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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    marysville ohio
    Posts
    12

    Default insulating hives?

    I have two winters keeping bees. The first winter I didn't insulate and lost the only hive we had. The second winter I insulated all but one hive and it didn't make it could have been weak. The other hives overwintered well. Does anyone have experience insulating there hives with success and how do you go about doing it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Cambria County, PA US
    Posts
    404

    Default

    I've never insulated here but one of my buddies does. We're both at about 2000ft elevation.

    He staples either felt or tarpaper around his, with nothing additional except propping the outer cover up for a little ventilation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,496

    Default

    I don't insulate but I do put up a wind block. The bees seem to do fine without it and from what I have heard you have to worry more about moisture if you do.

    I wonder if your bees died from starvation more then cold...which is usually the case.

    BTW I am over 8000 ft here and it was 7 degrees yesterday morning...got up to 44 today and the bees were flying all over the place...
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default

    I don't insulate but I wind block. I don't want brood too early in the season and I worry about that when I insulate.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Starkville,Ms,USA
    Posts
    516

    Default

    I attended a beekeeping conference this weekend and the experts said do not insulate- bees need ventilation. The danger is that condensation forms on the top and freezes then melts and drips cold water onto the bees.

    If they are a strong, healthy hive they will warm themselves overwinter.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,302

    Default

    http://www.mdasplitter.com/article.htm

    If you look at Mel Disselkoen's article, his conclusion was that a wind break helped a lot and wrapping etc. did not. I find it makes more of a difference the smaller the cluster is and the more severe the weather is, but condensation is often a bigger issue. I cluster my hives together and cluster my nucs together with foam above and below:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/WinteringNucs2-2007.jpg
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,459

    Default

    I insulate the inner cover, and I do wrap with 15 lb felt. Just finishing up the 35th year I've wrapped bees.

    I don't think it helps every year, but does often enough to keep me at it. Some years, the bees here won't have a cleansing flight from mid-November to April. By March, the bees are needing a cleansing flight. There will be days that are almost warm enough...just not quite so. I've seen such days...25-30 degrees, sunny, no wind. The black paper warms up the hive environment, both inside and out. At the end of the day, there are 4' wide strips of yellow snow in front of the hives, while there is no spotting on the snow away from the hives. Also, there are no dead bees on the snow.

    Where I keep bees, you never know when you'll get a year like that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,459

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Wax View Post
    The danger is that condensation forms on the top and freezes then melts and drips cold water onto the bees.
    Privide an upper entrance, and insulation on the inner cover.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    276

    Default

    The way I see it is condensation is the main problem. Solution?... ventilate by using an additional upper entrance on the same side as the lower entrance AND insulate the inner cover. Condensation occurs when moist warm air touches a cold surface. If you insulate, then the outer surfaces will be less cold, hence less condensation. Same is true for ventilation... moist air is expelled and once again less condensation.
    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you`ll be among the stars!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Beecher Il
    Posts
    76

    Default

    I wrap most of my hives. I never have enough wraps. They help in the late cold snaps in spring when the bees have brood that they sit on and starve 1" from honey. When you open a hive like that it makes it worth it. Last year over wintered some hives inside. Going to try it again. Had good luck. If I have the same thing this year the wraps will go to the burn pile.
    Al

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Belfield, North Dakota, USA
    Posts
    610

    Default insulating the inner cover

    Pardon my ignorance, but.....
    What are the procedures for insulating the inner cover?

    Thanks?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    276

    Default

    Well NDnewbeek, the way I do it is just staple 2 or 3 peices of thick cardboard to the inner cover (on the deep side away from the bees facing the outer cover). I also block up the hole with folded paper towels or news paper and cover that with cardboard too. I put a peice of styrofoam then on top of that. (my covers have deep sides so I can build up the inner cover without any problems. The important thing is to use water absorbant material.
    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you`ll be among the stars!

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