Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 40
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Question Insulating only three sides a problem?

    My hive is only in direct sunlight for a couple of hours a day now. Being concerned about heat loss, I insulated the three sides of the hive that do not receive any sunlight. I was wondering if this might create a heat imbalance inside the hive (one wall possibly being colder than the others) causing the bees to cluster to one side.

    I asked around, but none of the beeks I know insulate their hives -- unlike mine, theirs are in sunlight all day during the winter.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    710

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    I'm not sure anyone will really know unless a proper study has been done. You'll get a lot of "I think"s and "here's what I do". So here's what I do

    I insulate all 4 sides even though my hives do get sun. The "force" tells me that the steadiness (just slower change really) of the temp inside is more important than the daily warm-up followed by the nightly cooling off on that side. Plenty disagree w/me on that though.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    I put a piece of insulation on top. The hives that receive a lot of wind, if they are lucky, I put a piece on the wind side.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    I am insulating only three sides on my grouping of nucs this winter, the south sunny side I am leaving only tar paper on it with 2" foamboard on the other three sides, bottom and top. I think insulating the south side would hinder the warmup of the hive which may cause the bees to not fly on the occasional somewhat nice day(above 40) in the winter. Even if the outside temp is too cold for the bees to fly out, at least with the sun beating on the tarpaper it can warm the hive up a bit to enable the cluster to shift towards more food if they need to. John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Windham, Maine
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Most of our hives get insulation on 2 sides. The sunniest 2 sides just get tar paper. Some hives may get 3 sides depending on thier location. I believe that the sun warming the tar paper may help warm inside the hive enough to permit the cluster to move. It would be interesting to monitor hive temps in several loactions throughout the winter to see if this theory holds true.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    I am insulating only three sides on my grouping of nucs this winter, the south sunny side I am leaving only tar paper on it with 2" foamboard on the other three sides, bottom and top.
    I put 3/4" on mine. I assume insulating 3 sides has worked well for you in the past, correct?
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by libhart View Post
    I'm not sure anyone will really know unless a proper study has been done. You'll get a lot of "I think"s and "here's what I do". So here's what I do

    I insulate all 4 sides even though my hives do get sun. The "force" tells me that the steadiness (just slower change really) of the temp inside is more important than the daily warm-up followed by the nightly cooling off on that side. Plenty disagree w/me on that though.
    I thought of that, but I wasn't sure which would be better. Hopefully things get easier after your first year!
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Splatt, actually this is the first time trying it this way, I usually only tar paper my full size hives, but with these nucs I want to do a little more to keep them warm, hope it works out. John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,268

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Splatt. I think the trouble is that noone really "knows" what is best. The insulation versus ventilation goes all over the place on Beesource. It is an imperfect world, I assume there is a reason you have to keep your hive where it is.
    Even if there is just a couple of hours of sun a day your bees would benefit from a bit of heat that tar paper or a black wrap would offer. The hive will warm up enough to allow them to scoot over/up to another honey comb. You didn't say, and I am curious, is your hive a deep or two or more? Is it a newly established package? Was it full of stores at the start of winter? Were there a lot of bees when you last checked? These details flesh out the picture. Good luck.
    Also, we like photos.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    Splatt, actually this is the first time trying it this way, I usually only tar paper my full size hives, but with these nucs I want to do a little more to keep them warm, hope it works out. John
    I hope so, too. It'll be interesting what we all have to report in the Spring.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    Splatt. I think the trouble is that noone really "knows" what is best. The insulation versus ventilation goes all over the place on Beesource. It is an imperfect world, I assume there is a reason you have to keep your hive where it is.
    Even if there is just a couple of hours of sun a day your bees would benefit from a bit of heat that tar paper or a black wrap would offer. Also, we like photos.
    I understand. I just wanted to know what others thought and had done.

    My hive is in my side yard, about 5 feet from the house (brick). It's there for two reasons:
    1. I have kids and my wife didn't want the hive in the back yard.
    2. I'm a suburban commando beekeeper. That part of the yard has 7-foot fencing, ensuring that when the bees cross the property line they are overhead.


    I realize that this isn't the most ideal spot (at least in the summer it gets quite a lot of sun), but it's the best I can do for now.

