Polystyrene Hive Vs Wood: Differences, Pros, Cons (Best One)

Yes, this is a long-standing dispute, breaking spears, throwing slippers, a calm attitude, and all together. The material of the hive i.e polystyrene hive vs wood is important and each of the options has pros and cons, as well as nuances of reference for beginners beekeepers tools.

We will limit ourselves to two options: a wood (ordinary conifers spruce pine, without exotic and linden, since I don’t have such hives) and a polystyrene hive (PPS) (I didn’t use polyurethane foam, but I didn’t like the sample that I had a chance to feel, too soft). I also have composite ones (a frame with polystyrene insulation and birch plywood on top), I need to talk about them separately.

Polystyrene Hive Vs Wood

Table of Contents

polystyrene hive vs wood: Pros and Cons

Let’s discuss the difference and pros and cons of polystyrene hive vs wood each in detail;

polystyrene hive vs wood: Pros

Pros of Wood Hive (this is my layout in order of priority)

  • the most, in my opinion, the most important point cheapness in self-production. In principle, you can buy another slab car for almost free, put it under a canopy and make hives a year later in winter (provided, of course, with direct hands and the necessary equipment).
  • room for creativity: if not everyone, then from the second to the third beekeeper at least once tried to design his own version of the hive or modify the existing one. Our work is conducive to creativity, each apiary has its own conditions, unique and for them, at least a little, but we sharpen, remake, finish sawing. Even when working with teaching staff, carpentry is needed (the dona did for them, roof linings, etc.).
  • stronger than polystyrene hive, less likely to break when dropped, rather the connection of the boards will disperse. Different animals gnaw and hollow less. The edges of the chisel are less damaged.
  • conditional environmental friendliness. Conditional because, under certain conditions, PPP is more environmentally friendly.
  • The possibility of thermal disinfection with a blowtorch or a powerful building hair dryer. I put it in last place, but maybe someone in the first place.

Pros of polystyrene hive

  • warm, with the same thickness as wood, it keeps the temperature much better.
  • light, the back will definitely thank you. There are several home-made wooden ones inherited from one grandfather, so there, only as long as you lift the lid, you will already get tired (I exaggerate, but if there are 50-100 such lids per day, it is lifted during inspection, then it’s like a Khan’s back).
  • it does not absorb moisture in winter, and does not change the moisture in the depth of the material at all, which means that the bees will not have to spend energy on drying, and the beekeeper will observe and close cracks in the split boards, there will be no gaps between the bodies.
  • if you take from one manufacturer all parts will fit each other perfectly. In the production of PPS, standard stamps and at least a hundred hives annually buy for 10 years – the parts will fit each other.

polystyrene hive vs wood: Cons

Cons of wooden beehives:

  • the wood is much heavier than the polystyrene hive.
  • wood has a higher thermal conductivity, other things being equal it is colder than polystyrene hive.
  • wood changes its characteristics depending on humidity, up to size and geometry. Boards crack, curl, etc. Especially with unsuccessful drying, but also during operation. Wood is a “living” material. In winter, it absorbs moisture during the breathing of bees, and in spring the bees have to evaporate this moisture, which consumes energy that is especially valuable in spring. This can be seen from the rate of development of colonies, the bees in the PPS are gaining strength faster than in the wood.
  • wood can rot (be destroyed by fungi) – this is a question of durability and environmental friendliness.

Cons of polystyrene hive

  • in my opinion the main disadvantage – polystyrene hives gnaw, hollow, break, the bees themselves, squirm with a chisel. I have the most. The bear does not care what kind of hive to break, he crushed wooden ones with equal ease. Although, perhaps, it will not cope with a capital sunbed.
  • in the field it is more difficult to repair (although I put the store that had split from the fall into operation with the help of adhesive tape), in wood it is easier to replace the damaged board.
  • expanded polystyrene begins to break down at lower temperatures than wood. This means that it cannot be thermally processed, for example, burned with a blowtorch. The following data are available for thermal degradation:

it is impossible to talk about the release of styrene during the operation of polystyrene foam blocks in the temperature range from minus 40 to plus 70 ° C. In the scientific literature, there is evidence that the oxidation of styrene at temperatures up to +110 °C practically does not occur, the destruction of expanded polystyrene begins at a temperature of +160 °C.

  • Polystyrene itself is not dangerous, which is why food trays and other food packaging are made from expanded polystyrene

According to large-scale scientific studies conducted in 2010 in connection with the passage of the mandatory procedure for re-registration of chemicals in the European Chemicals Agency in accordance with the REACH regulation, the following conclusions were made:

  • mutagenicity – no reason for classification;
  • carcinogenicity – no basis for classification;
  • reproductive toxicity – no basis for classification.

But, not everyone is convinced by scientific information. And therefore:

  • marketing. Styrofoam hive honey is considered by both beekeepers and honey buyers to be not entirely environmentally friendly. It is their right to think so, so we write it down as a separate item. Although, at the same time, these people are not embarrassed by the plastic container in which “environmentally friendly honey from a wooden beehive” is packed. (I wrote about the container separately) .
  • I will separately say about the destruction in the sun. Styrofoam breaks down faster from sunlight than from temperature. The surface starts to peel off. It separates into styrene itself and carbon dioxide, which fills the bubbles. Therefore, PPS hives must be painted on the outside (everything is in perfect order inside, the bees do not even particularly propolis the walls of the PPS hive, like a wood, for example).