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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Ogden, Utah
    Posts
    91

    Default Artificial Heater for Bees

    I ran power to the back of my yard so my chicken waterer doesn't freeze during the winter. I also have a light bulb that comes on in the chicken coop during the days all winter long. It wouldn't be that much trouble to run an extension cord to my beehive and put a light bulb under the screened bottom board of my one and only hive. I know this concept won't be quite as feasible next year when I increase my hives to 4... and even less feasible the year after when my hive count will most likely increase yet again. I'm just wondering if there is an obvious problem that I'm not aware of or that I might be missing. My hive sits on two cinder blocks with no foliage within several feet of the hive.

    If a light bulb is a problem, it could always be a heating pad or something. I'm just wondering if it would be worth the trouble.
    If God doesn't want us to eat animals, why did He make them out of meat?
    Zone 5b - Utah - Elevation 4,300 ft

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    9,107

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    If you do set this up to heat the hive, you should incorporate a thermostat in some manner. If you get the hive too warm in winter, bee activity will increase, and their food consumption will also increase. It would be a real shame to go to this effort, and then have them starve before spring due to increased activity!

    From reading posts by Ian, who winters bees indoors in Manitoba, the target temperature in his operation is 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

    I'm in Tennessee, not Utah, but in my opinion if you get the hive set up properly from a condensation/ventilation point point of view, there is no need to heat your hive in cold weather.
    Graham
    . . . . . . "those who want to see, can see". - - [Oldtimer - 2016]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,322

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    For a full size hive I don't think it's necessary. For a small nuc it can make a difference on bitter cold nights. A terrarium heater is the best.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    3,154

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    Two years ago I put a thermostat (on at 30 off at 40) and an under tank heater in an empty box above the inner cover on two small hives, they came out of winter very strong.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bucks county, pennsylvania, usa
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    anyone try attaching this to a solar power source? i wonder if it would work to warm hive some during day dissipate during night then repeat.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    711

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    But, if you warm a hive and activity increases, they will be more likely to fly out into the cold and try to purge themselves. Then they die.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN USA
    Posts
    685

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by jdmidwest View Post
    But, if you warm a hive and activity increases, they will be more likely to fly out into the cold and try to purge themselves. Then they die.
    Thats why you need a thermostat. Keep the temperature it heats to below where they would try to break cluster, like 40 degrees. Help them take the edge off without making them think spring has sprung.

    Could be worth a shot.
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bucks county, pennsylvania, usa
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    I was looking at something like this with a solar panel from harbor freight. i wonder with the winter sun being low in the sky and strength in se pa. how much heat it will generate? its such an unknown i guess you should have a thermostat.

    Waterproof 12V Hive Electric Heater Save Honey Beekeeper Bee keeping Equipment
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Waterpro...

    Waterproof 12V Hive Electric Heater Save Honey Beekeeper Bee keeping Equipment in Business & Industrial, Agriculture & Forestry, Livestock Supplies | eBay

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    guelph, canada
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    What is 40f in Celsius for us canadians and do you get a heater with a built in thermostat or how does that work? I'm a newb...this is very intriguing

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    33,722

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    Don't bother. Bees have been keeping themselves warm for millions of years.
    "Do Not Fear Taco Trucks" Mark Berninghausen

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN USA
    Posts
    685

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by mikebarber View Post
    What is 40f in Celsius for us canadians and do you get a heater with a built in thermostat or how does that work? I'm a newb...this is very intriguing
    Roughly 4.5C.
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    1,167

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by mikebarber View Post
    What is 40f in Celsius for us canadians and do you get a heater with a built in thermostat or how does that work? I'm a newb...this is very intriguing
    Use Google and enter "f to c calculator"
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    bedford virginia
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    I was thinking of a 25 watt light bulb in an empty medium super above the inner cover of my one and only small hive. what wattage was your tank heater

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bucks county, pennsylvania, usa
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    I never installed a heater in my hives. I lost 3 of 4 last winter. I'm not sure why i lost them. I still think it would be a good idea to increase temps. a little when its bitter cold outside. With the warm temps this year you might just break the cluster and increase food consumption leading to other problems.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    bedford virginia
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    Two years ago I put a thermostat (on at 30 off at 40) and an under tank heater in an empty box above the inner cover on two small hives, they came out of winter very strong.
    I was thinking something like flowerplanter but using 25 watt bulb as heat source . or would a 15 or 40 be better. the weather been nice, by I think we will get some bitter cold soon

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,322

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    The problem I had when I used a light bulb (back when they still made incandescent light bulbs...) was that the bees were attracted to the light, so you need to keep it where they can't seen any light...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    3,154

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    Here's what you want.

    http://www.amazon.com/Farm-Innovator...ermcube%5b/url

    http://www.amazon.com/Under-Tank-Hea...+heater%5b/url

    A strong hive can keep itself warm. A smaller hive may benefit from a little help. I did use this heater one year. I found it much easier to screen smaller hives and put them in my garage during cold spells and move them out for flying weather;

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...for-the-Winter

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-Garage-Update

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    1,574

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    I got a bee heater from warmbees.com this November. Nice to have for the 2 comb nuc that doesn't have enough bees to keep warm on the 30 degree nights.
    IMG_4084.jpg

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    33,722

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    How many of you all who use hive heaters are also Treatment Free Beekeepers? What long term benefit to bees is it to get a weak colony through the Winter? Perhaps doing so compounds mistakes made earlier in the year which didn't result in a strong colony and a well stocked hive.
    "Do Not Fear Taco Trucks" Mark Berninghausen

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bucks county, pennsylvania, usa
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Artificial Heater for Bees

    I am treatment free for my hives but had the state apiary inspector here both last year and this year. Both hive were pest free and healthy. MY 2 hives that were lost had plenty of honey but still died during the harsh winters of 2013 to 2015. Hindsight is 20/20 I wish I had tried a heater to help out.

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