hi! came here looking to see if we were winterizing correctly. seems like we're on track. for new beekeepers, here's a link to a picasa album i uploaded so you can see step-by-step how we winterize a hive in the middle midwest (iowa). (haven't done a web album before so i hope this works!)
Nice, that's basically how I did it too. I put 4" of foam instead of two, but didn't wrap over the top with the tar paper. Lots of bees out as soon as the sun hit the hive even though it was only 10 deg C.
First insulation keeps heat out as well as it keeps it in. keeping ice frozen would be the result of keeping heat out.
Second is an understanding of how insulation works. there are several ways but the most common and the one that applies to snow. Air is a poor conductor of heat or in other words a good insulator. Btu it has to be unable to move. most insulation such as foam. fiberglass batting etc are simply trapping air in pockets. that is how they insulate. snow has a lot of air trapped in it.
In order for any insulation to help a hive stay warm. the hive has to get warm first. Otherwise it will help the hive stay cold.
Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.
Wow, nice pics. Thanks for the link.
Benjamin Schneider - http://prairiewindbeesupply.webs.com/
To answer the lake question, it is as much about the snow being white as it is its insulation capacity. White snow reflects more sunlight than ice which is usually dark blue/green slowing the melting process. Water is even darker. That's why when the ice goes in the spring it happens exponentially on a sunny day. The larger the area of exposed water, the greater the heat it absorbs, the faster the ice recedes and exposes even more water, repeat.
re: wrapping your hive like a package. When February comes and you want to add pollen patties or fondant to feed, it looks like it would be difficult to unwrap to open the hive up enough to get the food onto the inner cover. What do you do in that case?
Fortunately in Perth Western Australia we don't need to wrap our hives. . 5 degrees C is a cold night with a few frosts on rare occasions. I do read with interest the additional problems posed by your climate and pests.
Just curious, what does it cost to wrap the hives in tar paper and can it be reused. Tar paper is not a common product here.
cost for supplies: maybe $1 or $2 USD per hive ... at the most. get your supplies off craigslist (classifieds), and it's even less. yes, fold it all up real nice and neat and it's reusable for YEARS.
you might have tar paper there, just called something else. this is the thick, black, kraft-like, waterproof paper that is used on a roof before the shingles are installed.
Go to the above link for survey results on winter prep. of hives.
The only thing that had a significant effect was providing a top entry.
Thanks to Soloman Parker for leading me to this information.
Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.
Thank Blue ribbon
I know what it is and what it is generally used for in the US. Its not used in Australia for roofing as far as I know. The roofing here is clay or cement tiles, or colour-bond corrugated metal. I was wondering what the cost and effort was.
well we will see what happens in the spring.
I purchased a Walter Kelly top.https://kelleybees.com/Images/Products/49Ajpg
I have four inch styro-foam insulation taped to the outside of the hive on the top cover to provide less heat loss, or gains.
Wrapped with the foil insulation, my theory is for the moisture to leave through the vented supers, which are located in the top, loosely wrap the hive with the bubble wrap, any moisture with escape through the vent holes to the outside of the hive.
I taped the insulation with aluminum type.
I also purchased a laser thermometer so I can tell temps inside the hive when I need to.
It's a gun where you point and it tells the temperature where the laser lands.
We have 14 inches of snow on the ground temperatures around Thirty in the day, and twenty-seven at night.
Next week it will be cold, I'm not going to bother the girls until it gets warmer.
I have a entrance reducer, attached to the aluminum tape, and acts like a hinge, when it warms up, I can lift the entrance reducer, and get a true temperature inside the hive from the bottom.
Soon as the weather breaks, I'm ripping the bubble wrap off these hives, and we we go from there.
I might have two dead hives too! we will see.