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Nuplas Blog

Nuplas Blog

General discussions about what is going on in the industry, with Nuplas and sharing ideas..

Plastic Vs Timber Bee Hives

Corry Maher - Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Hello readers and thank you for looking into our new Blog.

As manufacturers of our own Plastic Bee Hives and venturing into other beekeeping supplies, we have found there is great debate concerning what should and should not be used in the beekeeping world. This argument of Plastic Vs Timber polarizes the industry with many beekeepers refusing to look into the benefits of plastic, whether it be foundation sheet, frames or boxes. There are several reasons we have heard from many different beekeepers and the most common is they have inherited the method of beekeeping along with the timber equipment from a friend or family member; therefore this is the way it is done. That is all very well; we all must learn our crafts from somewhere. 

In my travels I spoke to a man in Tasmania, I remember he was a smaller operator and he believed time held him back from expanding his apiary as beekeeping was not his primary income or profession. In my discussion with him he noted the clear benefits plastic offered in saving time regarding maintenance and initial setup. After discussing with him at length several topics he finally said he can see that plastic will replace timber in time and he compared the argument of "Plastic Vs Timber" to the "Wide Comb Dispute" in 1983. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide_Comb_Dispute)

The wide comb dispute involved the introduction of a wider comb for sheep shears which would speed up the shearing process. The arguments against the wide comb were backed by shearers concerns that the comb would make the job of shearing faster and therefore there would be less work to be done, in turn affecting their wages. There was also concern that faster shearers would be preferred by contractors, reducing employment for older shearers. But common sense prevailed and the wider comb become the prominent choice for the discerning shearer and is still used in the industry today. It seems simple enough now, but at the time, not so much.

Efficiency plays a big part in progress in this day and age, time, money and the amount of effort it takes to complete a task comes into play when making decisions. This is where Plastic Bee Hives take a leap forward over Timber. It takes around 5 minutes to assemble one of our boxes and they are ready to go straight away with next to no maintenance down the track. (The lid and base take less than a minute as they are basically one piece units) From the information we have gathered a Timber Box would take 12 times longer, when taking into account dipping and painting. If we do some quick sums, that’s an hour of your time at $20-$25/Hr and a flat pack box at $20 comes to a total of $40/$45 per box before you consider the cost of painting and dipping. Even if you throw your time in for free there is a lot of effort that goes into the dipping, painting and then maintenance of timber equipment. So next time you see bee hives for sale do your sums and work out what is right for you.

There are many more arguments to be made in this debate and we want to hear what you have to say. What do you think? Plastic or Timber?