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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Marietta, OH
    Posts
    94

    Default prepping for the big chill

    Forecast is -10 on Monday night. Coldest in 20 years. One hive ( dbl deep) went into winter lighter than I wish it had. The bees have reached the top bars last week and are devouring candy I put in. I gave some space for the candy with an Imrie shim then the inner cover, then the top. I peeked in today (40 degrees) to make sure they still had enough candy. Will put some more in tomorrow. The bees were piled by the hundred or thousands stuck together when I peeked in on top of the frames engulfing the candy. My question is, with the arctic blast coming, are they OKAY so close to the top. Should I add a shallow instead of the imrie shim for more head space? Should I put them in our garage? Or should I just read a book and forget about it?? Thanks, Todd

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    354

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    I would not add additional dead space. Put some kind of insulation between the outer cover and the inner cover. I use several layers of reflectex, some use rigid foam.
    Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    rensselaer, ny, USA
    Posts
    303

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    @Todd,

    I had the same questions last week when we were heading for last night's unusual lows. Twenty-three below was predicted, though we "only" got down to minus 19.

    I'm in a somewhat more severe climate than you, so my hives are insulated and have had a quilt box on top for more than a month.

    But I began feeding sugar bricks (Laurie's recipe) about two weeks ago and my bees had seemingly migrated up out of their honey frames to congragate in great soft balls around the sugar bricks.

    I was concerned that having lured the bees higher up in the hive assembly with the sugar bricks would prevent them from clustering farther down where they might be warmer. It's still cold here today and I only peeked into the top entrances (holes in the Imri shim). Three days ago before the temps fell, all I could see was mobs of bees on the sugar bricks. Today I could see some bees moving around on the sugar, but many fewer. Which sounds like bad news, but I rather think not, because when I stick my finger into the opening, it is nice and cozy warm in there. I believe that they did the bee-smart thing and did move down to a more sheltered place.

    If you have a shallow (or medium) to spare and time and warmth enough to do it, you might make a quick and dirty quilt box. Staple wire mesh (any size will do, it's just support, not bee-maangement) on the bottom of the empty box; fill an old pillow case with pine shavings enough to sufficiently fill the box; put the quilt box on top of the Imri shim and put your inner cover with the notch down (for ventilation of moisture from the shavings) and then your cover with any insulation you already have inide the top.

    I have been very happy with my quilt boxes, and there have been others who are using them commenting on a thead about them that I started in the Beekeeping 101 Forum.

    I won't get a chance to unwrap the hives and check (and add sugar bricks) until tomorrow afternoon because it's still well below freezing here. But a new round of winter freeze is approaching (you're getting it first, care to keep it?) and it will be preceeded by a brief period of nearly 40 F. I'll know after that whether the bees I can see on the sugar are the last survivors, or just the hardy sugar-addict outliers of the (smarter) main cluster below.

    Enj.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,096

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Dr. Todd,
    Your bees should be okay at the top of the hive with the Imrie shim, they are a lot tougher than one gives them credit for. A shallow might be too much space for them to keep warm. I have heard of people who go out and wrap a blanket several times around the hive on the night of a big freeze, however make sure that the entrance and vents are not covered.
    Last edited by WWW; 01-04-2014 at 05:10 PM. Reason: Added too
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Marietta, OH
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Thanks for all the great advice!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,096

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Glad to help, foam insulation above the inner cover as Dave mentioned is always a good idea for wintering hives, I have 3/4" open cell foam on all of mine but anything that you have available would be a plus.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,455

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Quote Originally Posted by drtoddh View Post
    Thanks for all the great advice!!
    R u a real Doctor?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Pleasant Shade, TN
    Posts
    407

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    R u a real Doctor?
    I believe drtoddh is a physician. That's what the profile says anyway. And no, I'm not being stalkerish. I simply made use of a tool available at Beesource.
    A man is worth just as much as the things about which he busies himself- Marcus Aurelius

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,455

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Yeah, I read that after I asked. Inverse order I guess. There's another guy who goes by DR who isn't one, is why I asked.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Marietta, OH
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Thanks for the help. I am a psychiatric physician in SE Ohio. But primarily I am a Christian, husband, father and soon to be 3rd year beekeeper!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,450

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Yup, the bees come up for a snack when it is warm enough, go back down to cluster when it's cold. You wouldn't see many, if any bees on top like this when it is colder out. 49 degrees here today.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...the-nucs-today

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,455

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Do you do counseling via the internet? Maybe Barry could make a special Forum for your services. We could trade you advice for treatment. Some of us have professional degrees too.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,450

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    I insulated two nucs for a test of material. This is insulation for pole buildings that goes under the metal roofing. No condensation issues at all. Bottom and top entrances.
    Can you say "Toasty"? If I lived in a cold climate like some of you and only had a few hives, This is what I'd do. Took me no longer than wrapping with tar paper. No solar gain, but no extreme fluctuation of temps. The bees are apparently loving it. Some will say it is not necessary. But wouldn't YOU feel better if your hives were wrapped like this right now?

    This photo was taken 1-4-14 after a spell of 10 days of near 0 or below with wind chill.










  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,050

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Mark:

    He's a psychiatrist, not a psychologist.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,455

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Silly me. I always get them mixed up. What does a psychiatric physician do?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Marietta, OH
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Lauri, wow! I feel like my bees are out there naked compared to that. We are only supposed to have 2 nights of frigid cold and then a warm up. I think I am going to take some old blankets and sleeping bags around a couple of my hives and nucs

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,455

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Don't baby them too much Doc.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Brandenburg, KY
    Posts
    332

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Well, I'm just gonna see how my hives do, I have too many hives to do that kind of intervention. We are looking at wind chills of -15 to -30 for Monday. Have several light hives and some small clusters the last time I looked and we run open bottoms. Gave the light hives 5-8 lbs of winter patties each last Wednesday.

    To add to the professional mix, I'm an engineering psychologist .....I counsel equipment not people : ) much easier to fix

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Marietta, OH
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    Hey KB,
    I met you last year in Parkersburg West Virginia At the bee expo. you made my daughter a hive body with a cartoon bee carved on the front. .

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    558

    Default Re: prepping for the big chill

    I put 4 of my 5 nucs in the garage. They have fairly small clusters so I wasn't sure they could handle as cold as they are forecasting. I left the one with the biggest cluster and most honey outside.
    Last edited by Colleen O.; 01-04-2014 at 11:19 PM.

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