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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Metamora, IL, United States
    Posts
    109

    Default Central Illinois - Screened inner covers and bottom boards over winter???

    I live in central Illinois and I have screened bottom boards and screened inner covers on all 4 of my hives. I know ventilation is important over winter to prevent condensation building up and dripping on the cluster. Is the screened bottom board going to be too drafty over winter? Especially considering the frigid spells we can experience. I plan to put up a wind break as well.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Honey Hive Farms, Winfield Missouri
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: Central Illinois - Screened inner covers and bottom boards over winter???

    Honey Hive Farms,
    Wind break a good idea in your area, we have hives in Missouri so we know what your saying.
    The screened bottom board is just fine, we have had them on the last 4 years and all is well.
    You also could take the tope screen inner cover off and just crack the top, not sure how many CFM your pulling through your hives.
    Moisture is very bad, you don't want that, though some of the older guys put a sugar board on the top lid and let the moisture let sugar rain down?? Not us, just hear them talk about it.

    NOTE:
    Depends on the amount of bees
    Are your hives in a wet or low area
    You could put half a board in there and leave half open.
    Could do something different with all four and learn what works best

    Hope it all works out for you, just make sure they are strong, mite free and have plenty of stores

    Tim Moore
    Honey Hive Farms "Saving the world one bee at a time"
    www.HoneyHiveFarms.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: Central Illinois - Screened inner covers and bottom boards over winter???

    Is this your first year to overwinter your hives, or have you overwintered this configuration before?

    My hives are all screened bottom boards. I also essentially have a screened inner cover with my candy board boxes I put on top that includes a top entrance/vent hole. Not quite the same but close.

    You hit it on the head when you said wind break. Allow ventilation but provide good wind breaks and the bees seem to do the rest.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    720

    Default Re: Central Illinois - Screened inner covers and bottom boards over winter???

    It all depends on your local conditions. Winter tends to be very windy here and the terrain is very flat. I ran 2 year with half of the screened bottom boards open and half closed. One year it made little difference, the next year the losses in the 'open' group were much higher, particularly in the yard not adjacent to a woods (natural wind break). The second year had a lot more wind.

    So, now I always close the bottom boards. Since it varies year to year and you dont' know ahead of time I error on the side of caution.

    Ventilation is very important.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Metamora, IL, United States
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Central Illinois - Screened inner covers and bottom boards over winter???

    This is my first year so I have not attempted overwintering yet. I do live in a flat open area and the winds can be pretty harsh in the winter. I plan to put up a windbreak of straw bails or something similar.

    What's the best way to close the screened bottom board? just slide a piece of cardboard or something underneath the screen? Maybe I could cover half the bottom screen to stop some of the draft while allowing some ventilation as well?

    I guess I'll just have to experiment...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,473

    Default Re: Central Illinois - Screened inner covers and bottom boards over winter???

    How you close them depends on the design. I use the Kelley ones, so it's easy just to push the sticky board in and leave it. I use inner covers with a notch, or if I put a candy board on, make sure it has a notch placed so the bees can get out.

    Out in the pararie, I would use a condenser on top -- shallow box with screen on the bottom and filled with coarse sawdust (planer shavings, not table saw), chopped leaves, lightly packed straw, or something similar. Even cypress mulch will work. Point is to allow slow air movement through something highly water absorbent. This will keep the hive dry, but allow condensation in the comb around the cluster for winter use by the bees and keep the wind from roaring through. Provides enough insulation to reduce the consumption of honey but without water dripping.

    A wind break is good, you might consider wrapping the hives if the bees didn't seal the boxes together tightly.

    Definitely reduce the entrance to about 1 1/2", and elevate the hive at least 6" off the ground to keep dampness out.

    Good luck!

    Peter

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