I live in NH. The winter's aren't what they used to be, but it's still pretty chilly. I've read conflicting information about ventilating for winter. I was going to simply put some thin blocks of wood on the corners of the inner cover. The cover will sit on the brood super, with the notch up (flat side down). Any thoughts?
I have only been through 1 winter myself, but last winter my one hive survived successfully with:
> The entrance reducer in, "large" opening.
> Screen bottom board, but blocked.
> Inner cover with notch down (no reason why, just never moved it)
> small wood blocks on inner cover to prop outer cover up a tad.
I also wrapped in tar paper, to help block wind. But ventilation is critical over the winter.
These were my successful Lang methods for 10 years of wintering in Jefferson, Maine:
1. Two full depth supers with brood chamber and stores.
2. Full open bottom entrance with half inch hardware cloth for blocking mice.
3. Telescopic outer cover on half inch blocks with inner cover hole fully open.
4. Hilltop southern exposure with no insulation or tar paper wrapping.
5. West wind protection.
a lot of folks get caught up in the overwintering hype when they don't need to. the main thing is to keep the bees dry and make sure they have stores. i have a notch cut on my inner lid. it stays down year round and a few twigs under the front corners of the outer lid that stay on year round. i have and have not reduced the entrance and have seen no perceivable difference in the two. it's not the coldest here, but i have seen some days at 0degrees and less. if i was in a colder climate i'd probably have to do things differently.
Wintering a hive is a balancing act.
Too wet and they can can have trouble generating heat and regulating the temperature of the cluster and they can die.
Too dry and they can also die. The colony needs water to make use of their stores. Honey is diluted for use.
There are many ways to bring a hive through to spring.
There are a number of thread going on winter prep and condensate.
Here is one that discusses condensation: http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=213965
Here are some photos of my set up: http://www.mountaincampfarm.com/wst_page5.php
I made one modification regarding the bottom entrance. I fashioned a length of angle aluminum stock to fit snuggly in the entrance. The aluminum has a series of 3/8" holes along its vertical face. The bees come and go through this but mice can't get in. Later in the winter, when the cluster and no longer use the entrance, it can provide good ventilation.
Originally Posted by mistergil
Mountaincamp.... Great photos, thanks for sharing... Is that pollen substitute I see sprinkled on top of the sugar? Do you do all three of these from fall to spring? I'm in Wisconsin and have had good luck feeding as you do on the top bars with an empty super over the top.
Read this information and see if it makes sense to you -- it did me. http://website.lineone.net/~dave.cus...ntilation.html
I live on the Southern Oregon Coast which is rainy and damp. Last winter I had a wet hive and mold. I thought I was doing everything by the book. Almost lost it. Upon surfing the web trying to find some answers I came across David Cushman's site. My hive is now raised 12" off the ground on a wooden bottom board, then a screened bottom board and a slated board (with the slats running in the same direction as the brood foundation). Slated bottoms are suppose to help with ventilation. My 2 hive bodies sit on top of these. I put a 1&1/2" shim because I like to feed patties, an inner cover. I am using a polystyrene roof I made this summer. So far when I pull the tray from the screened bottom board it is dry. It will be interesting to see how they fair this winter.
Your welcome, I have found that photos convey the issue better than words.
>Is that pollen substitute I see sprinkled on top of the sugar?
Yes, I sprinkle it as is out of the bag on top of the sugar. They take it very well in late winter / early spring this way.
>Do you do all three of these from fall to spring?
No, I usually have syrup on from when I start my fall feeding till end of Nov / early Dec. About the time the temps have stayed cold, and the cluster has settle in the lower box.
I start feeding syrup again toward the end of February when the temps start to break to stimulate brood rearing for end of April splits.
I place the granular sugar on sometime in the fall and make sure that they have it till spring and good flying weather returns.