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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Skagit, WA, USA
    Posts
    381

    Default Insulatiion for Wax Making

    As most packages are installed here in the Pacific Northwest in April, when rain, daytime temperatures in the low to mid 50's, and nighttime lows in the 40's, are the norm, I'm wondering if insulating the hive with rigid foam or a Bee Cozy-type of wrap would help the bees maintain a higher temperature to encourage wax making?

    Last year, when hiving packages on drawn comb, then feeding 1:1, the bees filled the comb, and didn't draw the foundation above, even when baited up with frames of drawn comb.
    Thanks.
    Fidalgo Island
    Sea level, Puget Sound, USDA 7a-7b

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Humboldt Co., California
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: Insulatiion for Wax Making

    If they arent' moving up, they may not need the room yet; however, you can draw them up into the next box with a frame or two of uncapped brood once most of the frames in the lower box are filled out (about 75% of them; I'm assuming 10 frame boxes)

    As for insulation, it won't hurt but probably not necessary -- give it a try on a couple of hives and compare it to a couple you don't insulate and draw your own conclusions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    3,336

    Default Re: Insulatiion for Wax Making

    Bees will not draw comb unless there is a flow on, or you feed syrup. Bees will not take syrup unless the temperature of said syrup is above 50F. The cluster only warms the cluster, Not the hive. So if temperatures are that los consistently It is doubtful they will draw much comb.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    5,923

    Default Re: Insulatiion for Wax Making

    I believe strongly in wraps helping bees occupy more space because more heat is retained inthe hive. Yes the bees heat just there cluster__which heats the area around them unless the laws of thermodynamics have been over turned. Wrap your hive and feed syrup in baggies on the top bar. You will require some ventilation to deal with your wet climate. You will need to watch that like a hawk.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    4,785

    Default Re: Insulatiion for Wax Making

    I'm with Vance and I certainly don't want to start another "how they heat" thread but in my experience, a wrapped hive will hold heat longer and allow a cluster to spread easier than an un-wrapped one. I suppose that the heat is radiant from sun exposure and I also suppose that sometimes, a spread cluster is susceptible to fast temp drops. That said, I typically do not wrap hives and I don't manage colony heat for wax production so others may have different experiences. If I had to speculate here in MA, I would say that it's more about nectar availability and lack of space that gets them going. If there is an abundance of nectar sources and not much space, they'll be pulling wax (in a healthy colony). If they're from a swarm, they'll be working overtime. Temps are but ONE factor to consider.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
    Posts
    4,933

    Default Re: Insulatiion for Wax Making

    My bees don't seem to want to draw wax until daytime temps get to 70, or close to it.
    20+ years, raise my own queens, feed when needed. I treat, but have not perfected varroa management yet.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Skagit, WA, USA
    Posts
    381

    Default Re: Insulatiion for Wax Making

    Perhaps this should be another thread, on hiving packages on drawn comb.

    One of the reasons I posted the original question:
    Last spring I hived two packages on drawn comb in late April. Two frames of capped honey on outside, one frame of beebread that had been frozen, four frames of drawn comb, and one frame of (mostly capped) brood. A second box with two drawn frames and six frames of foundation was placed above that, and a Mann Lake top feeder capped it off.
    The bees chose to uncap and consume the honey, and ignored the syrup for at least a month. When they did start consuming the syrup, they simply backfilled the drawn comb in the brood nest. They also didn't fly much, sort of languished- much like M. Bush describes as "lazy bees".

    One guess is the syrup did cool too much atop the "empty" second box. Weak queens may have been a factor as well. The package supplier said he had bad queens last year, 25% failure in his package queens and the queens he purchased to requeen his own commercial colonies.
    One hive successfully superseded, the other got a new queen after failed supersedure.
    Thanks for your help
    Fidalgo Island
    Sea level, Puget Sound, USDA 7a-7b

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