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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Lamoille County, Vermont, USA
    Posts
    101

    Post

    I was fascinated by the January discussion of "School Bus for hive house."
    http://www.beesource.com/cgi-bin/ubb...=002373#000009

    In my locale, keeping bees in a shed would be a perfect solution for winter, but I wonder about how it could work for summer, which can be quite humid here. Keeping the hive in full/partial sun is very important around here, and I wonder if bees would suffer for lack of the sun (constant shade) if they were indoors. Are there ideal indoor conditions/temperatures for keeping bees indoors?

    I would love to hear from beekeepers in northern climes that have experience with keeping bees in sheds. Are there any here??
    GreenMountainRose

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
    Posts
    716

    Post

    Hopefully some of our members from across the pond can help you as alot more people in europe use shed for beekeeping. Only reason for my post is to bump it back to the top and give you hope about getting and answer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Falconer, NY
    Posts
    206

    Post

    I have often wondered about this myself. Being in an area of lake effect snow and on top of a hill. The mosture potential problem concerns me. I was thinking of a thee sided shed with the open side facing south east. Set up on a gravel bed. I hope there is some expierance here that can chime in.

    tom

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,368

    Post

    I keep meaning to try using calf hutches to shelter some hives over winter.

    http://www.calf-tel.com/

    The calves do very well in them all winter here in Wisconsin, and they could be easily removed in spring. And if they didn't seem to make a difference, they would be very easy to re-sell.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Lamoille County, Vermont, USA
    Posts
    101

    Post

    I did find this website. The idea does not seem very promising.

    http://www.stratford-upon-avon.frees...s/BeeSheds.htm
    GreenMountainRose

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    I don’t think that an un-heated shed buys you very much, if anything in winter.
    The inside shed temperature would be very close to the ambient outside temperature.
    During any winter warm ups, the shed may keep the temperature of the hive colder and may not allow the cluster to break or move to get stores as freely.
    They may not get that few hour break one day to void, that can make all the difference.
    During the early spring when solar gain is so important, the shed again will set you back.
    Keeping hives in the shed during the summer in the north, where temps are usually not the issue, will keep the foragers in later in the morning.

    I would look at what you wanted to over come by using a shed, and look at alternatives, such as wrapping or insulation.
    If it is trying to over come the cold winter temperatures, a unheated shed will not do that.
    If it is wind, then wrapping or a wind break will work very well.
    A shed will not resolve moisture issues.

    I have found that setting a winter hive up with a black felt paper wrap, a feeder box without frames, and paper with granulate sugar on the top bars has almost eliminated my winter / spring losses. This year I set 21 hives up this way, and all 21 look good as of yesterday. The only hive I lost this winter was in January, they starved, and I tried something different.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Lamoille County, Vermont, USA
    Posts
    101

    Post

    Mountaincamp,

    When you put the sugar in, is it hard like a brick, or is it loose and granulated? How much do you add? Do you think the extra box helps with the ventilation?
    GreenMountainRose

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    I put the sugar in loose, just out of the bag, a couple pounds. The empty box, paper, and sugar over the center of the hive with the sugar on it perform a few functions:
    #1) The paper and sugar absorb moisture / condensate that form on it.
    #2) Any moisture that forms on the inner cover can not fall back down on to the cluster, below the paper.
    #3) The moist warm air flows around the paper toward the outside walls of the box, where it can form and not fall onto the cluster.
    #4) The sugar acts as feed for the cluster if they want it or need it.
    #5) The feeder / empty boxes are either old deeps with flaws, or made of rough cut pine with butt joints. They do allow for extra ventilation.
    #6) The feeder / empty box allows me to late fall / early winter and late winter / early spring feed syrup in jars placed on the top bars.
    #7) The feeder / empty box allows me to open the hive without disturbing the cluster no matter where it is. If it has moved up to the top, and is using the sugar, I can add as needed.
    #8) The feeder / empty box allows me to check the cluster, food supplies, moisture / condensate, etc of a hive even at cold temps because the cluster cannot be up against the top / inner cover. Before using the empty box, if I popped a top and inner cover, I could only do it on days where I did not mind the cluster being disturbed because they could be right against the inner cover.
    #9) The feeder / empty box allows me to place feed right over the cluster if they have moved to one side. With an inner cover on the top bars, feed can be place over the center hole. However, if the cluster is off to the side of the center hole and the weather is cold, they may not be able to use the extra feed and starve.

