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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Winter hive study and record keeping

    I just winterized my hive last week and wanted to share what I have done and the records that I have kept so far, my interest was to see what the temperature readings were outside and inside the hive and how these effect condensation. I also wanted to see at what temperature the bees kept the inside of the hive and how that temperature is affected by what I do in winterizing it so as to give them the best of care throughout the winter. If the bees are too cold then they cannot move to new stores and they will starve, too warm would not be good either.

    So to begin, the bees are clustered in the lower box of my two box deep hive and both boxes have stores with the top box being completely filled. I placed a queen excluder on the top box, then I placed a 2" high shim on top of the excluder with window screening stapled to the bottom, the shim has a 1/2" hole drilled through the front into the cedar chips that I placed inside. I then wrapped the hive in a very thin insulation wrap of fiber and plastic film less than 1/8" thick, then wrapped it with 15# felt paper. the insulation is thin enough to let the solar gain from the felt into the hive and help keep the hive insulated as well. then I placed a 1/2" thin plastic tube in through the vent hole to keep it open. On top of the shim I placed a plexiglass inner cover to see if any condensation accumulates and then placed a small piece of cardboard over the oval hole and a 1" dial thermometer with a 5" probe reaching down through the card board, cedar chips, and screening, it reaches 3" down in between the top two center frames to read internal temperatures. On top of all of this is 1/2" of sheeting foam for top insulation then the outer cover.

    If anyone finds this helpful and wants to add to it then please do and we will all learn from the additional data. The pictures and data so far is as follows, and thanks.....Bill

    The winterized hive


    Close up of vent hole tube


    Close up of thermometer and plexiglass inner cover


    10/23/11 9:00am
    34 deg outside temp
    64 deg inside hive temp
    sunshine on hive
    condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity

    10/23/11 12:00 noon
    54 deg outside temp
    69 deg inside hive temp
    sunshine on hive
    condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    entrance activity

    10/23/11 4:00 pm
    58 deg outside temp
    70 deg inside hive temp
    sunshine on hive
    no condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    entrance activity

    10/27/11 6:00 pm
    45 deg outside temp
    64 deg inside hive temp
    no sunshine on hive
    condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity

    10/28/11 8:00 am
    31 deg outside temp
    60 deg inside hive temp
    no sunshine on hive
    condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity

    10/28/11 12:00 noon
    40 deg outside temp
    60 deg inside hive temp
    no sunshine on hive
    condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity
    Last edited by WWW; 10-29-2011 at 07:42 AM. Reason: data did not transfer, had to fix

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,294

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    Bill,

    Nice job. It's fascinating to know what's going on inside. On the days there was condensation, did you actually see it dripping out of the tube and if so, how much was it dripping? I look forward to your continuing to update us.

    Charlie
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    Charlie, I did not observe the condensation dripping although it might have when I was not present at the hive, but I did see it laying in the tube. If I had not placed the tube in the hole the condensation would have been absorbed by the surrounding wood and less detectable....Bill
    Last edited by WWW; 10-29-2011 at 05:49 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    Update: I have noticed from this data that when the temperatures approach a 25 deg differential between the inside of the hive and the outside, then the occurrence of condensation forming in the vent tube seams to increase, this could indicate that if the temperature is at a 25 deg differential or more from over insulating of under ventilating, then this can cause an increase of moisture in the air inside the hive. But the situation can be aggravated if the top insulation under the outer cover is not sufficient to prevent condensation from forming above the cluster when the warm moist air inside and cold outside meet. What we do to prepare our bees for winter may not always be perfect but I can see from this study that we must strive to find the correct balance between insulation and ventilation for the climate where we live, and the 25 deg or less in differential may be a good indicator to help find this balance ....Bill

    New data:

    10/28/11 7:30 pm
    40 deg outside temp
    60 deg inside hive temp
    dark and raining
    no condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity

    10/29/11 12:00 noon
    44 deg outside temp
    54 deg inside hive temp
    cloudy and damp from rain
    no condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    1 bee flying

    10/29/11 5:30 pm
    48 deg outside temp
    58 deg inside hive temp
    cloudy and damp from rain
    no condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity

    10/30/11 7:30 am
    28 deg outside temp
    53 deg inside hive temp
    no sunshine on hive
    no condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity
    Last edited by WWW; 10-31-2011 at 07:12 AM. Reason: left out time one entry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, PA, USA
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    Great data and experiment. Please keep posting through the winter, will be so helpful to see what happens with extended cold; cluster movement; and final spring outcome. Thanks for sharing with us.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    Thanks Charlie and clgs for the positive responses it is encouraging to see, I will keep the data coming as I am also curious as to what happens when the extended cold gets here and also the final spring outcome.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Janesville, CA
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    This is great WWW! I am glad to see pictures. I have about a week and I will be wrapping my hive. However, I think I am just going to wrap it with Tar Paper, no plastic. It is extremely dry here, although it get's cold. We had an 18 degree morning just a week ago, 65 degree days. I was thinking the plastic might hold in more moisture???

    The plastic tube is a great idea. I think I'll borrow that if you don't mind. Are you going to supplement at all this winter? Sugar? Pollen Cakes???

