View Full Version : Winter bee storage indoors?
08-05-2008, 06:26 AM
I am in my second season with bees (lost them all in winter one), live in central Minnesota, and only have a couple of hives. I am considering moving them into my storage shed for the winter. I would consider using a small space heater to moderate the temps a bit. Does anyone move bees into a similar location as a way of moderating temperature extremes? When do you generally move them in? What temp should they be kept at?
Thanks for your help.
08-05-2008, 06:48 AM
I have never done that...Bees maintain a temperature of 92-93 degrees Fahrenheit in their central brood chamber, regardless of the weather outside. Whether the outside temperature is 110 or -40 degrees. So if your hive is strong, having a high populous colony, then in winter, they should be ok.
08-05-2008, 07:53 AM
The University of Minnesota has a beekeeping department or lab. It has courses on beekeeping in northern climates. There are a few Canadian beekeepers still active on Beesource that might contribute something later. You can do a search here using words like, "overwintering indoors', 'indoor storage'. Some of the threads are from 2-3 years ago but still usefull. Not that it's necessary, even in Wisconsin, but I wrap my hives.
08-05-2008, 08:12 AM
some of the older bee books talk of over wintering bees in cellars. It was quite common years ago. If you was to do it you will need to keep the room totally dark 24-7. Becareful with the heater if they get to warm they will want to fly if there is light in the room. IMO there is no reason to winter indoors they have just has good a chance making thru the winter outdoors if you do a good winter prep. provide a wind block and maybe wrap the hives. Make sure there is good ventilation to keep the moisture from collecting. most important make sure they have the stores to over winter with. Check them from time to time to make sre they are not light on stores. they should winter fine.
08-05-2008, 09:14 AM
There has been a lot of research done on wintering bees.
The most important concept for the keeper to remember is that the bees do not heat the interior of the hive.
The other concept is the actual temperature of the wintering cluster. 55 degrees.
Bee houses for wintering bees has been done for a long time in Germany and other place.
The subject of wintering bees can use ream after ream of paper.
Next winter try inserting a thermometer into the hive to record the temperatures.
Ernie Lucas Apiaries
08-05-2008, 07:33 PM
Try a search on "indoor" and "wintering" and you'll find many good discussions and much input from people who have learned the lessons the hard way on how to do it or not do it.
08-05-2008, 08:05 PM
The temperature of wintering bees is more like 55 degrees F.
I gues it depends on where or what you are reading... that is not what I read...
08-05-2008, 08:07 PM
Those are my thoughts.
08-05-2008, 09:05 PM
You should be able to winter bees outdoors in Willmar. The bees have to be healthy and you probably want to wrap them with some insulation. A lot of people farther south don't wrap, but up here it really helps. It's not the mid-winter cold that kills them, it's the sudden late winter or spring cold snap that does it. The bees have a lot of brood, the cold hits and they have to contract too keep warm which pulls them away from their food supply and they starve. An insulating wrap reduces heat loss enough that they don't have to contract as much and they are able to make it through. You also want to make certain they have plenty of food.
PM me and I'll explain in detail how I do it. My method may be overkill, but it works in this climate.
08-05-2008, 09:10 PM
What temp should they be kept at?
Thanks for your help.
The inside shed temp should be 41 degrees.