Honey being the main ingredient other than water in making mead, I need a lot of it and it’s not exactly cheap. I’ve recently purchased enough beehive boxes for an additional 50 beehives to those I already have.
By placing the hives in my preferred locations this will allow me to better control the honey flavours for future mead batches than if I were relying on purchasing the honey from other beekeepers.
Although it is a fairly large investment, the goal is to make Honey Wines Australia profitable faster after launching in the coming months and hopefully, to be able to reduce the price of the mead in the future.
For years I have used the plastic hive boxes from Nuplas, which are great and last forever. This time though I’ve taken a gamble on trialing the Finnish made Paradise Bee Hives made from high-density foam boxes supplied by Australian Honey Bee in Canberra. For anyone interested, here is my little review.
Paradise Beehives Review
Pros: The foam beehives are claimed to be up to 30% more efficient than other material (wood, plastic) Which if true would be excellent. The logic being fewer bees have to be dedicated to heating or cooling the hive than required in lesser insulated hives. Those bees are freed up to make me more honey instead. The foam hive boxes are strong but also very light which is great when you’re lifting a box with 20kg or more of honey in it. The customer service from Australian Honey Bee is also to be commended.
Cons: So far the only negative I can say is where the frames sit inside the boxes they don’t sit completely flat in the channel they sit in or completely touch the wall. This allows the hive destroying pest called the small hive beetle to be able to run up and down underneath the end bits of the frames and hide in places the bees can’t reach them. Although with traps in place a strong hive can (usually) keep the beetle under control, it is still a design flaw that the beetles have a part of the hive they have free reign in.
Conclusion: I think the positives outweigh the negatives, however for a problem that can so easily be fixed I can’t understand why the manufacturer hasn’t improved the design of the channel the frames sit in.