    The way I set my winter hives up with the empty box, paper, sugar, and wrapped has worked for me. Will it work in all locations, I don’t know. Will some location require slight changes, such as added ventilation for very wet / damp location, yes. However, it has for me with winter temps as low as -20 to -30F.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Troupsburg, NY
    Posts
    4,074

    Post

    Mountaincamp:

    What if they were located in a heated shed? How warm does it need to be to do any good? Is too much heat a problem, say 60-70 degrees. Will it cause the cluster to break up and move to much? Or would it be better to just keep it above, or just below freezing? If you were using longhives, what changes for winter prep would you suggest? Would it be safe to put the cluster in a vertical orentation, and then winter two or more clusters in the same longhive? Just some thoughts.

    peggjam
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,123

    Post

    Good question........ If bees were moved to a well ventilated, heated warehouse/building of say 35 degrees F........ Would there be less losse?? Any studies out there?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Post

    Search on indoor wintering and see what comes up. We've discussed it many times and those who've done it have offered good advice. The fact is what works well is often counterintuitive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    The ambient air temperature at which a cluster is most efficient at using stores is about 45F. Above this temperature bees will use more stores because of movement and below this temperature they will use more stores to generate heat.


    A climate controlled room with air exchangers and complete darkness are what is recommended.
    You want the room temperature about 30 to 35F, to keep the bees clustered and the activity down.
    I do know that there are some on the site that have indoor wintered and they could better give you the pros and cons.

    I have look at the work required to indoor winter hives, compared to the work that I currently do for preparations, and in my area anyway, it does not make any sense for me.

    As far as less losses this would be very dependent on a number of factors, where you winter, how you winter, and what your wintering success has been. I would have to say it takes a few years to get wintering bees down in most northern areas. What works and what doesn’t work and why.

    I would have to say that the actual reason that a hive failed or died in winter is far too often mis-diagnosed. I read that “mites” were the reason almost all of the time.
    My next statement is going to get reactions and get me taken to task. However here it is, can mites have a negative affect on a hives health and their ability to winter well, yes. However, are they the sole reason most hives die during winter, I don’t think so.
    I can’t say that I ever lost a hive solely to mites or because of mites. The vast majority of the hives that I have lost over the years were by my mistakes. I did not prepare them well enough for winter.
    Before mites winter losses were placed at 5 – 30% annually based on where hives were wintered. In Minnesota during the early 70’s they averaged 20 – 25% losses.
    I stopped using Apistan and Checkmite over 7 years ago. I did not use anything for over 2 years and for the last 4 years, I have used only oils in spring and fall feeds, except for this past December I did (1) treatment of OA trickle method. My winter losses have been no worse than anyone else’s in the area, and actually better then most.
    Three winters ago wrapping and preparing 14 hives in Round Top, I lost (1) hive from moisture where mice had plugged the works up.
    Last winter NOT wrapping any of the 14 hives in Round Top, and (6) in Catskill, I lost (11) hives in Round Top and (2) in Catskill, almost all of them the end of February / March. Mites do not kill a northern hive in March, weather, food, and brood location does.
    This year with wrapping 17 hives in Round Top, and (5) in Catskill, I have lost (1) hive from starvation in early January. This was my fault based on how I set the hive up for winter. The temps the last few nights have been in the single digits as low as 3F / -16C.
    The key to wintering success is preparation and finding what works in your area.

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