Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Vista,California,USA
    Posts
    40

    Default Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    Hello,

    I have a few weak nuc colonies that i'm most likely going to have to combine before the winter sets in here in NC. However, Is there at all an option of bringing these inside a relatively heated environment with a pipe to the outside enabling the option for feeding them all winter? This is probably the craziest dumbest idea but i was wondering what a observation hive does overwinter? Do they cluster if the hive itself mabye indoors? Does the cold air coming into the hive entance pipe send them into a cluster. I dont know much about overwintering in colder climates having spent most of my beek years in Southern California. Please let me know what the odds are.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fort Gay, WV, USA
    Posts
    1,185

    Default Re: Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    Your odds are pretty good actually. I've seen many people use a setup in a basement with a tube from the NUC to the outside for air with a feeding jar of honey in the center of the lid on the top of the nuc. You will want to put a small opening in the hive with a screen so that you can keep the inside air of the NUC at about 40 deg F. This will keep them clustered for the most part and on warm days when the outside air gets above about 50 they will fly and recluster.
    Thomas Bartram - 43 - 8 F langs, 22 Italian & 21 Russian

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Redmond, WA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    Yes, it works but as the other poster mentioned; you want to keep the temperature moderately low (shouldn't be an issue in NC). There are keepers around me (WA) that keep the bees indoors for the 3 months of winter, no outside opening, left in the dark and they do very well as long as they have stores; something to consider yourself (just saying you don't need an outdoor exit for a couple months you may keep them inside).

    The main issue I have heard about indoor hives with outdoor exits is around temperature. If the inside is warm the bees might think the outside is also warm and fly out, only to die a few feet from the exit because it is too cold. This is something to think about but depending on where you live may (or may not) be much of an issue.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,272

    Default Re: Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    I keep my Observation hive inside year round. and at an average temperature of 70 degrees although the bees remain active throughout the winter. They rarely go out side when temperatures are below 50 F they venture down the exit tube to the point where they can feel the temperature, then turn around and go back. I do have to feed most of the winter.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Sandpoint, ID, USA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    I keep my Observation hive inside year round. and at an average temperature of 70 degrees although the bees remain active throughout the winter. They rarely go out side when temperatures are below 50 F they venture down the exit tube to the point where they can feel the temperature, then turn around and go back. I do have to feed most of the winter.
    How do they poop?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    There are many threads on the topic of indoor wintering. I would study them. Indoor wintering is more complicated and more prone to disaster than outdoor, so I would approach it carefully.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,238

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,812

    Default Re: Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    Proper indoor wintering may be complicated, not needed. One year we had a very small hive, maybe 2-3 frames of bees, brought it in the house in a cold room(55 deg F.) and threw a blanket over it. A few bees crawled out, but the hive made it.

    Crazy Roland

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Vista,California,USA
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    Thank you all for all your help.

    I had wondered that if keeping the nucs indoors they could keep building up as i would feed it throughout the winter. Both nucs are only 3 frames of bees. If i had them in an out building with a regulated interior temp and exit tubes to the outside, could i keep a hive top feeder on and get them to build up? It seems that winter here brings enough warm days throughout it that they would be able to leave on cleansing flights. Once again thank you so much for all your help.

    Jantsen

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    For nucs I think it's worth experimenting with, just keep in mind that it's just as easy to do harm as good and you want to be careful to do good... and experiment small enough so if you do harm it's not a major disaster. Also keep in mind that when you scale up things change. Bees produce a lot of heat and humidity and it's easy to find you have to keep them cool and ventilated where before you were trying to keep them warm and break the wind...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,238

    Default Re: Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    >if keeping the nucs indoors they could keep building up as i would feed it throughout the winter
    Mine did not build up it was more like just survived, they lost a portion of their population over the entire winter. That was at 45-55 deg range.

    >could I keep a hive top feeder on and get them to build up?
    They will take syrup when it 50+ but I don’t think they will build comb or population during winter.
    They will get a little bit of a head start as spring comes, my garaged bees did very well this year, the smallest was about 2 frames of bees coming out of winter, it now has 2 deeps with 2 supers (for golden rod) and I took 4-5 deep frames of honey.

    If you use a tube make sure you are not creating a wind tunnel that will freeze the hive.

    I will definitely be garaging more bees this winter. Anything 8 frames or less.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,776

    Default Re: Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    I've been keeping a few very small nucs in my attached garage for several winters. This garage is unheated, but never gets below freezing. I've had good success in keeping them alive. I feed all winter as needed. I've found that they do not attempt to fly when its too cold out. I did have to modify a landing pad. My house has a brick exterior and the tube was placed where the bees would land on the brick. I found that the brick retained too much cold and once the bees landed on the cold brick many would get too cold to climb into the tube. An easy fix was to place a piece of plywood over the brick. Since then I don't get stranded bees.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Vista,California,USA
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    What would be a suggested tube size.....3/4? 1 in? And how long would too long bee?

    Thanks, Jantsen

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Forsyth, Missouri
    Posts
    256

    Default Re: Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    I have a 1" ID clear tube on my OB hive and some days it is full of bee's going in and out.
    My plan is that if it gets to drafty over winter I will put a piece of tape over it to make it smaller.
    Zone 6b 1400'

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,615

    Default Re: Overwintering indoors???.....Is this possible?

    Best thing to do is when the weather turns cold, bring them into a dark cool place and forget about them til the weather turns mild again. With just a few hives, you could make this easy. But you need darkness, and fresh air flow.

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