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Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Polyhive 6: Analysis

I bought the hive mail order from Modern Beekeeping for just over £100.

Good points:
  • very, very simple to put together
  • very, very light
  • very helpful vendor when I had a query
  • very cheap
  • a large brood frame (Nationals brood frames are often not big enough to accommodate a prolific queen)
  • they will never, ever, rot (but cedar frames will last 50 years if treated right)
Bad points:
  • doesn't come with a feeder in the pack, you need to buy that extra. I missed that point and have now ordered one (c. £16)
  • not very green - wood is so much more carbon-right
  • the frames are Langstroth size (common in Northern Europe, where this hive comes from) so that means a new stock of foundation and frames
  • the frames need wiring, which was not emphasised on the website. So I now need to buy more tools and components (About £20) to put wire into the frames.
Moot points:
  • will mice and rats gnaw them?
  • will woodpeckers peck them?
  • will cleaning with Caustic Soda satisfy the Bee Inspector if he/she finds EFB or AFB? Or will you have to burn them? No-one seems to know.
Who would use these? Good for:
  • high-volume beefarmer
  • people with back problems.
Not so good for:
  • a traditional-looking hive
  • being "natural".
Will they be good for the bees?

They are used all over northern europe and the reasons are obvious: they are warm and dry. The makers claim that the Queen will lay right across the frame because the edges are not cold.


  1. I guess another bad point is that they are so light that they need to be strapped down.

  2. Aha - I'd popped in to ask that very question. I was worried they could get blown away, especially in the early stages...

  3. Yes, VP, the weight is both good and bad.

    I am minded to put them on old pallets, so I could strap them to the pallet, which is even more secure.


  4. Super interesting post, Stephen, and great to see you posting again after the winter break.

    Regarding what a bee inspector would say if infection was found, I guess that's a question for the local bee inspector. However, there's something on that in the latest issue of BeeCraft (page15) which talks about a different design of modern hive (hard plastic rather than the type you have): "a quick eMail to the local Regional Bee Inspector confirmed that the hive could be disinfected and did not have to be burnt....". Of course I'm not suggesting this answer is definitive, but thought it might be of interest.

  5. Only the roof can get blown off on a polyhive, this is what the strap is for. Once filled with bees and frames the hives themselves are not blown over. I have some facing the prevailing south west gales and though not strapped to their stands they have survived several winters.


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