    I have about the same exact setup. Really strong hive this year.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Well Drained Soil

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    Welldrainedsoil, Thanks for the compliments and please don't look at the tube idea as borrowed, but as shared, I don't mind at all. I do not plan to supplement at all this year because the bees seem to have all they will need, although in late winter as spring approaches I plan to have a look inside just to be on the safe side, and in early spring I will for sure feed substitute pollen patties for an early spring buildup.

    As far as the plastic holding in more moisture it is always best to use your own judgment because your bees are in a different climate than mine, I used the same insulation last year and encountered no problems at all, I think the top ventilation and top insulation is the key to controlling the moisture inside the hive, but ventilation must be balanced with the outside wrap and the heat that is lost through the vent. In other words the bigger the vent hole the more the heat loss from inside the hive, the key is to use only the amount of venting necessary so there is not an excess of heat loss. This is what my study is all about, to find that balance and end up with what is best for my bees in the climate in which I live. Too much heat loss and the bees get too cold and are unable to move to find necessary stores, too warm the bees are saturated with moisture and could die from the condensation when the temperatures drop. I read someplace but cannot remember where that 40 to 45 deg was an ideal temperature for the hive during a very cold winter so as the weather turns colder I will be looking for this. Please keep in touch and let me know how things turn out with your winterizing.....Bill

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    athol, massachusetts
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    WWW this is great thanks for sharing! Are you on a SBB?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Limestone Co, Alabama
    Posts
    1,675

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    I am not making any recommendations about wrapping or insulating, besides where I live it is not important. But do remember that the warmer the air in the hive is, the more humidity it can hold.

    I have a remote temperature and relative humidity sensor display unit sitting besides me as I type. It displays temps and humidity as broadcast from a sensor mounted on the ceiling of my front porch. Both units run off AA batteries and I think the pickup is thin enough to fit inside a frame of drawn comb. It also displays the high and low temperatures from the previous day. I know relative humidity is not the same as condensation but there are correlations, IOW you can't have one without the other. The unit is sensitive enough to tell you whether the weather (temperature) is trending up, down or steady.

    The maker of this device is an outfit named ACU>RITE here is a link to my unit. I hope this gives you some ideas. http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...7E0748&first=0

    BTW, my unit ALWAYS reads within a degree of the National Weather Service, or local TV weather (or is it whether) report. The broadcast range is around 100 feet or maybe it is a 100 yards, I forget, looked at to many different units before I picked this one.
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    Buzz. my hive is not on a sbb, I have a solid board, but I intend on looking into buying a sbb for the spring as it would help to keep my mite count down. Thank you for the compliment; and do you have bees of your own?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    WWW,

    great info and super interesting... looking forward to updates through the seasons to come! Thank you.

    Sully

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    athol, massachusetts
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    WWW Yes I am a first year beek with somewhat of a fascination for numbers and data. I am also a buckeye who has been transplated to Massachusetts but originally from Dayton. Did you see the Buckeye game WOW anyway keep the data coming as I stated before it is very interesting

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    Srcrapfe, thanks for the reply and the info, it makes a lot of sense to me what you said about the warmer the air in the hive is the more humidity that it can hold, I will keep that in mind. And thank you for the info on the humidity sensor, I did not know there was such a thing, I will take a look at your link..Thanks again..Bill

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
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    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    Thanks Sully, I will endeavor to keep up the study throughout the winter and into spring....Bill

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
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    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    New data:
    10/30/11 5:30 pm
    52 deg outside temp
    55 deg inside hive temp
    no sunshine on hive
    no condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity

    10/31/11 12:30 pm
    51 deg outside temp
    51 deg inside hive temp
    cloudy & light rain
    no condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity

    11/1/11 8:00 am
    28 deg outside temp
    50 deg inside hive temp
    no sunshine
    no condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity

    11/1/11 12:00 noon
    44 deg outside temp
    51 deg inside hive temp
    sunshine
    no condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    entrance activity

    11/2/11 11:30 am
    39 deg outside temp
    58 deg inside hive temp
    sunshine
    no condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    entrance activity starting

    11/2/11 3:30 pm
    63 deg outside temp
    69 deg inside hive temp
    sunshine
    no condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    entrance activity

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    708

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    you seriously need to get this data in table format on a website somewhere. messing about with numbers is great fun.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,084

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    Quote Originally Posted by libhart View Post
    you seriously need to get this data in table format on a website somewhere. messing about with numbers is great fun.
    Libhart, I do not know what table format is and would not know how to enter it on any other website than here, but I appreciate your enthusiasm.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
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    1,084

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    Update: condensation in vent tube when temperature differential is over 30 degrees in the early morning.

    11/3/11 7:30 am
    39 deg outside temp
    61 deg inside hive temp
    early morning
    no condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity

    11/4/11 7:00 pm
    56 deg outside hive
    68 deg inside hive temp
    late evening
    no condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity

    11/5/11 8:00 am
    30 deg outside hive temp
    63 deg inside hive temp
    no sunshine on hive
    condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity

    11/6/11 8:00 am
    28 deg outside hive
    60 deg inside hive temp
    no sunshine on hive
    condensation in vent
    no condensation in hive
    no entrance activity

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,273

    Default Re: Winter hive study and record keeping

    What a great thread, thanks for starting and keeping it updated!

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