The new hives are providing temperature-controlled climates for bees
New hives made from expanded polystyrene – a material recently renamed ‘airpop’ across Europe – are helping the UK’s bee population survive increasingly common extremes of climate.
Airpop, which is 98 percent air captured in a polystyrene matrix, is said to be the ideal choice to replace traditional wooden bee hives due to its durability and thermal insulation qualities, which help keep the bees warm in winter when heavy frosts can devastate a bee colony - and cool in summer when overheating can be an issue.
“The difference in honey yield is quite remarkable and demonstrates the importance of providing a safe, thermally insulated home for this precious creature,” said Roger Payne, from one of Britain’s biggest commercial beekeepers, Paynes Southdown, in Sussex.
“The new hives are proving extremely popular not just for commercial beekeepers but also for amateurs as they require virtually no maintenance compared with traditional materials. It’s question of moving forward with the times and if that means bees benefit then we all do.”
The temperature-controlled homes allow the bees make increased quantities of higher quality honey, as they spend less time trying to regulate the temperature inside the hives themselves.