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  1. #1
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    Apr 2013
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    Quincy, Illinois, USA
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    Default Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    After reading several posts and blogs and asking. I put this together. (see Illustration)
    The bees can still come and go over the winter through the front hole or through the two holes in the inner cover front and back. bees are blocked away from the foam insulation with a thin piece of wood. Should this be screen instead or does that matter. Confused on placement of things. How would I increase ventilation if needed?
    Thanks in advance.


  2. #2
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    Jul 2013
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    Bennett, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    I put 1/8 inch screen under the insulation. Bees liked the taste of R-5 a lot. Used 1x4 for attic.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    I'd remove the piece of wood and screen the hole with 1/8 so bees can not get to the styrofoam. Any condensation above the bees would be on the underside of the styrofoam and mostly drip onto the top side of the inner cover. Also add a popsicle width opening between shallow and inner cover so get some ventilation of any moisture out the small opening. Should raise the styroam off the inner cover by adding a strip of min 3/8 blocking.
    Close off the screen bottom board.

    Alternately, leave the inner cover hole open and cut cut a piece of plywood to protect the styrofaom from the bees. The piece of plywood is better in that it absorbs some moisture before any condensation drips. Raise it up from the inner cover by min of 3/8 and vent the back between shallow and and inner cover with a pop sicle width. Vent moisture to prevent dripping and any mold. Close off screen bottom.

    I use 1 inch bottom entrance which is 1/2 by 3/8 on each side and 1 1/2 top notch in inner cover. A seasoned beekeep from my climate recommended a single 5/8 bottom entrance. I also have a 2 1/2 inch deep feeder rim above the top deep and have a 3/4 round hole in front of it.

    Ventilation required is a regional thing and depends on bee population(give off moisture from metabalism) and humidity of the air. Check what other area beekeeps do for top and bottom opening size. Monitor your hive and adjust openings wider if condensation and mold become problems.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  4. #4
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    Jul 2011
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    Macoupin,Illinois,USA
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    Looks Mighty good to me Pappy.My inner only has hole in front,dont want any wind blowin threw causing the chimney effect. You close your bottom off or leaving it open?

  5. #5
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    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    Quote Originally Posted by mrqb View Post
    My inner only has hole in front,dont want any wind blowin threw causing the chimney effect. You close your bottom off or leaving it open?
    How is wind blowing through?
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  6. #6
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    Jul 2013
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    Louisville, KY
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    If left open the screened bottom board provides plenty of ventilation. Cold dry air is a moisture magnet. The moisture will be sucked out the sbb. Im consufed with all of the stuff up top, seems like overkill and alot of trouble.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2013
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    Quincy, Illinois, USA
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    Quote Originally Posted by mgolden View Post
    How is wind blowing through?
    There are two holes in opposite ends of the inner cover.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2013
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    Quincy, Illinois, USA
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    Quote Originally Posted by mrqb View Post
    Looks Mighty good to me Pappy.My inner only has hole in front,dont want any wind blowin threw causing the chimney effect. You close your bottom off or leaving it open?
    As of now, the plan is to leave the SBB open.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    Sorry I missed that. Close the back end notch and use the popsicle stick to vent above inner cover.

    What is status of screened bottom opening?
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  10. #10
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    Apr 2013
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    Quincy, Illinois, USA
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    Quote Originally Posted by mgolden View Post
    Also add a popsicle width opening between shallow and inner cover so get some ventilation of any moisture out the small opening. By small opening you are referring to the 'gap' created by the width of the Popsicle sticks? Should raise the styroam off the inner cover by adding a strip of min 3/8 blocking. The styrofoam is up about 1" above the bottom edge of the shallow box.
    Close off the screen bottom board. There is a notch where I can slide in a board, but do you mean totally block it off? Some of the beeks in this area just leave the SBB exposed.
    .
    Thanks for your responses

  11. #11
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    Oct 2011
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    The popsicle stick creates a small gap that vents area above the inner cover.

    I'd totally close screen bottom boards for winter. Templast( the material a lot of political campaign signs are made of) works well to slide in. I'd regulate my ventilation via size of opening in bottom entrance reducer and make sure upper entrance is as large or larger.

    Just as and aside, I cut a 45 off each corner on one end of the templast, so in summer, I can increase ventilation up two back corners. Haven't really concluded whether is does much good, but should help on 90F days.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  12. #12
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    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    I also vote for closing off the screen for winter. I see your wooded block is to keep the bees off the insulation. There is a balance between allowing fresh air in, and allowing so much flow that they have to expend too much energy to stay warm; I think this is one of the least understood areas of beekeeping and it differs so much by region that what is true in one part of the country may not be so in another.

  13. #13
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    May 2012
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    Rockford, MI
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    If it were me, I would remove the shallow super, plug the rear notch on the inner cover and close off the SBB.

  14. #14
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    Apr 2013
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    Quincy, Illinois, USA
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    Thanks for all of the suggestions and information. The article I read which used the styrofoam brought their colonies through winter 100%. That's what got my interest here where winters can get long and sometimes brutal cold wind. My neighbor had a hive last year, they didn't make it. His claim was they starved. Since I didn't see the hive, nor know how he has his setup, it's hard to say. I'm beginning to catch on to the idea of the ventilation and how imperative it is to a healthy hive, for all seasons. I've re done the drawing to include the Popsicle sticks, and screen over the inner cover hole.
    Perhaps the hives would be just fine without the extra "hoopla", but currently all I've got is the inner cover, and the outer cover (propped up), and the SBB on the bottom. They've been this way since April.

