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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    St. Louisville,oh
    Posts
    21

    Default Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    This is my second year keeping bees. Last year I only had 1 hive and lost it due to moisture. This year I have 2 large hives 3 deeps each. I don't want to repeat my mistake again. Last year I put a 1/8" shim under innercoverer cover. Which did not work for me not sure why?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,928

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    They might have sealed the space you shimmed if there was light coming in. You could try a screened bottom board plus an upper vent. If you are using an inner cover with a telescoping cover, it should have one side notched for ventilation that will not let much light in.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    I had a similar experience last winter, losing my hive after buttoning up my hive pretty tightly last Fall.
    This winter I'm doing the opposite- 2" wide upper open entrance, insulated inner cover (prevents condensation), wide open screen bottom.
    We'll see.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,200

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    I like the "all season inner cover" this is on the plans section of a drop down menu under "beekeeping" on the "honey run apiaries site". Last year I overwintered all 4 of my hives using this cover.
    The cover aids in ventilation in the summer and prevents robbing because the holes you see on the plans are covered with screen. For the winter I just put 3 layers of 1 inch styrofoam above a screen which covered the inner hole. The outer cover rested on top of this. The upper entrance allows moisture to vent out. On the coldest days you see this as a rim of frost (frozen bee breath) around the top entrance.
    Incidentally, "Honey Run Apiaries" is Ohio based, and thus their methods are locally tested for you.
    If you have a few power tools this cover is not too hard to make, and if you get right on it you could have a few made in time to make a difference.
    I'm sure you will get other quicker methods proposed, but I am really happy with this one.
    PS. I don't wrap the hives. It doesn't make sense to me as I don't think that the bees are likely to benefit from the fluctuation in temperature that it must cause; I have seen studies that say it helps, but it just doesn't seem right. My hives are on a south facing hill and are protected from the wind.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Galt, CA
    Posts
    881

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    I use migratory covers and had that same problem last year. Lost 2 hives from moisture, 3 other hives had no problems at all and they were right next to the other 2. What do people that use migratory covers normally do? I am sure they don't have different covers they use at different times of the year. It can get cold here, but it doesn't snow, suggestions?

    C2

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    I have 1/8" shims added to the bottom of my telescoping cover. Been fine all summer. Last week when I tried to open it and take a look they had it glued tight to the inner cover. For some reason there was a ton of bees on the top side of the inner cover too. Usually I never see them there. I wonder if light is coming through and that's making them try to seal it up. Would it help if I added a screened transport cover on top of the inner cover so they couldn't seal it up to prevent ventilation? Or even replace the inner cover with it?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pittsburgh Pa USA
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    I had figured on using an 1/8 inch spacer above the inner cover with a piece of homosite on top of the spacers under the telescoping cover. I also put a piece of 1/2 inch styrofoam on the top of my hive over the tele. top. Will that work?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    Besides the notch in the inner cover and the open SBB, I use slatted racks and have never lost an overwintering hive except when one went queenless. I swear by my slatted racks for both summer and winter. Of course, I'm in the south; don't know if it would work where you are.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Barnesville Pa.
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    I have a SBB on all three of my hives with a notch cut in one side of the inner covers. The last three years I always would slide the plastic trays under the hives, my thinking with this was it would cut down on the cold
    draft in the winter. When spring arrived this year I noticed each plastic tray
    had about a half inch of water in each. All three hives were fine but, this winter I wont put the trays in and leave them open.
    My point is all three of my hives did well with a tray full of water underneath them for a month or two in the winter so, I dont know if theres a need to go overboard with cutting holes in the hives and that stuff. Im not saying by any means not to ventilate. I just think the bees will do ok if things get a little damp.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Batman View Post
    What do people that use migratory covers normally do? I am sure they don't have different covers they use at different times of the year. It can get cold here, but it doesn't snow, suggestions?
    Here is what Michael Bush does for top entrance/ventilation while using migratory covers:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Walker County, Texas
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    Up north I would close the entrance to about 1/2 inch and re screen the inner cover if it's sealed shut. Leaving the screened bottom open would be way to much cold wind blowing though.
    Last edited by Cordovan Italian Bee; 10-18-2010 at 11:17 AM.
    Before man took over bees there was nature,it did a better job.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,200

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    Yet another way to winter a hive in the North. Search for "Natures Nectar Blog". Jim has posted a video on how he does it. This is the way the U. of MN. advocated when I took their short course two years ago. It uses a moisture board and a black cardboard winter cover.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Napoleon, OH
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    I like the "all season inner cover" this is on the plans section of a drop down menu under "beekeeping" on the "honey run apiaries site". Last year I overwintered all 4 of my hives using this cover.
    What kind of bottom boards do you use? If you have screened, did you leave them open or closed? I made a couple of these covers for myself (this is my first winter--fingers crossed!).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,200

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    Zookeeper, I have a screened bottom board which I close off. I put in a standard entrance reducer with the three inch opening. The opening is placed with the gap on the top side, the theory is that the gap won't get as plugged with fallen bees as it would if it was on the bottom.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,373

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    I have a question about the all seasons inner cover. When you place the insulation do you create a space between the top of the inner cover and the insulation? It seems as you should so that there is some way for air to move freely to the vents, but i haven't seen any suggestions on the subject.
    Thanks
    Dan

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,200

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    Dan, no you don't. The vents, as I understand it, are there for the summer ventilation. The vents allow air exchange but keep robbers out.
    All the ventilation that is needed in the winter is provided by the top entrance notch. I brought all four of my hives through last winter here in cold Wisconsin. I gave each hive three inches of polystyrene insulation, and they all came through fine.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lexington, KY, USA
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: Whats the best way to vent hive for winter?

    Adrian seems to be operating just like we do here with a few modifications. We use the upper vent boxes as suggestied by Honeyrunapiaries. However, now our sides are six inches high with a 1/4" plywood floor 3/8" up from the bottom edge. above that a 1" layer of Styrofoam and then another 1/4" plywood layer with the traditional hand hole in the middle (why? I don't know....but I can feed there with jars) I also lined the handhole with wood as the girls started to destroy the foam. The boxes with the vent holes, screen etc also have a 3/8" x 3" upper entrance for summer just below the lower plywood. For winter I turn the boxes over and cover the vent holes with wood strips. One 3/4" hole sloped in the opposite direction is used for an upper winter entrance. The space above the frames in the winter position is used for the "Mountain Camp" sugar ration. The styrofoam insulation is encapsuled and stays in all year. This seems to wortk quite well as we had no winter losses recently. Take care and have fun

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