Plastics are a product of the petro-chemical industry. Why would anyone want to put these types of decaying substances near bees?
Plastics are creeping into everything, foundation, frames, paint on the boxes and even the boxes are being made of plastics. The ‘badest’ of all plasticis polystyrene (EPS). The Flow Hive component is all plastic. Now, many beekeepers are storing and selling honey in plastic.
Recently I collected a nucleus hive from a local queenbreeder. I try not to disturb starter hives but noticed they were stalling in their progress, so it was time to take a closer look. I was shocked to find 2 frames with yellow plastic foundation in the hive and the girls were struggling to put wax on it. Instead they were jamming themselves into the fresh comb frames and into the lid. As soon as I replaced the plastic, the colony became calmer and doubled in size. Had I left them any longer, I could easily have had queen cells developing trying to solve the bad pheromones in the hive.
Why are beekeepers not questioning the purity of their products and the health of their bees when it comes to plastics? Apart from being an environmental disaster when disposing of the product, it poses a real danger in so many ways. The moment it is made is starts to decompose and the warmer it becomes, then the faster is this decay with increased out-gassing of toxic and cancerous chemicals. Most plastics are endocrine disrupters in humans so I would hate to imagine what they do to bees. Any closed space will see these chemicals contaminating wood, wax, honey and the bees.
Given bees are able to smell bee pheromones from 8 klms, you can imagine how much chemical smells can upset their assessment of brood and queen scents as well as forage smells. so you will understand when I take much pleasure from those that keep bees in natural wood environments that allow the bees to function at their best. I secretly get some pleasure hearing the reports of cockatoos chewing plastic and EPS hive lids, and rats chewing holes in plastic bottom boards and boxes (poor animals), but I hope it encourages beekeepers back to wood.
Let bees live in natural environments and you will have happy beeking!