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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wausau, WI, USA
    Posts
    212

    Default Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    I read about indoor wintering on a commercial scale in "The Hive and the Honey Bee". According to the book, this is a common practice in Canada. Does anyone here have any experience with large scale indoor wintering? I currently migrate my hives to the south for the winter, but this is getting more expensive each year. It seems to me that a building to winter in would "pay for itself" in just a few years in transportation costs savings alone. Being in central Wisconsin, the concept seems to have merit. I realize most going south are also sending their bees to California for almonds. I'm looking to winter the bees here in Wisconsin, and forgo going to California. The idea of getting sprayed in California, like others I know, or spreading pests and diseases to my hives outweigh the dollars. We are a growing business looking to grow to the 1000 hive mark. Outdoor wintering, and the annual mortality rates associated with it are not acceptable to me. Thanks for any input you may have.

    Wisnewbee

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,786

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    Here's a start:
    http://www.capabees.com/main/files/pdf/winteringpdf.pdf

    I would take a trip to Canada and visit some of the larger beekeepers who winter inside. I do believe that some have begun to winter outside to reduce costs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Poweshiek, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    I would wonder how you could go for that long without a cleansing flight. I'm in Iowa and having a warm day or two in January or February is helpful. I cant see putting them inside from November through March.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    419

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    Wisnewbee: This topic has been discussed several times on beesource, a search should give you a fair amount of info. I don't know if survival rates are much different indoors than outdoors. I do think you can winter smaller hives indoors with greater survival rates.

    sweetacres: I'm moving my bees indoors this week and next and typically they will only be moved out during the second week of April. They do fine without a cleansing flight but sure seem anxious to take one by April.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,744

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    Moved my first 50 in tonight! Another 850 to go, ah.
    If things go well, should take a few days.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    419

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    I've got 450 done. Half done.
    Hoping the last ones won't end up being frozen to the ground with the cold nights they are predicting.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    247

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    Our are wrapped and ready for another winter outdoors.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camarillo, CA, USA
    Posts
    308

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    Thousands of hives are stored inside buildings in Idaho each year, most are sent to ca for pollination in Feb. They started using old potato sheds years ago and now many people have built building designed for the storage of hives.

    this not anything new to the indusry, but is growing in use.
    Larry Pender,Jubilee HoneyBee Company,Camarillo, CA

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,744

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    ya no doubt. Frozen down pallets sucks.
    Once I get going things will not take long, I just have trouble getting going sometimes lol


    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Martens View Post
    I've got 450 done. Half done.
    Hoping the last ones won't end up being frozen to the ground with the cold nights they are predicting.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,744

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    Your in good shape then.
    I do not know about there in SK, but this fall has been windy here in MB. Hope you have them tucked away from the wind!

    Quote Originally Posted by dgl1948 View Post
    Our are wrapped and ready for another winter outdoors.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    247

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    I do not know about there in SK, but this fall has been windy here in MB. Hope you have them tucked away from the wind!
    Yes. this year a breeze is about 60 km. Our yards are in well sheltered areas.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    This search should provide additional data.


    http://www.beesource.com/forums/arch.../t-238007.html
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wausau, WI, USA
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    I appreciate the information provided in all your posts. I have read, with great interest, all the links you provided. I have also visited Ian's website to view his pictures, and videos. I especially liked the guy doing the dance while using the Easy Loader. Nice job Ian! For my fellowbeekeepers in Canada, do you think the weather environment here in Wisconsin, USA would be advantagous to wintering indoors? It does get pretty cold here. Snow that falls in November/December doesn't usually melt until April. I would be constructing a building specially designed for indoor wintering. I had intended to use a passive system of buried pipes for air intake to warm the very cold air at the peak of winter, and cool the air during the warmer periods. Essentually using the ground a meter down as a very large heat sink/thermal mass. This air would then be ducted to all parts of the building to insure even temerature control. I was intending to use 4 exhausts fans to control the air being drawn into the building. Each fan would be controlled by a seperate thermostat. as the temperature rises, additional exhaust fans would turn on. The building would be insulated (R19 minimum) and light tight. Considering the costs involved in building such a facility, I would appreciate some input from people who do this. Would any of you be willing to take this discussion to a more indepth conversation via email?
    Thanks for your input.

    Bill
    Wisnewbee

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Ohio
    Posts
    855

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    1000 hive storage is about 18'x50'x 100' concrete floors 14' door in each end, your looking at about $117K at NW Ohio price. Should pay for itself within a year or two. Sounds like good money spent there.
    Last edited by The Honey Householder; 10-27-2012 at 11:21 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wausau, WI, USA
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    I got a quote from General Steel building for a 14x55x100 building. It's a kit. I supply the contractor or do the labor myself. The price of the kit is about $34,000. Concrete and labor not included. You're probably pretty close for a final cost.

    Bil

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,744

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    you bet Bill! Sounds like you have the concept down.
    As for temperature,.? I cant comment on that, I really dont know what your weather is like there. Here in Manitoba once winter falls we usually dont see temps on the plus side for months at a time.
    The real challenge is keeping the temp down during warm spells.
    Keeping the building warm is never an issue, the bees do that. My heater is pretty much just a decoration.
    Im putting mine in now, and they will not see the day of light for another 5 months. I always figure if I would have one month less to hold them, it would be nice.
    You probably will not hold them for 5 months, so then you have to decide how many months you will be storing them for. And then you can justify your cost advantages. If they are only going to be held for 2-3 months, you might as well winter them outside. But if your looking at 4-5 months, and sheltering them from wind and cold, indoor is the way to go
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,744

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    Build you hot room large enough to handle your winter space requirements. That way you will have a multi purpose building and you will be able to justify your costs easier.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,744

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    >>I especially liked the guy doing the dance while using the Easy Loader

    ya, that was the first year we got the lift. He was very happy not to be lifting the boxes anymore. haha and so was I. Those boxes are stacked 5 high on some hives, packed full of honey. I dont know if your familiar with the Canadian honey season but everything happens very fast here. Within weeks. We tend to fall behind with our work, and in the video we were behind in our work. Those boxes are weighing 50 lbs each. You can see he is struggling a little bit walking the boxes over. Its because he is moving more than his body weight of honey. Ha Ha
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    628

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    Ian, how heavy does a double deep need to be in order to winter this way?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,744

    Default Re: Indoor wintering in northern climates on a commercial scale

    We winter singles fed up to 75lbs and higher. Doubles have lots of food but all depends on the size of the nest. I have had doubles starve while inside because I had not enough for them. But for the most part wintering doubles inside is very inefficient.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

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