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Thread: Wrap or not???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Wrap or not???

    Hello all,
    I usually wrap, either with styrofoam, cardboard, or tar paper. But I noticed last winter that I had a few hives that I forgot to wrap, and they came through the winter very well, and some of them weren't particularly strong either. I run single deeps. Should I wrap this winter?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, Colorado
    Posts
    516

    Default Re: Wrap or not???

    Sounds to me you answered your own question. "noticed last winter they came through very well". If it saves time and energy and does as well.....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,339

    Default Re: Wrap or not???

    Don't wrap, I see little benefit in a thin black insulation. Sure it absorbs a great deal of radiation however much of that heat is actually conducted into the hive on couldy days. Wood is a great insulator, foam may be better choice in cold areas.

    What kind of bottom board and top/inner cover do you use?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Spanish Fort, AL
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Wrap or not???

    I'm new to this, but I've heard some say it can act as a moisture barrier, which isn't a good thing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,817

    Default Re: Wrap or not???

    Wrapping cuts down on a lot of wind. Is it windy in Wyoming? I like doing it as it allows the bees to start building up earlier in the spring and it does save some of the marginal ones for me. Indeed it can exacerbate moisture problems but here on the high plains moisture levels are easily controlled. They need some to liquefy honey after all.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Spanish Fork, UT, USA
    Posts
    371

    Default Re: Wrap or not???

    There are so many variables when is come to winter hive survival. The overall health of your hives are the main factor. Sick bees that get wrapped usually still die off.

    Over the years I have had many winters where I have wrapped them and many winters I haven't. I have found that most winters wrapping the hives improves winter survival. There are some winters here in Northern Utah where temperatures can reach single digits for weeks at a time. It's during these cold spells I have seen an increase in losses.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,339

    Default Re: Wrap or not???

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    Wrapping cuts down on a lot of wind.
    I don't not see how wrapping cuts down on wind at all. It may reduce convection losses out of the hive due to absorption of radiant heat from sun. A windbreak either man made or natural is a much more effective at cutting down wind than felt paper.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,177

    Default Re: Wrap or not???

    Wrapping confuses me.
    I thought bees were able to do a great job at sealing unwanted draft sources with propolis. I also thought that wood was fairly good at insulating.
    The frames with foundation should help with air convection within the hive.
    If one has hole at the bottom, a hole at the top, insulation under the hive top and some means of collecting condensation shouldn't the hives manage?
    If one has temperatures well below freezing all winter would a layer of tar paper be enough to insulate the heat generated by the bees when top and bottom vent holes are open? I have heard of the dark surface absorbing heat to the hive and fooling the bees into going outside only to freeze
    I will gladly wrap if that is what makes the difference between life and death but don't wish to put time and effort into an activity that at best is over kill and at worst is detrimental.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    625

    Default Re: Wrap or not???

    Air is a good insulator if it is enclosed. Wind blows the boundary layer off the bare hive surfaces; a wrap of tar paper keeps a thin layer of air stagnant between it and the hive. It is not so much that the tarpaper seals the chinks between hive bodies.

    I see lots of dead bees in the snow. They have a life length limit and many fly out to die. I think not many young winterized bees fly out. Maybe not much science behind the tar paper and dead bees in the snow connection. It certainly is easier not to wrap so perhaps that contributes.

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