Polyurethane beehive design increases honey bee production

Cordoba-based company Termos La Campera S.L.L. has found a solution to increase honey production: to make beehives of polyurethane. This insulating material keeps beehives at a constant temperature and therefore bees do not have to flutter their wings in order to cool hives down in summertime, using this time to produce honey or procreate instead. This company has received 101,393 Euros from a new order of incentives for innovation and managerial development called Orden de Incentivos a la Innovación y al Desarrollo Empresarial -furthered by the Andalusian Ministry of Innovation, Science and Enterprise- for the development of this new honey production system.

Beekeepers from the Andalusian town of Andujar –Jaen province- have been the first ones to try these beehives as an experiment and they have been verified with good results. In addition to a 50% increase in honey production, swarms became more numerous too due to the increase in bees procreation.

According to José Antonio Peláez, manager of Termos La Campera S.L.L. based in the village of Valenzuela (province of Cordoba), the idea originally came from a group of beekeepers, who suggested him to coat the inside of the beehives with polyurethane wood. ‘I didn’t know anything about bees but they told me that while bees spend their time cooling their beehive they don’t produce any honey; then I realised it was a good idea to make beehives that could do this job for them’ , Peláez explained.

Although they already have the necessary machines to make mass production beehives, the company is still working on the mould to be used to make the new beehives. After over two years of work and tests, they have finally chosen duraluminium as the optimal material to make the mould. ‘First we made handmade moulds for apiculturists to try them, and when we realised they did work we contacted a form setter to ask him to make a duraluminium mould with holes where polyurethane could be injected into. When the polyurethane gets dry, the mould is removed and there is a new beehive which can even have a wood effect finish to look more natural’, the manager of Termos La Campera S.L.L. said.

The idea is that these new beehives replace the current wooden ones which are a constant source of problems, such as pieces coming off that must be repaired every now and again. Moreover, another important advantage is their weight, as traditional ones usually weigh 14 kg whereas polyurethane’s weight is just over 3 kg., which makes their transport easier.

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