Bee hives out in a field

Which polystyrene, plastic, and wooden hive components work together? There may be times when you need a hive component and can’t find a wooden version in stock at your favorite beekeeping supply provider. Or, an alternative version of a product you have always used may hold up to the elements longer than its wooden counterpart and you want to give it a try. Mixing and matching wooden, polystyrene, and plastic hive components and accessories can seem daunting, but we’re here to help!

We headed down to the Betterbee warehouse and tested out many combinations of wooden, Lyson (polystyrene), BeeMax (polystyrene), and Bee Smart (plastic) hive parts to let you know which work together if you want to mix and match.

Let's break it down by the type of hive bodies you are predominantly using:

10 frame wooden hive bodies from Betterbee

Because these industry standard boxes and many of our wooden components are manufactured at our sister company, Humble Abodes, all of our 10 frame-labeled wooden equipment is tailor-made to our hive bodies. There are many snug-fitting options for our Humble box users, but if you are in a bind or just want to try something different, you can also use:

8 frame wooden hive bodies from Betterbee

Like the 10 frame, Betterbee's 8 frame hive bodies are also made at Humble Abodes, with wooden hive components made to snugly and perfectly fit our 8 frame hive bodies. However, there are fewer alternative options for the 8 frame setup, which include:

BeeMax 10 frame polystyrene hive bodies

BeeMax hive bodies are known for their higher insulation value than the wooden alternative, which helps keep colonies warmer in winter and cooler in summer. These hive bodies are larger than our standard 10 frame wooden equipment, but the great news is that a lot of Betterbee 10 frame wooden hive components also fit BeeMax hive bodies. And of course, there are also BeeMax-specific components that perfectly fit. Here’s a list of what else works with BeeMax hive bodies:

Lyson 10 frame polystyrene hive bodies

Lyson 10 frame hives work best with Lyson hive components, as the system features a series of latches that hold the boxes and components together in the event of bad weather or attacks by bears or other pests. Other components can fit and can work but won't look quite right. Again, the bees don't care how it looks, but the beekeeper might! Here are a few alternative options to use with your 10 frame Lyson hive:

Lyson 8/9 frame polystyrene hive bodies

Unfortunately, because the dimensions of the 8/9 hive are so different from any other hive components we offer, only 8/9 hive components will fit on these hive bodies. (No other hive has the special interlocking boxes and other unique features that the Lyson 8/9 hive does, making it a great system to try out on its own!)

Take the leap and try something new. You might find your next favorite product in the process!