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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Pendleton, Indiana
    Posts
    12

    Default Winter insulation

    I'm thinking ahead to next winter and have an idea I want to ask about, I'm switching from Kenyan TBH's to the standard hives this year and thinking about building a hut out of 2 inch thick foam insulation to slip over my hives in the winter. the front one just coming down to the hive entrance leaving it open (with the reducer) and the screened bottom open. This will bee like putting a box over the hive. anyone see a problem or any advise on my thought?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    648

    Default Re: Winter insulation

    how the moisture going to get out

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,716

    Default Re: Winter insulation

    In my opinion, you will be better served by having some kind of top vent in your hives to allow moisture laden air to escape. Certainly you can also have insulation if you choose, but don't seal off the top of the hive.

    There are a variety of ways to offer a top vent, including just leaving a hole, utilizing a top entrance, adding a screened quilt box, etc. Here's a page on using just a top entrance:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm


    .
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 03-11-2013 at 09:35 AM. Reason: spelling
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: Winter insulation

    I use 2 inch on east, west and north and top and bottom. Use 1/2 on south and wrap all in black roofing paper. It is slower for interior to get cold with 2 inch all around, but once the hive interior gets cold in really cold temps, it is slow to warm again and bees are slow to get to new stores. Needs to be 40F plus for bees to move from cluster.

    My thinking is use the 1/2 plus black paper to get thermal gain from sun to warm interior faster.

    As an aside, with no 1/2 on front, interior gets too warm too quick and bees try to fly when too cold outside and perish.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lazy Mountain, Alaska, USA
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Winter insulation

    I winter my hives as mgolden. Except I use a Warre quilt top with 4 inches of birch sawdust and no top, just open to the inside of the insulated box. I also wrap my hive in 1/2 inch bubble wrap. I have two 1/2 inch holes in the bottom of the insulated box and one 1/2 inch in the top opposite side of the insulated box for condensation removal and air flow. I remove the insulated box in April, leave the bubble wrap on until May (or when the night temps do not reach 0 F....a huge guess on date and behavior of Mother Nature). Wind is my winter and spring enemy.
    My bees can hold it !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Menard County, IL
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Winter insulation

    As others have noted, addressing the build-up and dissipation of moisture seems to be the biggest challenge that you face. This past winter was my first over-wintering bees and it was pretty mild. That said, I think the biggest thing that helped my hives survive was leaving them plenty of stores and erecting a wind block (used t-posts and plywood) on the north and west sides of the hives. If you take the "hut route", I would think you would want to leave a slight gap between the top and sides (in both the insulation and the hive cover/super) to allow the air to circulate from top to bottom.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    648

    Default Re: Winter insulation

    I used to wrap white boxes with black tar paper for thermo gain but now just paint them dark colors.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    southwest colorado
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Winter insulation

    Danno , you dont find that method to hot for the bees in the middle of summer ?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    648

    Default Re: Winter insulation

    Quote Originally Posted by jim81147 View Post
    Danno , you dont find that method to hot for the bees in the middle of summer ?
    No I do not.
    Our average summer temps are high 70's to low 80's. We seldom get to high 80's and when we do it doesn't last long. I also have all season vented covers on all 70 of my colonies to help with ventilation and are filled with insulation in winter

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Winter insulation

    I pushed all my hives together and built a box out of 2" foam board. with a 1" gap all around. I have migratory covers with a 2" aluminum soffit vent in the top. I stuffed paper towels in the vent to slow down air loss and I have had ZERO condensation in my hives this winer.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    648

    Default Re: Winter insulation

    I insulate with a 3 - 4 inch book of straw in the vented all season covers. http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/wp-c...ason_inner.pdf

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,748

    Default Re: Winter insulation

    Here, bees seemed to do just as well leaving the hives unwrapped as they do wrapped.
    Solid bottom board, small reducer with mouse guard, small upper vent in the inner cover, and 1/2" insulating board between the inner cover and out cover.
    I see this scenario to be pretty much the norm.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,763

    Default Re: Winter insulation

    Insulating the lid seems to help. Everywhere else seems to seal in the moisture...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    648

    Default Re: Winter insulation

    My bee's are on 4 way pallets. Although the 4 on each pallet are not touching, they are very close. With insulated tops the snow doesn't melt and quickly forms a complete cover over all 4. It also piles up around the pallets protecting the bottoms. This leaves only 2 side of each hive exposed to the weather. Because of the tightness of the pallets I can only use migratory covers. This leaves me with two choises for upper enterances. A hole drilled in my hive bodies (not happening) or a vented cover. The straw that I use for insulation wicks away the moisture. The system is warm in the winter and easy for the bee's to regulate temp in the summer
    Last edited by danno; 03-12-2013 at 02:51 PM.

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