Cutting board hive mats

Has anyone tried to make a hive mat from a flexible cutting board?

They are made from food safe plastic, unlike linoleum flooring. They also seem more durable than plastic table cloth, though harder to cut.

Links are to example products.

https://smile.amazon.com/Farberware-Flexible-Cutting-11-Inch-15-Inch/dp/B005G20IIQ

https://smile.amazon.com/CounterArt-Service-Flexible-Cutting-18-Inch/dp/B00XAC1AOA

Haven’t seen it used before, but looks like a good option. I’d make sure they are flexible enough to bend back on themselves, as bees will quickly use propolis to glue them down to the top of the top bars. Using the table cloth allows you to ‘peel’ the cover away when it gets glued down.

18x12 would be almost perfect for an 8 frame hive, probably a bit narrow for a 10 frame. Let us know how it goes :smiley:

I found this too. Silicon! Bake in the oven to clean it up.

I ended up using a silicon baking mat. I got a pack of three sizes. The middle one seemed the best. I have a crown board on above the brood mat. The bees are able to get around it to the feeder. The larger one would be good as a Mercer mat if I cut a hole in the middle.

I though I’d give a bit of an update after a year of silicon baking mats.

Pro:
—The flexibility of the material and heft allows it to lay very flat on the top bars. I did not have any trapped beetles and the bees put very little propolis on it to glue it down.
—I could run my hand over it and easily feel if I had any trapped bees and they were not noticeably harmed after I released them.
—If I had to clean it, I could bake it in the oven or wipe with a solvent.
—No worries if it was food safe unlike linoleum flooring.
—The variable size ended up being a boon as I could change based on weather. A second smaller one could be placed on a lower brood box as a brood mat during colder months.

Con:
They are more expensive than discarded political signs.

Thanks Psyche for the update. I might try and pick one up this weekend. A few weeks ago I put a new migratory lid on my hive and the bees have filled the cavity with burr comb and honey. It is quite a sticky mess. I’d like to put a mat on the top of the bars and this looks like a good option.

Melissa, have you thrown an extra box on and given the girls some more room? Seems like they need some extra space as well.

Hi Andrew,

I have now, but I wish I’d done it sooner.

They are a swarm which arrived on the 20th October into a baited box left on my potting table for just that purpose. I don’t think they are ours as I also caught a swarm from our hive on that day. I witnessed our swarm leave, sit in a tall tree for 24 hrs then try to take off into a 23 knot wind and get blown to ground in our neighbour’s back yard, where I caught them and put them in a nuc. Busy day. As mentioned, these girls arrived on 20th October and 3 weeks later I checked on them - all frames full and burr comb in the lid, so they got a new box. ! I meant to check on them at the 2 week mark but slipped a bit. Now, even with the new box I really would like to put a mat onto the bars as well.

Please post a follow up on how your experiment went.

I’m adding a few photos to demonstrate how they helped.

I’m currently using the smallest mat an it barely covers top bar to top bar on the ends.

I used the smoker to chase the bees off. You can see how much propolis they put down at the edge of the mat. All these frames are about a year old and were in the hive over winter. I did a split so frames got moved around a lot. You can see the lines from the different sizes of mats.