    Here's the situation with my hive:
    • Started from 5 frames of bees and a laying queen the first week of July.
    • Increased in size rapidly. At peak I had 8 frames of brood in the bottom, plus 5 or 6 in the top, all boiling with bees (A beek I know commented "Wow! You've got a good queen!")
    • My hive is two deeps and a shallow, all full of stores at the start of Winter.
    • At the last full inspection (late October) there were still lots of bees, although somewhat less than there were in early September.
    • Mite count in late September was 20 total per day.



    I'll post a photo tomorrow.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    I was thinking on this insulating of a hive thing the other day. I wondered if it does not compare to mulching a garden. the reason to mulch a garden is to help it stay frozen through the winter.

    I have heard several times that the cold is not the problem but condensation. If the hive is kept colder. it would help reduce condensation. I am a little reluctant to do anything I think might make the hive warmer than it woudl be naturally. i just don't want to cause the bees to be more active than they would be otherwise.

    So far my bees have only had a hand full of days that where cold enough they did not fly. today was one of them. nasty and rainy. Nights are barely getting into freezing range.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    I have heard several times that the cold is not the problem but condensation. If the hive is kept colder. it would help reduce condensation. I am a little reluctant to do anything I think might make the hive warmer than it woudl be naturally. i just don't want to cause the bees to be more active than they would be otherwise.

    So far my bees have only had a hand full of days that where cold enough they did not fly. today was one of them. nasty and rainy. Nights are barely getting into freezing range.
    You bring up a good point, and I've thought about that, as well.

    I wouldn't have worried at all if the hive were in full sun all day. The highs have been 50 or so, dropping to the mid-to-upper 20's at night. With the lack of sun I thought I'd do something to help them retain heat a little.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Added information

    For ventilation I flip the inner cover over notch side down with the screened bottom boards wide open. I put a piece of foam between the inner cover and the telescoping lid. When warm moist air rises to the inner cover from the cluster the added foam keeps the condensation from forming on the inner cover lid and falling on the bees. Instead it condensates on the sides of the hive or escapes before in condensates out the ventilation hole. Kind of like boiling a pot of water in a house with uninsulated windows. It is a guarantee that condensation will form on those windows. As for wintering nucs I push them all together and put foam on top and foam on the wind side. I have a 3/4" ventilation hole on the opposite end of the entrance on all those nucs and leave that exposed. The foam insulation that I use it mainly to keep the wind from hitting the hive bodies directly or to keep condensation from forming on the inner cover. I don't worry about keeping the hive warm in the winter, I worry about protecting it from the elements. The bees will keep themselves warm. If they don't the wintering cluster was to small and that was a problem that should of been addressed in the Fall.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Polk County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Splatt View Post
    Hopefully things get easier after your first year!
    Nope....they don't. Im into my 4th and things still get complicated.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    The sun can only hit two sides at a time (and the top). Meaning 1 or 2 walls are always warmer than the others. Your cluster is always dealing with a heat imbalance. I don't think the addition of insulation to 3 sides is causing a significant enough temp difference that you need to worry, the bees are going to go where the honey is stored.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Here's that pic I promised. The exterior wall you see is the east wall of the house.

    It was about 56 degrees when this was taken this afternoon; you can see some of the girls out and about.

    Insulated Hive.jpg
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,268

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Splatt, thanks. nice job making the insulation fit snug.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,143

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Insulating 3 sides may be an improvement. Insulating will keep the hive a little warmer at night but a little slower to warm up in the morning. The open side to the sun should warm faster, at night it should cool faster and possibly be the first condensation point. The next day the condensation would melt and drain down the side. Theory anyway.
    Studies show the cluster does not heat the hive, so the whole concept of insulating in a body that is open to the outside gets a little strained anyway. In all probability insulation on the sides acts as another layer of a windbreak. The building paper heating in the sun acts as a heat sink more than as insulation.
    If you think about internal thermal currents the center hole on inside covers should be on the corners not the centers. That becomes more so with an insulated cover as thermal currents should tend to actually set up more often with an insulated top.

    If you wanted to get elaborate I would borrow some concepts from box solar panels. If the exposed south side had a clear cover and a space between that would act as a heater. (Think of a garden springtime starter box.)

    The simplest most effective insulation is probably to put the hives in a portable garage with the door open to the south. Then the whole hive would be warmed. Concern would be the bees would fly out the door and freeze. Someday I will spend the $.

    That is my over thinking of the simple

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    Splatt, thanks. nice job making the insulation fit snug.
    Thanks. I tossed around several ideas (including the handyman's secret weapon), but eventually figured the straps would hold up better to the elements.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads