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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    boxford, mass.
    Posts
    65

    Default Topbar winterizing

    hello, started a topbar i made in june with a swarm. they have been doing well and have filled 3 quarters of the hive already. they don't have much capped honey, but thats probably beacuse they used alot they brought in to build comb. I'm planning to start feeding 1:1 syrup. My question is, with my location in northeastern massachusetts, what can i do to help insulate the hive and prevent condensation? thinking inch foam board on the outside, any other ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,956

    Default Re: Topbar winterizing

    If you want to use foam board, I would suggest that putting a piece on the top may be useful, the sides aren't going to help.

    > and prevent condensation?

    A top entrance or vent will be helpful to allow moist air to escape before it becomes condensation.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Topbar winterizing

    I use a sheet of the bubble wrap coated with aluminum type of insulation material across the top bars. Staple to one edge along the end of the hive and attach the other end of the insulation to the last top bar at the other end of the hive. That way it stays in place but can easily be folded back if I need to open the hive. Also attach some of the material to the outside of the follower boards on each end and place any empty bars of comb outside of the follower boards. Not sure the insulation is really needed but my hives have survived the winters just fine here in south central PA.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    boxford, mass.
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Topbar winterizing

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post

    A top entrance or vent will be helpful.[/COLOR]
    to create a top entrance, ill be spacing a bar away from the end of the hive. my hive has a bottom end entrance, should I put to top entrance over that end or the opposite?

    and insulating the sides would prevent heat loss through to walls, right?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,956

    Default Re: Topbar winterizing

    Have you seen Michael Bush's TBH page? A top entrance and vent all in one. My TBHs follow this model. This entrance/vent remains the same in both winter and summer.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm

    Insulation does not prevent heat loss, it merely slows down the rate of transmission. Insulation is most effective where the heat differential is the greatest, and that will be the top of the hive.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Milw, WI
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: Topbar winterizing

    I was planning to put in layer of felt installation about 1 inch thick under the lid of my top bar hive over the bars and potentially rap the hive in tarp or tar paper to help keep the wind from getting too much under the lid. I used 2 inch thick lumber so I'm hoping that provides some additional r value to the sides. I will leave one upper opening but may put a wind deflector on it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Franklin, New Hampshire
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Topbar winterizing

    Does anyone fill the empty space in the back of the TBH since it's just dead air?

    I have bags of cedar shavings from the lang boxes and frames I've been making. Would it be worth filling the dead space with wood shavings as insulation... or is this just inviting mice or other nasty bugs in for the winter?

    @jpelley-

    I'm about 1.5 hours north of you with two TBH's. How do your hives look for stores?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Topbar winterizing

    I'm also in in the area, southeastern PA. This will be my first winter with a hive. I planned on putting foam insulation above the bars and was also toying with the idea of filling the opposite end of the hive. Are mice a problem in top bar hives?? My hive only has 3 top entrances that are 3/4" each. I don't know how a mouse would get in. I like the idea of cedar shavings or at the very least, another piece of foam insulation.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,956

    Default Re: Topbar winterizing

    Mice can easily fit through a 3/4" hole:
    Mice and rats are pesky critters that can enter your home through small holes or gaps. Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel, and rats can squeeze through a hole the size of half of a quarter!
    http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Rodents/
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Topbar winterizing

    I realize they can fit through the hole, but the hive is elevated and the holes are along the top of the hive body. I don't see how they can get to the hole. I guess they could, b/c they get into all sorts of things, but it would be difficult.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Franklin, New Hampshire
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Topbar winterizing

    Would covering the 3/4" holes with 1/2" (3/8" if they even make it) hardware cloth help cut down on the potential for mouse problems?

    Aside from the mice, are there any benefits to filling the dead space with wood shavings?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    boxford, mass.
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Topbar winterizing

    [/QUOTE]I'm about 1.5 hours north of you with two TBH's. How do your hives look for stores?[/QUOTE]

    I check 2 weeks ago and they were starting to fill in the back of the brood nest. there was about 5 bars filled but not capped yet. my first year with the topbar.

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