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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
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    392

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    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.
    That's kind of what I was thinking. I guess I need one of my girls to fly up to me and tell me what they actually want!

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    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.
    I'd be worried about them flying around and pooping on everything in the garage.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Waterford, Connecticut
    Posts
    11

    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 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
    I agree with this statement. Last year I used Bee Cozys on one hive, which insulated the hive 360 degrees and the other hive with tar paper. The hive with the tar paper warmed up very fast on a cold sunny morning and the hive with the Bee Cozy was cold to the touch if you slipped your hand under the insulation. On a 50 degree day It would take a long time for the bees to fly in the heavily insulated hive. I'm thinking of using the Bee Cozy to insulated the sides of the hive that don't get any sun, I'll use bungy cords to hold them.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,024

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Splatt View Post
    I asked around, but none of the beeks I know insulate their hives -- unlike mine,
    So why are you?
    Have you ever noticed that people put sweaters, blankets and other clothing around dogs? Those are the ones that die young. A dog sheds in the spring and grows hair in the fall. Why do you think that is? Do you think you know what is best for the honeybee?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    I pushed all three hives tightly together and insulated the whole row with 2" on all six sides. (4 sides plus top and bottom) But left a 1" air gap between the hives and the insulation. All my covers have a 2" hole drilled in them that was then filled with a 2" metal soffit vent. For the winter I stuck a wad of tissue paper in each hole that will hopefully block air flow but let moisture escape. So far my hives are dry as can be. My theory is that the condensation will form on the insulation rather than on the hive and run out the bottom.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,979

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    A concern in a different post was an uninsulated top... the uninsulated part will be the point of condensation as it will cool the fastest. Have condensation on a side is probably not a bad thing as it should drip down the side and not on the cluster.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    As the older beekeeping books say, a hive that is strong in bees going into winter with plenty of food doesn't need to be wrapped, packed, or insulated. I agree with that, but someone will surely ask, how strong does a hive have to be? In my area, I would say that a hive that has a cluster that covers 6 or 7 deep frames is strong for winter. I'm talking about looking into a hive when the temperature is at freezing and seeing that kind of coverage of the frames, just to be clear.

    If you think that your hive has less than that quantity of bees, then doing something like adding a tarpaper wrap at the minimum can help warm the hive on those cold sunny days. I am trying something this year by only insulating three sides. My hives all face south to get the most winter sun, so I am using tarpaper only on the south side, then I am using 2" foam board on the other three sides. I also will add a piece of foamboard to the top of the outer cover. The tarpaper will allow the hive to still warm up from the sun, whereas if I insulated the south side with foam board it would not do so very well. The insulation on the three sides does nothing for preserving heat inside the hive because in reality the bees don't heat the hive, just the cluster. But what it does do is help slow down the cooling inside the hive from sudden changes in temperature outside the hive. John

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,286

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    I know may wraps make me feel better here in northen PA i don't know if they help but i had 100% last year

    Plus theres a 1in peice of insulation under the tel. cover and all my hives{14} are dry and humming just checked today
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 32 hives==== T{OAV}

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    GLOCK, looks like a frozen white cat on top of your hive sticking out of the snow, or am I just seeing things? John

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,806

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    I did three sides this year, mostly just as a wind break-south side uncovered.
    I used 2" foam so I could use the telescoping covers.



    Here is what it looks like before the back side goes on.



    Of course there is foam in the lid too. I make my tops deeper to accept an 1 1/2" piece of foam.
    Last edited by Lauri; 01-18-2013 at 08:18 AM.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,024

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by GLOCK View Post
    Plus theres a 1in peice of insulation under the tel. cover and all my hives{14} are dry and humming just checked today
    It is the insulation not the wrap.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hartford, CT
    Posts
    605

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    I haven't wrapped my hives but I do have a wind break with them being on one side of my picket fence. I think a wind break is more important then wrapping as wood is already a natural insulator.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    So why are you?
    Do you think you know what is best for the honeybee?
    Because my hive is in the shade most of the day, and the beeks I know have hives that are in the sun all day.

    Do I know what's best for the bee? Of course not. Never claimed I did.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  13. #33
    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
    GLOCK, looks like a frozen white cat on top of your hive sticking out of the snow, or am I just seeing things? John
    I definitely see the cat.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    I did three sides this year, mostly just as a wind break-south side uncovered.
    I used 2" foam so I could use the telescoping covers.
    Absolutely love the finish on your hives! What did you use?
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    montreal quebec canada
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Splatt, in my location in quebec, we usually insulate 3 sides and top with foam and then wrap everything, leaving the entrance side less insulated. The bees heat the hive only if they rear brood. Insulation will leave the hive maybe a little warmer during big cold but not so much as we leave an upper entrance open in order to eliminate the excess of humidity which may (always!) condensate on top of the hive.

    When I look at your picture, I see that you leave a long side not insulated, but in case of big sudden frost, it's difficult for the bees to pass around the frame in order to cluster deeper in the hive. On the short side, this is not a problem, because they can retract the swarm more easely. In windy locations, I often see lots of dead bees on the outside frames. They have been caught by the frost and was unable to join the rest of the bees which cluster maybe 1 or 2 frames deeper.
    Also, they heat the hive when they need to move the cluster to reach food, at this moment insulation will help allowing them to move more easely

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    968

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Splatt, a couple of observations:

    I've kept a colony in subzero temps with no wrapping at all and it thrived, with a huge earl spring population. It did have a quilt box with about 3" of shredded leaves on the top box, though. It was a 2 deep 10 frame.

    I've kept bees in town "commando" as well. I faced the hive toward the 2 story house, about 18" from it. That way it was exposed to whatever radiant heat lost from the house.
    When he bees oriented, they went all of the way up the house wall, and when leaving the hive, climbed quite high before crossing the fence.
    Being btw the wall and the fence, they were quite well protected from wind.

    My bee yard now is in quite a windy place, and I am overwintering all of my colonies as 1 story double nucs.
    I insulated the North sides of the nucs w/ 2" faom, and the east sides w/ 1".
    South and east sides are wrapped in black material to stop wind and take advantage of whatever solar gain is available.

    The top is insulated with 2" of foam also.
    I think it is very important to insulate the top if sides are insulated.
    Otherwise, the top being the coldest surface, it will be where moisture condenses.
    I don't want it condensing where it can drop on the cluster.

    If your bees are healthy and got plenty of pollen last summer/fall, and you keep water from condensing on the underside of the top, I don't think you have anything to worry about with your mild winter.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,806

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Splatt View Post
    Absolutely love the finish on your hives! What did you use?
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...243#post885243

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by pascal View Post
    I see that you leave a long side not insulated
    That's the side that gets the sun (the south side). A shed, a fence, and the natural tilt of the earth keep the sun off the east side of the hive this time of year.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Ok, thanks. I've used Spar Urethane on my feeder and some supers, but not on a hive box.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Insulating only three sides a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beregondo View Post
    I faced the hive toward the 2 story house, about 18" from it. That way it was exposed to whatever radiant heat lost from the house.
    A beek I know does that. Unfortunately, there's an electrical box right near my hive, and to keep everything up to code I have to keep the hive at least 3 feet away.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

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