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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Island Pond VT (N.E.K.)
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    21

    Default Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    So what is the best way to winterize bees in Northern Vermont (almost Canada)????
    I have both Langs and TBHs.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
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    2,082

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    Best? Who knows?

    I wrap with cheap tar paper, wire for mouse guards, leave lower & upper entrances open for adequate ventilation, slide a close-off board in the SBB, kiss each bee on the forehead and wish them a happy winter.

    Last winter was mild & most hives never got wrapped & the bees went to bed without their good-night kiss.

    Wayne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,165

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    The most important wrapping is feed. If they have adequate stores and a windbreak, they will probably do fine. I always found that snow was a good insulator and put my hives where they would be completely covered for the four months of no flying weather in North Dakota. It was not wet snow though and that could make a difference though I doubt it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    I like the idea of my hives covered in feet of insulation.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    4,165

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    At Brainerd I imagine with proper hive placement, you would have feet of insulation available. Expect a hole in the snow bank roughly the size of a 55 gal drum melted around each colony. Mine were back to back downwind of caragana or lilac hedges. Make sure you have a mid top deep box or top entrance though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Killington,VT
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by waynesgarden View Post
    Best? Who knows?

    I wrap with cheap tar paper, wire for mouse guards, leave lower & upper entrances open for adequate ventilation, slide a close-off board in the SBB, kiss each bee on the forehead and wish them a happy winter.

    Last winter was mild & most hives never got wrapped & the bees went to bed without their good-night kiss.

    Wayne
    My bees think I'm a lousy kisser so I leave that part out, but do the rest , or use solid bottom boards with reduced entrances here in Killington. I've experimented with foam board insulation and found it not needed - I have a sheltered yard. Paul
    Zone 4a-b

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Island Pond VT (N.E.K.)
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    Someone mentioned to me some kind of black felt paper being better than tar paper anyone care to comment on that?? also is that a suitable wind break or do I need to put up some plywood around them back a ways???

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Babylon ny
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    From practices in another part of the world with similar climate:
    -Top insulation is considered the most important. Typically telescoping tops are insulated with 1 inch of expanded polystyrene foam year-round (helps in summer in other temperature direction). In winter an additional section is added with two more inches of the same.
    -3 inch panels of the same are attached all around 4 sides of the hive, wrapped over by tar paper (as I understand both follow older practices where amounts of straw were used).
    -Entrance is given a cabinet-handle-like windbreak.
    -Now to where practices really diverge (you can use above ideas even if you disagree with following): air is let in only from below. No upper entrance or vent. Air gets in two ways: wind shielded standard bottom entrance, reduced for the winter; while everything is done to make top and boxes as air tight as possible, the bottom used is most similar to enclosed but drafty IPK screened bottom section used in the USA . In a way, drawer that fits well but not air tight with metal screen above. Condensation happens... typically on the metal screen at the bottom.
    Hope this helps...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,462

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    Wind break and top insulation with a top entrance/vent.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,960

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    Wrap with roofing felt, commonly called tar paper (15lb), reverse inner cover so notch is down, tape over hole in inner cover with duct tape, place insulation board between inner cover and outer cover - raising outer cover enough so that the notch in the inner cover can be used as an upper exit (I use blue fiberglass insulation).
    Check colony weight with scale to verify stores - feed colony 2:1 sugar syrup if not up to desired weight. Reduce entrance to smallest opening and install mouse guard. Strap entire hive. AKA the Mike Palmer method with slight variations.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
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    2,082

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by dusanmal View Post
    ....telescoping tops are insulated with 1 inch of expanded polystyrene foam year-round (helps in summer in other temperature direction). In winter an additional section is added with two more inches of the same.
    -3 inch panels of the same are attached all around 4 sides of the hive, wrapped over by tar paper ...
    Where on earth do they need to insulate like that? Certainly not in Babylon, NY?

    As I've said before, I've never had the need to insulate a hive but I suppose if it ever gets really cold here in the hills of Western Maine, perhaps I'd consider such extreme measures as above. Until then, don't see a need for any of that. Wrapping or otherwise protecting against the wind and adequate ventilation is all I need here.

