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Thread: ventilation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Verona, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    122

    Default ventilation

    Hi Everyone,
    I'm new at beekeeping and of course have questions. I'm actually trying to firm up my plans for "winterizing" my bees (sorry to talk about winter already ). I'm in Wisconsin so we have relatively cold winters and from what I have read proper ventilation is the key component to wintering over successfully. I currently have a screen bottom board which I assume I should keep on thru the winter (yes or no??)? I have my hive up on cinderblocks (2 high) so I assume snow will eventuall blow under and block this area. Do I need to make sure this is open to keep good ventilation (from the bottom)? Also, how do you suggest addressing top ventilation (drill 1, 2, 3...entrance holes on the upper brood box maybe)....maybe something with the top cover??
    Thanks for your suggestions and input,
    Chris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,772

    Default

    Welcome aboard.

    A screened bottom board (SBB) is a good solution for ventilation. I leave mine on all year. On weaker hives, I slide a tray in to reduce the drafts. I also set up a burlap barrier along the row of hives to reduce the cold wind against the hives. I don't drill any extra holes up top. I leave the inner cover on and let the notch in the cover provide the ventilation. If I want more ventilation, I add a shim with a hole in one or more sides. I like the kind that come with a plug in case you want it sealed up again. I really don't like drilling holes in hive bodies or supers.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,584

    Default

    Cold winter wind is not good ventilation. Good ventilation is just letting the hot moist air out the top.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    39

    Default

    Hello neighbor! Madison here...

    I have my hives on cinderblocks, with SBBs too. I usually close my SBBs when low's start getting down in the 40's consistantly. I also use slatted racks, which I like to think creates a bit of a buffer between the SBB and incoming cold air.

    At the same time I do that I prop up one side of the outer cover about 1/3 inch with a stick to let the hot, moist air vent. I also leave open a top entrance in my upper deep.

    I don't use hive wrap, and I am pretty sheltered, but haven't had an issue with snow piling under hives.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default

    I'm in NH, and it gets down to below -15F/-26F here with lots of snow and stays before 32F/0C for the high temp for a good month. I use SBB on all my hives, but I also have varroa trays under all of them, so those act as a buffer to the cold air - dual purpose - wind buffer and allows me to do another check w/o opening the hives. I also have slatted racks over all the SBBs. If you are concerned about cold, you can either put a solid bottom board underneath for the tray (BetterBee solution), or use the SHB trap from Rossman, which is open below the tray, but just leave out the insert in the tray, so you can do hive checks.

    As for the top, I use the shims from BeterBee with the plugs. They provide ventilation but also give room on the top of the frames, in case you have to feed dry sugar or want to add pollen patties. Don't drill holes in your boxes.

    Using that combination all my hives (then 6) made it through this past winter.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Verona, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    122

    Default ventilation

    Thanks for the information everyone.

    Chris

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