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Thread: Winter sto

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Vancouver, BC

    Default Winter sto

    My apiary is as exposed as it gets, and have had significant winter losses likely due to this.
    Wind comes from the south, as of course does the sun.

    What would their chances be if they were placed on the north side of a metal shed (unheated). So, they'd be out of the wind but would also remain cold with the sun never reaching them?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS


    I'd leave them on the South side but install a wind break to lessen the cold air flow into the hive.
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Arlington, WA


    Would putting the entrance on the north side so the wind doesn't blow directly into the hive help? Reducing the entrance and wrapping the hive with insulation on the top? Seems like that would minimize the wind effects.
    Also what I am planning.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008


    If you have a location where you can do this, place the hives where they will get sun, but with the entrances facing the direction where they will get the least wind. If not, the north side of the shed will probably work better than facing south, directly into the wind. This is just my opinion, but wind blowing in the entrance seems to be a very bad thing for beehives.
    I've been keeping a few hives for the past 20-25 years, and no longer treatment free as I got tired of the losses.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada



    Just curious... what kind of cold are you getting in Vancouver BC? I always thought your winters were rainy but mild.
    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you`ll be among the stars!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada


    You could also put bales around the hive. I'm suggesting 5x6 rounds. It's what we do and works well. They are not to high so they let the sun in, but block enough of the wind to give the hives protection.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Ontario, Canada


    Now, Michelin man took the words right out of my mouth and I lived for a while in Vancouver, many a moon ago.
    I have my few hives on a slope, which leads to a lake, which is about 48 miles long. I personaly don't go there anymore come fall/winter cause the wind started to bug me. Not that I can't stand it? It is just this "cat" thing at my stage in life: "Why stand it - if one can move or go around it?"
    Anyway, wind can be fierce - but listen: We get temperatures 30 to 40 below! Last winter down to minus 46! All that held on for two months! At night ofcourse...

    I planted, so can you, a row of cedars some 10 meters in front of the hives and it works!
    My suspicion is: Moisture is probably your bigger problem?
    Do you have the upper entrance, on same side as the bottom one? No drilled holes in the boxes - also helps.
    Perhaps your boxes are ill-fitting? I doubt that bees, in your warm climate, will propolise excessively for the winter?
    Well, one can go on - but without more info, about your situation, it is kind of hard to pinpoint the real source of your problem...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Tip of the Thumb, Michigan


    I'd be inclined to leave your hives where they are, but I'd do three things to prep them for the winter:

    1) I'd use entrance reducers to prevent wind gusts. (Besides, it'll keep out mice too.)
    2) I would turn the entrance AWAY from the direction of the prevailing wind.
    3) Lastly, I'd put up a wind break. I use rectangular hay bales, stacked two or three high, on their sides, in the farm fields with little cover.

    And, France is right. Moisture is a bigger killer than cold. Make sure you have adequate ventilation, and a top entrance can provide this, in addition to providing a secondary entrance in case the bottom one is blocked with snow or ice.

    Good luck to you!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    College Station, Texas


    big daddy writes:
    And, France is right. Moisture is a bigger killer than cold.

    tecumseh: I am obviously not required to prep hives for winter here but I would suggest to you that your largest concerns are 1)moisture, 2) suffocation (lack of hive ventilation) and 3) cold.... and pretty much in that order (some of these concerns are conflicting given standard beekeeping equipment).

    I would suspect???? at your location that having all hives on the southside of a building to enhance solar radiation could be somewhat to extremely counter productive. which is to say that the positives attributes of doing this are likely overstated and the downsided totally ignored.


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