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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    Posts
    41

    Default Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    Coming out of winter made me think.

    What if I gathered up the hives late fall and stored them in the barn. It still gets cold, but much warmer then outside and no wind. Still lots of openings for them to fly in and outside if they wanted.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,785

    Default Re: Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    I was thinking something similar, but more just to keep the rain off them during winter. You don't want it warm enough in the barn to where they fly out into the cold and then can't make it back is the only concern.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Strasburg,VA
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    My bees are in an eight foot by twenty foot shed with a solid roof and a large open door. They seem to like the set up (there are 2 windows to help with cross ventilation in the summer). There is protection from the wind and no moisture, yet open enough for the bees to come and go as they please. The door faces SE so they get early light and I put the hives far enough back so there isn't much rain or snow blowing through the doorway. I have two hives in there nowand might go to four at some point, but I think that's about all that will fit comfortably. I would recommend this type of setup.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    807

    Default Re: Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    Honey bees do not do well in a greenhouse for several reasons.

    You don't want a structure that is going to warm up quicker than outside. The bees will find a way out and then what? Or, they will kill themselves trying to get out.

    Tom

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,833

    Default Re: Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    I tried wintering some nucs with screened entrances in a closed shed with windows this year for the first and last time. The shed warms up too much on sunny days, much warmer than the outside, and the bees go nuts trying to get out. They end up being too active which means they eat too much which means they need to go to the bathroom, I ended up with feces all over the inside of the hives and some even died, bad deal. They are better off outside IMO. John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Missouri, usa
    Posts
    204

    Default Re: Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    I have had three hives on my front porch all winter. The porch is insulated and heated and stays about 55 -60 most of the cold winter, then warms some when the sun shines in the spring. They are nucs that did not store enough honey to make it thru the winter, so I cut a hole in the top of each nuc to fit a pint mason jar. Each nuc used about 1 pint of 1:1 per month thru the winter. Now they are using about a pint per two weeks. They have access to the outdoors thru a 1 1/4 inch pipe and have been very active during the warm days lately.
    In another two or three weeks I will move they out to the back yard and continue to feed until they build up enough to put into a 10 frame hive box.
    Charlie

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,833

    Default Re: Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    cdevier, its good that your nucs have made it through the winter on the porch, having access to the outside for flying on nicer days is a key thing. My results would have been better I think if they could have been able to fly when they needed to. John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,833

    Default Re: Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    cdevier, I wonder if they reared some brood all winter long being it was so warm on the porch? John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Stevenson, Washington, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    It seems that optimally, at least in the Pacific NW, you want a cover but keep then open to the outside temps. Anything will work - just something to keep the rain off the top and sides and give them a bit of dry ground to set on. This has been the biggest factor in improving my overwinter survival.

    AN

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,121

    Default Re: Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    Some of the large beekeeping outfits do overwinter in potato barns in you're neck of the woods. They have to run very large ventilation fans to keep it cold & lots of fresh air.
    Dan

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    426

    Default Re: Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    Lots of info regarding indoor wintering on beesource if you do a search.

    Need consistent cold during winter, proper ventilation and complete darkness.

    My bees are indoors and have been since the last week in October. Should be going out now but this winters seems to never end. In Manitoba hives wintered indoors have a better winter survival rate than hives wintered outdoors.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Dorr, MI
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    Interesting discussion, This winter I read CC Millers "Fifty Years Among The Bees" and he moved his hives to the basement every year. He describes in detail the timing, how, and why he did it.

    Bryan

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    South Jordan, Utah, USA
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    I overwintered two hives in my 4x6 chicken coop (sold off the chickens first) and lost the smaller of the two hives. I used a heat lamp with a thermostat that came on when temps lowered to about 35, and turned off at about 40 degrees. This is the setup I used for my chickens during the winter so their toes wouldn't freeze. Doors were mostly shut, so plenty of darkness. Holes drilled in coop for plenty of ventilation. Pulled them out when temps outside hit 50 degrees. Noted next to nothing as far as brood at that time, however, once they got heated up by the sun the queen started laying very well. I will try again this season, but will probably save most of the space for overwintering several nucs this time...hives will stay outside, but protected from winds/rain/snow one way or another.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Missouri, usa
    Posts
    204

    Default Re: Anyone ever store their hives in a barn or greenhouse during the winter?

    jmgi, Yes - they do have brood during the winter months. My nucs are made of plywood and I cannot see inside them. Also can't remove the top because they are in my porch.

    However, I have an observation hive (4 frames high) right beside the nucs. They produced a small patch of brood in mid January (about 4 sq. inches) and then more in February. Now there is 1/2 a frame of hatching brood. I can only assume that the nucs are about the same.
    Charlie

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