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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Noxon, Mt.
    Posts
    41

    Question Winter Insulation of Hives?

    I'm getting ready to winterize the hives ,Western Montana, and have a question. I'm thinking of not using the wood top and instead using the 2" foam board I'll use for the sides. Maybe router a slot for ventilation and bees. Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks for any help, PK.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    642

    Default Re: Winter Insulation of Hives?

    If the bees are active at all they will tunnel into foam just for the fun of it! You will need some kind of facing over the foam.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,786

    Default Re: Winter Insulation of Hives?

    Foam board is much nicer than fiber glass bats. Mice make a mess of Fiberglass bats
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,819

    Default Re: Winter Insulation of Hives?

    Using the foam board on top is a good idea, except I would use it over top of my inner cover. Put the hole or notch for ventilation on the bottom rim of the inner cover instead. Mike Palmer tapes his center inner cover hole shut, that way the bees can't contact the foam at all. I think using foam on the sides of the hive is fine, but I would not use it on the south side which gets the most winter sun. Last year I used foam on three sides and felt paper stapled on the south side. John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Dorset, Vermont
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Winter Insulation of Hives?

    I'm getting ready to winterize the hives ,Western Montana, and have a question. I'm thinking of not using the wood top and instead using the 2" foam board I'll use for the sides. Maybe router a slot for ventilation and bees. Any ideas or suggestions?.
    Suggestions:

    Your telescoping cover top surface should be sheet metal not bare wood. Use a piece of 1" Dow styrofoam insulation inside the telescoping cover. Protect it from chewing with a piece of "coroplast" (political lawn sign material - readily available lately) laminated to the side facing the bees. Use it year 'round. If snow melts almost immediately from the top, you are not properly insulated. The same thing is happening to condensation inside.

    Is there little or no honey in the outboard frames of the top box? Replace the frames with styrofoam/coroplast cut to the same size as the inside wall of the box.

    Want to be really well insulated? Use straps from strapworks.com to hold styrofoam around the outside of the top box.

    Get an indoor/outdoor thermometer - put the outdoor sensor down thru the hole in the inner cover and look for temps at least 50 degrees higher than the outside temperature. Less than that in winter? Trouble. 95+ should be max winter and summer. Trouble.

    Don't even think about screened bottom boards.

    You want a small opening in the bottom and a small opening - a cut in the bottom half of your inner cover - for top ventilation.

    If you hear the idea that "bees heat the cluster, not the box so don't bother to insulate," smile and ignore.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Winter Insulation of Hives?

    hi - i posted what we do in iowa at this link: https://picasaweb.google.com/1170028...eat=directlink

    though we do not insulate the sides, i can't see why this method would also work with side insulation.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,786

    Default Re: Winter Insulation of Hives?

    >>If you hear the idea that "bees heat the cluster, not the box so don't bother to insulate," smile and ignore.

    ha ha I agree too.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,819

    Default Re: Winter Insulation of Hives?

    You know, I always had doubts about bees just heating the cluster and not the box. Heat is heat, and if there is heat being produced then there is heat that can be preserved by insulation. John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,786

    Default Re: Winter Insulation of Hives?

    I have debated this endlessly with other beekeepers.
    Yes, the ambient temp around the cluster is much the same as outside the hive, BUT
    those hives with insulation hold looser clusters because of the heat retention within the insulated hive body.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

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