 
TBH I suspect they're a lot more efficient than cedar... do you need an exact figure?
I think measurement would be best. I have discovered recently that many R values are calculated rather than measured. That sort of turns it into one of those "Why guess when you can measure" situations...
 
I think measurement would be best. I have discovered recently that many R values are calculated rather than measured. That sort of turns it into one of those "Why guess when you can measure" situations...
Surely this comes down to the purpose of the question. If wanting to know how thick to make cedar walls for them to become equivalent to poly, I agree measurement would be most appropriate. However, if weighing up poly against wood when considering lots of different factors such as price, longevity, environmental impact and benefits for the bees, a more vague (although still needing to be accurate) concept of 'this is roughly the same as/this is slightly better than/this is significantly better than' might be sufficient rather than needing an exact value.
 
Surely this comes down to the purpose of the question. If wanting to know how thick to make cedar walls for them to become equivalent to poly, I agree measurement would be most appropriate. However, if weighing up poly against wood when considering lots of different factors such as price, longevity, environmental impact and benefits for the bees, a more vague (although still needing to be accurate) concept of 'this is roughly the same as/this is slightly better than/this is significantly better than' might be sufficient rather than needing an exact value.
I would like to know how efficient a poly hive is so I could mimic it in cedar/poly combination with skip raided poly.
 

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