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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Rupert, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Local fellow had a late swarm show up at his place last fall, and settled in a lilac bush. Having no experience or equipment whatever, he read enough that he decided to open feed them close to 75 pounds of sugar before winter set in. Last winter was a mild one for us, only dropping to minus 10 once, and only getting below zero less than a dozen times. We also did not get as many of the unholy bitter strong winds that are usual during our winter. His bees survived the winter, hanging right out in the open in the leafless lilac bush. He hived them this spring, and they did a good job for him over the summer. Proves just how tough they are.
    In spite of that, I'm thinking about wrapping my one hive with something for the winter.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    694

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Bwar77 View Post
    Maybe off topic a bit, but what is purpose of putting foam board/insulation under top cover (above inner cover,right?)?
    Have you ever noticed that when there is a thick layer of snow on the tops of your hives, that the center of that layer of snow is all melted down to the very cover forming a circle approximately the size of the cluster? I put a two inch foam board on top of my covers before I loosely wrap them in felt tarpaper. Bees don't heat the sides but their heat does rise to the top. No need to put the foam boards on the inside, they'll just cause a problem (bees chew at the foam) OMTCW

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,442

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Bwar77 View Post
    Maybe off topic a bit, but what is purpose of putting foam board/insulation under top cover (above inner cover,right?)? I bought a retired beekeepers collection and it came with a few foam boards, just didnt recall the purpose or location he told me - can only retain so much!
    I put my foam insulation on top of the outer cover. The R value is the same no matter where you put it.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
    Posts
    351

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    My guess would be to keep the warm rising air, down, versus allowing it to escape through the "roof" like a house. juzzerbee
    Last edited by juzzerbee; 09-24-2012 at 06:02 PM. Reason: Sorry didn't see that there was a page 2.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,122

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    The R value is the same no matter where you put it.
    So if you put styrofoam on your roof, it's as good as right behind the sheetrock?

    The foam should go on top of the inner cover, not the outer cover.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,442

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    So if you put styrofoam on your roof, it's as good as right behind the sheetrock?

    The foam should go on top of the inner cover, not the outer cover.
    Have it your way but it makes no difference.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Moultonborough, NH
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Have it your way but it makes no difference.
    Blows off less if its under the cover, no?

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Perth Western Australia
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey (the source of Buckfast bees) said they experimented with wrapping hives for five years. Said the bees used less stores but were less productive in the summer. The Bees were kept on Dartmoor, one of the colder places in England and windswept.

    It is the moisture that does the most damage,

    My two cents worth.

    Geoff
    Last edited by sweetas; 09-25-2012 at 08:25 PM.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Detroit, MI USA!!
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    It seems based on these replies that the bees can handle darn near any temperature provided they have enough food. Is that correct?

    Last winter, which was very mild for Detroit, my first year bees stayed in their hive with only a foam board on the bottom to keep the wind out of the screen. They are in a regular wooden hive, no wrap or other insulation.

    If the only issue is whether they eat too much and run out of grub, is it better to just leave them a little more at harvest time?

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,442

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Detroit Bees View Post
    If the only issue is whether they eat too much and run out of grub, is it better to just leave them a little more at harvest time?
    Absolutely. As an alternative you can feed them heavy syrup in the fall to get them up to your desired weight for overwintering. My opinion is that beekeepers who rely on leaving sugar on the hive supposedly as method of dealing with moisture, have failed to adequately provide their hives with enough stores to make it through winter. Again IMHO people who plan for emergencies get them.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,442

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by MES613 View Post
    Blows off less if its under the cover, no?
    Yes, I put a rock or heavy object on it until the snow flies. Cut the foam a half inch smaller than the size of the telescoping cover and the air can't get underneath it. It won't blow off.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,442

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Detroit Bees View Post
    It seems based on these replies that the bees can handle darn near any temperature provided they have enough food. Is that correct?
    Yes, but the reason I use insulation is to cut down on the condensation on the inner cover. It is not to conserve honey.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Detroit, MI USA!!
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Yes, but the reason I use insulation is to cut down on the condensation on the inner cover. It is not to conserve honey.
    So you use the insulation to absorb the moisture rather than conserve the heat? Won't the moisture evaporate through the vent hole in the inner cover to the outside?

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    616

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Moisture condenses on a cold surface. Hence, insulation above the inner cover is warmer on the inside hive side and moisture will not condense above the cluster and drip on it. An absorbing materal on the under side of the foam is better yet. It will absorb moisture and not drip.

    Wood inner cover absorbs moisture. And moisture does not readily condense above warm air rising through hole in the inner cover.

    Suspended ceiling board works well, burlap, leaves, etc. all absorb moisture and prevent dripping.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
    Posts
    351

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    I asked a similar question in a different thread. I was told to also tape the hole in the inner cover up so bees do not crawl through and chew the foam over winter. It is also neccessary to have the notch, down, in the inner cover so the bees are able to fly out and for ventilation if a beekeeper chooses to go this route. juzzerbee

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    646

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Duplicated earlier post
    Last edited by julysun; 09-26-2012 at 11:06 AM.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,442

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Detroit Bees View Post
    So you use the insulation to absorb the moisture rather than conserve the heat?
    Ah, no it is foam insulation. It cannot absorb moisture and it is on the outside of the hive but it does let the moisture go out the vent hole without condensing or freezing on the inner cover which is worse. Condensation is one thing but when it freezes on the inner cover it eventually melts and that becomes a cold bath that ends the hive in the spring after it made it through the worst of the winter.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,582

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I put my foam insulation on top of the outer cover. The R value is the same no matter where you put it.
    If the insulting material is sitting on a cold, sheet metal surface, with a film of water between the foam and top, I would clearly expect it to be less effective than a material placed directly over the inner cover.

    Trapping water on top of a migratory cover wouldn't be better imo.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,442

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    Talk to someone that understands thermo dynamics. Maybe they can explain better how a blanket of snow can insulate a two foot sheet of ice on a lake.
    Hey if you want to put your foam on the inside, knock yourself out. Your winters are so mild in Fairfield County it is almost silly to do anything to your hives in the winter.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,442

    Default Re: Winter Wrapping Bee Hive

    duplicate post, please delete.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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