Micheal,the heated hives look like a pretty good idea.
Micheal,the heated hives look like a pretty good idea.
>NWC make small clusters...
>ferals make smaller clusters...
Michael, just found and read the thread on "feral queens for sale" . I'll be hitting you up for some this summer.
For all you "wrappers" out there: What time of the year do you start bundling and unbundling the hives (please no rhythm and MC jokes)
I try to get my hive wrapped well before the winter weather comes in. But it is nice to do this job when it is a little cooler, so there isnt so many angry bees bothering me. Late Oct.
I like to unwrap a week or two before my queens arrive for early splitting. Mid-late April.
One spring I didnt get around to unwrapping due cool presistant weather, and ended up unwrapping and performing broodwork at the same time. Did not enjoy it at all, due to the extra work needed/yard. Early spring brood work is finicy, due to uncertain spring weather,so it is nice to be able to focus only on splitting during that time.
Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
I've placed tarps in the past on hives, more as an umbrella than for insulative purposes. I think it helped, except it was a pain to feed bees in the spring. I ended up spending more time removing and tying down these tarps than I did feeding. This year I purchased insulated blankets that cover the hives 66" by 72". This covers a 4 pack of singles or my nucs that are 6 to a pallet or the top box of doubles. They'll keep the rain off and should help in the spring for earlier brooding.
As far as any "brilliant and cunning ideas" are concerned, Mr Blue eyed wolf you are headed for a big time disaster. My limited experience, once was enough. However the next year I used solid inner covers. Small unit goes on the strong. Strong unit has a top vent from the inner cover and the weak unit sits on top of the inner cover and also has an inner cover on top of it. Top bees use it as an entrance. This system works but is a pain when you want to work the lower unit.
I wrap my hives when the weather looks like it will stay cold for a prolonged time usually in early to mid November.
The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.
Well, maybe it's a bit late, but I wrapped mine (which are all butted against each other) as a group with 15# felt yesterday. A first in 31 years, and It makes me nervous. [img]smile.gif[/img] I am still a bit worried about condensation.
I read your previous post on this subject, but didn't see any mention of a ventilated cover. Mike Palmer, from Vermont, wraps all of his colonies and winters 4 frame nucs on top of strong colonies. I'm not sure how he vents them. Buster Smith, of Antwerp, NY wraps his hives in late October or early November. He has an inner cover proped up with a small stick in two adjacent corners. Then he wraps his tar paper around the hive and weighs the top down with another flat cover and a rock. His hive consist of a shallow super, then two deeps with the top deep set forward a little for extra ventilation and so that any condensation that collects on the inner cover will run down the face of the top super and out of the hive. It seems to work for him.
Mine all have SBB with a tray in and an upper entrance. Only an upper entrance. i also have styrofoam on the lid to cut down on condensation on the lid. Several, but not all, have a vent box on top of a vented inner cover with a wide notch for the top entrance.
And still you have a condensation problem? The wrapping recomendations that I first heard of said to use straw under the cover, on top of the top bars I believe. Straw, not hay. Straw will wick the moisture away. Hay will hold it and get moldy. Wouldn't you be better off will drier bees rather than insulated bees? Just a thought.
>And still you have a condensation problem?
When I've tried to wrap a nuc (I've never wrapped a hive before) I've always seen LOT'S of condensation. So I'm concerned. I don't know that I have condensation on these, since I just wrapped them Sunday.
>Wouldn't you be better off will drier bees rather than insulated bees?
Precisely my worry about wrapping. But the people in the North who do it certainly seem to think it makes a noticable, positive, difference.
We will see.
A well-known beekeeper here in Maine helped me with my hives this fall. He wraps them in tarpaper and places a piece of homosote (sp?)above the inner cover. He said I will have no problem with moisture. We'll see.
Michael, Do you have enough to experiment with? Wrap half and leave the other half unwrapped? There are people here in Northern New York who don't wrap and those who do. Before 1980 I don't think anyone wrapped and winter loss was very low. Of course that was pre-mite days. But the popularity of wrapping started before the mites arrived. I don't winter anything in NY, so I can't speak from personal experience. But when I start to winter bees here I will follow Buster Smith's example and wrap. Buster is probably the most successful beekeeper in the North Country. Along with Mike Palmer and Rich Wakefield, that is. Rich and Mike wrap. Palmer is available on Bee-L, as you may already know. Drop him a line. I'm sure that he would have some good advice.
Well, my long (horizontal) hives won't get wrapped because of the logistics. They have foam on top (20" by 48") but the sides are 7 1/4" high and 20" by 48" around and they have a 2 by 2 cleat running the long ways. So all in all, I don't see how it's practical. The eight frame vertical hives are all pushed togehter, so I may as well wrap them all together. Besides. I think I have a pretty good idea how unwrapped hives do. I've been not wrapping them for 31 years now. [img]smile.gif[/img]
In the eighties, prior to mites, my father had some hives on his upstate N.Y farm. He would wrap them each fall with a single piece of tar paper. I'd help him with the bees in spring when I travelled to N.Y. for a visit. One fall he told me he was going to experiment with the bees by not wrapping, though I suspect he just didn't feel up to doing it. I lived in Anchorage, so I couldn't do it for him. My thought was "Oh great! Now the bees are all going to die." When I returned to N.Y. in early May the hives were in great shape as were the numerous queen cells within. We did some quick and dirty walk-away splits to make more hives and never worried about wrapping again.
All I'm really hoping to gain is more brood earlier so I'll have more bees to work with to rear queens and sell nucs. I've never had trouble getting them through the winter without the wrap. [img]smile.gif[/img]
>>Hives must be in complete darkness til set out in April on a warming trend.
If the hives are put in complete darkness in the winter then how does the queen know when to start laying?