    Wayne

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
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    2,082

    Default outh from

    Shane, what are you planning to do with your top-bar hives? I don't know how you would prep them for winter. I don't personally know anyone in this climate that has successfully overwintered a TB hive. The person on the coast that sells them claims she overwinters them. I'm guessing it's a rare occurrence since she posted a YouTube video entitled "TOP BAR HIVE Winter Success Story in Maine!"

    Last I heard, even Sam Comfort was carting his bees from the much more temperate lower Hudson Valley in NY to the deep South. Have you posted about winterizing on the Top Bar forum here?

    Wayne

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: outh from

    Quote Originally Posted by waynesgarden View Post
    The person on the coast that sells them claims she overwinters them. I'm guessing it's a rare occurrence since she posted a YouTube video entitled "TOP BAR HIVE Winter Success Story in Maine!"


    I spoke with her at the Common Ground Fair and she claimed that a beekeeper in Rhode Island over wintered one for 3 years.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,242

    Default Re: outh from

    My first year as a beekeeper was with a TBH - Michael Bush design. It overwintered. I just used an insulated cover above the Top bars and a bag of leaves on top of that. It gets pretty cold (-20's on occaision) here in Wisconsin. I also remember being told that the hive wouldn't overwinter.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: outh from

    I wintered my TBH last year. I used solid foam insulation with tar paper and insulation between the top bars and roof.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Laramie, Wyoming
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: outh from

    This is my fist winter so we'll see how this works but this is my plan for my 3 TBH's...

    They are located on the side of the house and garage out of the prevailing wind. I have 1" of blue foam in the roofs year round...it's permanently glued in. My roofs are like "Snoopy roofs" so there is an additional dead air space between the bars and the roof. I have panels built that are 1/4" lewan with 1" blue foam glued on that will fit on all four sides of my hives. They sandwich together and bungee into place. I have reduced their space already. We are mid 30's at night here already. I will reduce the entrances if they haven't done so themselves by Halloween. We will have flurries before then but there will be real, lasting snow beginning around Halloween. As someone said, I will kiss them all good winter and cross my fingers and see how this plan works. I will report back in the spring.

    I have been feeding syrup for a while now trying to get them built up as far as possible since I have no mentor and no real first person experience to tell me how much food they need to overwinter in Wyoming.

    Say a little prayer for mine and I'll do the same for all of yours.

    Rene - in Laramie, Wyoming (-20 to -30 for days at a time with long periods of STRONG wind)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    central mn
    Posts
    282

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    I' m in mn zone 3 , 4 line ,, first of all I have never put the board in the sbb ,, how I winter hives is like this ,, put a large bee candy bar on top of the frames ,, make a 1 1/2 inch spacer with firring strip ,, stretch bur lap over the spacer put spacer over the candy bar ,, put a deep box on the spacer fill the deep box with ceder chips like for mouse cages ,, put inner cover on then put outer cover ,, I do not put the board in the sbb my hives that I have done tis way have all came through winter ,, the chips and candy take up the moisture ,, and make sure you have a wind break near the hive ,, be sure to put a mouse guard in ,,, keep the snow low around the hive ,,, about the TBH from what I under stand they are REAL hard to winter in the north ..

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Island Pond VT (N.E.K.)
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    Thanks everyone this helps. I believe I can over winter the THBs as well but only time will tell...

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,783

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    I agree with, an practice:

    air is let in only from below. No upper entrance or vent.

    Crazy Roland

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,700

    Default Re: Northern Hive Winter Wrapping Opinion Fest!!!

    I am from Canada and we use both top and bottom entrances. Top is around the inch or so across and a little more than half inch high. The bottom entrance is reduced alot. Some reducers reduce down to a single or bee width and others close to a inch.
    For wraps I like the nod apiary double colony wraps. Easy to use, easy to instal and easy to store. We also use a glad kitchen catcher stuffed with insulation in an empty super on top of the inner cover and then the lid. When putting on the nod wrap it is very helpful to have a 4" spike nailed into the super just above the center of the reducer. That gives it the support it needs to not fall down and cover the entrance.
    Then we have the 4 hive wraps. I do not like them as much...more work and more cost
    We have both an upper and lower entrance for condensation removal and so the bees can get out after alot of snow has covered the bottom

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