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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #14173  by NigelP
 27 Nov 2023, 08:50
I think he rain around Teesside must be very different to the rain in the rest of the UK :D
Funny how things differ....when I was running 50:50 wood vs Poly the poly were always miles ahead in the spring with brood rearing (better heat retention) and honey crops were almost double....It was why I scrapped all my wooden hives. as they are so inefficient from the bees point of view.
Also you must use open mesh floors with poly as the heat retention is so good. That is the reason you had bees bearding as you had solid floors. You need to work with bees needs not your preconceptions of what you think they need.....with poly hives the only time you can use solid floors is winter otherwise forbidden!
 #14174  by JoJo36
 28 Nov 2023, 05:12
I wonder how many wooden hives are sold v poly hives and the reasons beekeepers have for buying them??!!
I personally think that wooden ones would/should be stronger and last longer over the years than the poly ones but would be interested to know what percentage of beekeepers prefer poly hives??!!
Like I said before, poly being lighter is a real bonus but the price between each one is not much difference!!
I'm tempted to try one and test it out??!!
This could be a Christmas gift to myself??!! :)
 #14175  by NigelP
 28 Nov 2023, 10:48
Been and added fondant to 4 colonies that were a bit "light". Good job I had 4 wheel drive as the roads were iced over.

Not sure what the percentages are JoJo. I know Abelo reckon they sell more poly than wood these days.
Durability.....well my oldest polys are over 10 years old and still in good nick, some roofs now need repainting. My left over wooden bits; supers , roofs and brood boxes (used for storage) are definitely a bit worse for wear and would need a bit to TLC to get back into service. I think both types are pretty durable. A shame the price of polys has crept up so much, they used to be half the price of a wooden hive.
 #14176  by AdamD
 28 Nov 2023, 12:01
JoJo36 wrote:
28 Nov 2023, 05:12
Like I said before, poly being lighter is a real bonus but the price between each one is not much difference!!
I'm tempted to try one and test it out??!!
This could be a Christmas gift to myself??!! :)
Mick might have some second-hand ones... Just a thought.

When poly's first came out, I bought a Paynes one and a Paradise one. The paynes one was too soft and I didn't like the roof; lack of hand-holds; monsterous floor - and did collect water in the space 'behind' the castellations. I sold that. The Paradise one has some wrong dimensions although I do use it as an over-wintering box. I have been tempted to try an Abelo one but will probably not bother and stick to cedar ones now as I have enough; It's good that Abelo have continued to try to improve them though.
 #14177  by NigelP
 28 Nov 2023, 16:23
Yes, the early Paynes poly hive roofs suffered the same as that abelo short roofs, not enough overhang. That was sorted shortly afterwards and they produced roofs with a deeper overhang. I sold all my Paynes hives several years ago as the incompatibility with any other gear was annoying. It's what I liked about the Abelo hives was they are completely compatible with wooden Nationals hive parts so you could mix and match. I still have about 20 National wooden supers that are in use with the poly hives.
I'm thinking that Mick was quite unfortunate and ended up with a duff batch......
 #14178  by NigelP
 29 Nov 2023, 08:17
Well, seems some science for the poly side....
https://theconversation.com/honeybees-cluster-together-when-its-cold-but-weve-been-completely-wrong-about-why-218066
 #14179  by MickBBKA
 30 Nov 2023, 01:35
NigelP wrote:
29 Nov 2023, 08:17
Well, seems some science for the poly side....
Great theory but its never ever been below -9c where I live in my memory. Winter isn't an issue. Its Spring when the thermal insulation of poly hives stops the bees warming in the sun so they end up weeks behind the wood hives that haven't drowned through water ingress of the poly's and have been out foraging and building up the work force ready to face the East winds of death in March. ;)
 #14181  by NigelP
 30 Nov 2023, 07:58
Mick bees don't rely on spring sun for warmth. They create their own heat and poly helps retain that heat. This can be seen in two way;s less store usage over winter and increased brood rearing. I'm puzzled you find it the other way round. When I ran poly vs wood for experimental purposes the early spring results were 6-7 frames of brood per poly vs 3-4 in wood. And this before my Buckfast days.....
 #14189  by MickBBKA
 02 Dec 2023, 21:58
I know they don't rely on Spring sun but that's not the full picture, they can take advantage of it in a wood hive. Tom Seeley refers to this in one of his books if I am not mistaken, in that bees in man made hives expand faster in the Spring than wild colonies in the same local area living in better insulated tree cavities. Which is exactly what I observe in the fact they are up and out foraging earlier and longer as well as on days when poly hive bees don't leave the hive. As you know bees need to work up to a flying temperature before they leave the hive, they can do this easier when being aided by the warmth of the sun. In a poly hive they have to rely on generating all of that energy themselves. As far as increased brood rearing is concerned my poly hives are always way behind the wood hives once the bees have got going in late Spring. I, like you ran both hive types side by side even going as far as sister queens. I really liked the sales pitch of poly hives but didn't want to just buy the 'Emperors New Clothes' so I experimented for 3 years and have left it to the bees to make the decision for me. They voted wood. I don't know if you experience the wild swings in daily temperature at your locations that I get from March to May but there is obviously some factor to cause the differences we observe.
 #14190  by NigelP
 03 Dec 2023, 14:48
Yes indeed. One factor is my poly hives are dry as a bone..... :D
The simple physics of poly hives means that it has to be really cold for my bees to cluster. I just checked a couple with transparent lids and they still wandering around with their T-shirts on :)
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