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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,137

    Default indoor overwintering.

    I have access to a building used for storage where a section is heated to 40 and the rest is unheated.
    The basement holds around fifty but is damp. I have a nuc that is only two deep half frames covered. Yes, I know I should combine but I am stubborn. I do not mind feeding them, I go there anyway.

    Miller kept his bees in the basement where he lived. I could not sell that to the family and will not try.

    Any experience out there that can tell me if a damp 50 is better than a dry 40? I would like them to hold their own or slightly increase over the winter. I do not want them so warm they are busting out in March or so cold they dwindle away.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: indoor overwintering.

    Interesting.

    The inside of the hive must maintain a minimum temperature, but maximum humidity. Bees self regulate. One year I found everything below the cluster green with mold on near all hives and realized I didn't provide sufficient ventilation. By the time I got back to it, the girls cleared all during spring cleaning.

    In winter, water, or dampness comes from inside the building. The air outside the building is dry. Since they need a path outside, I'm thinking you could use plastic pipe with flange fitting to create a conduit. Seal up the entrance, drill a hole the ID of the pipe, screw the flange over it and send the pipe through the wall. Since hot air rises and with it humidity, a second smaller tubing like 1/4" or 3/8" could be attached at the top of the nuc and sent through the wall at an elevation above the pipe and nuc. Sealing all gaps with tape or similar would limit the moisture entering from the building and the tubing and pipe will provide a means to remove it. I wouldn't be surprised if the girls then fanned through the pipe to keep comfy.

    I'd try it just to see what happens.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    662

    Default Re: indoor overwintering.

    See attached link on wintering

    I think a dry 40F is much better than a humid 50F.

    http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&...60UKXfJONMZ5xg
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,137

    Default Re: indoor overwintering.

    Had not thought of doing it with outside access. I was just going to supply food and water and let them fly free in whatever space I put them. Give them a hanging newspaper as white sheet substitute for waste. Would they take the inside temp as a signal to fly out and then freeze? Or would they stop at the end of the pipe?

    mgolden, nice link. thanks.
    Last edited by Saltybee; 10-04-2012 at 01:58 PM. Reason: next post

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Missouri, usa
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: indoor overwintering.

    I have wintered my ob. hive on my unheated porch for the last two winters ( mid Missouri). The lowest temp that I saw was about 45 degrees F. Their entrance is a 1 1/4 inch pvc pipe that exits through a hole to the outdoors. Since I did not want to make a hole in my wall, I placed a 2 x 4 in the bottom of the window and drilled a hole through it.
    I also have a pint jar on at all time with 1:1 sugarater most of the year - then switch to 2:1
    in late fall. The bees have done great; producing several queens and several nucs throught the year.
    Natural venulation is by a screened hole in the bottom and top.

    This fall we have five nucs that I started with virgin queens the first of August.. Because of the drought and heat, they have very little stores and cover only about 3 frames. I am going to do as Throrope said above - with 3 pipes out of each window and a pint jar on top of each nuc for food.
    I am doing this for fun. My wife and I enjoy watching the bees all winter (and summer). I understand that it would probaby be cheaper and a lot eaiser just to combine all five nucs now and make splits next spring- but...
    Charlie

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