    What I'm not quite comprehending is the purpose of the styrofoam above. Heat and moisture will rise up through the screen covered inner cover hole. There is air venting across that same plane with the Popsicle stick opening. 1 inch above that is the foam insulation, and dead air above capped off by the top cover. So the idea is the insulation traps their warm air, and reflects it back down to them somewhat? Or is it more to prevent the colder air from coming down on them?
    Any condensation which might form will roll off back toward the inner cover. The air gap created by the P. sticks will flow a lot of that warm air out is my guess.


  15. #15
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    I'm in a warmer area than Illinois, and don't use insulation in my hives. One of the biggest values of the foam in a cold climate is to provide a thermal separation of the cold top cover from the relatively warm and humid air inside the hive. The goal is to reduce the possibility of condensation forming on the underside of the cover and dripping onto the bees.

    The bees are much better at dealing with cold air than cold water on them.
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    As a follow up-
    I made some changes and some decisions. I've eliminated the shallow super with the foam insulation. I thought it best to perhaps wait until I've gained some "over-wintering" experience before making all sorts of contraptions and experiments to try and deviate from a standard setup. I have added a thin bottom board slipped in beneath the SBB. It is thin enough to allow some air flow, but keep out wind gusts or uninvited guests. I've added a 2" spacer which is just a 4 sided box stacked on top of the top of the upper deep. This allows room for a bag feeder on top of the frames. We learned how to make the sugar patty mix at our last BeeKeeper meeting. On top of that spacer is the inner cover. On top of the inner cover are some "Popsicle" stick sized spacers to prop up the outer cover and allow air flow, but not enough room for bees to exit. One of the inner covers has notched holes to front and back. I've blocked off one of the entrances to the back of the body.
    In my humble opinion, this setup allows air flow, yet protection from cold freezing winds. It also give opportunity to feed if necessary and the bees won't have to break cluster to get to the food.

    My plan is to purchase some protein patties to feed to them also, and I'll be set-up for early spring feeding if all goes well.



  17. #17
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    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    I put 2 inch of styrofoam in the under side of the inner cover. Condensation will happen on the coldest surface first and in my case that is the front wall where I have 1/2 styrofoam.

    Condensation above the cluster and dripping on the bees must be avoided. A wet cluster cannot stay warm and hive will die.

    Add apiece of 3/8 plywood on the under side of the styrofoam. The 3/8 will absorb some moisture before it drips. I use a 3/4 plywood in the top of the top cover and run a screw in each corner through the 3/8, up through the styrofoam and into the top cover 3/4. This keeps the styrofoam in place.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    Quote Originally Posted by mgolden View Post
    Condensation above the cluster and dripping on the bees must be avoided. A wet cluster cannot stay warm and hive will die..
    I have removed my Styrofoam from the hive box. If you look at my new diagram, you'll see it's inner cover, some popsicle sticks, and then outer (top) cover. The inner cover is on top of a 2" wooden spacer, no insulation.
    I don't think I'll try the styrofoam until next season when I have a better feel for what the colonies experience during a winter here.
    Thanks.

  19. #19
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    May 2013
    Location
    Richland Iowa USA
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    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    SE Iowa so not a lot of difference in climate...
    As stated by a few others.. slide your board in under the SBB, and close off the rear notch in the inner cover, leave the front open...

    We do pretty much the same..
    On top of the brood box we put a 2 inch spacer. Put newspaper down and pour a bag of sugar on the newspaper, (keepingit back from the front of the hive at least two inches) pouring a bit, and spraying it with a bit of water, pouring more etc... doesnt need a lot of water, just enough to start the sugar clumping.. many folks dont do or like this.. but I have found the sugar to be good insurance, even if the brood chambers have plenty of honey. On top of the spacer we place the inner cover, flipped, with the notch down facing the front. This allows an entrance/exit if the blowing snow fills the bottom entrance.. if your winds are like ours, you would have to go out every fifteen minutes to clear the snow away before it turned to ice. A piece of duct tape, or plastic over the hand hole in the inner cover to keep the bees away from the foam... then a piece of 2" foam cut to fit. Then the tele cover, and cheap ratchet straps to hold everything together.

    You used a piece of wood, and thats fine. with the foam above it you should not get condensation on it to drip down on the bees. With only one notch open at the top you will get plenty of ventilation, (Two may be too much, never tried two. And if you add the sugar on top, it too will absorb moisture.
    Sometimes the bees have devoured almost all the sugar by spring, sometimes they havent touched it, and I have a block of sugar to lift out.. I just use it to make syrup for spring feeding. Oh, we also wrap our hives with 15# felt paper.. So long as the varoa are under control this has given consistently good overwintering.

    As in everything related to keeping bees.. no method is perfect or foolproof. Read everyones opinions and decide from among them all how YOU think it will work best for you and your situation/climate.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Fort Wayne, IN
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    975

    Default Re: Did I do this right? - Winterization West Central IL

    I'm with SS1, my climate is probably not too different either. Only think I don't do is close the SBB. I have not done it in 5+ years and the girls do quite well. I always beat the club average in survival. Most of my hives are situtated with a wind break of some kind though, fence, hedge, etc. Some time in December I go out and put down a layer of newspaper and dump 5 pounds of sugar on top for moisture absorption and emergency feed. The bricks sound easier so might give those a try this year.

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