Why a broccoli box nuc hive is only good for temporary use

In a previous post I have described how to create a nuc hive out of a styrofoam/polystyrene broccoli box.

This thread is to show why this type of box is for temporary use only. These boxes are excellent for moving swarms / nucs / frames between locations, but after a few days the bees will begin to renovate the styrofoam to make additional space.

Here are some examples of polystyrene broccoli boxes that were used to house particularly active swarms… for a little too long.

Note: This is only relevant for the temporary ‘soft’ polystyrene broccoli and similar boxes. This should not be confused with commercial polystyrene (‘poly’) / EPS hives which are made from much denser material and don’t have the same issues.

A broccoli box left a little too long with the side completely opened up

The bees use the newly created space in the side of the box to build additional combs parallel to the frames. A separate hole was opened through a weak point in the base of the box.

The entrance has also been organically enlarged to meet the needs of the swarm. The burr comb on the end of the box was bridged to the frame end bars.

Another example of the inside of the box being hollowed out to accommodate additional combs. This example has a bee space cavity behind the large section of comb.

An example of of the polystyrene residue that is removed from the hive and found ejected at the front of the hive.