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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    161

    Default Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    We're supposed to get some pretty nasty weather in the north east starting today. Is it too late to wrap my hive?? I am hoping to run to HD on my way home and get the materials.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,758

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    Do you have any insulation over the inner cover and an upper vent?

    I just use Homasote.

    Top insulation would be more important than wrapping in my opinion.
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    If your bees have not died from freezing. then no it is not to late.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,963

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    Just have the cover off for as little time as you can. -14F here currently.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    You can always add the insulation on top of the migratory/telescoping cover and use a strap or a brick to hold it down. I am assuming you are getting the rigid type board. If you gently tap on the hive and hear a buzz, then they are still there.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    No, its not too late, there's still lots of winter to come, I just wrapped some hives the other day with 2" foamboard on three sides, and put on 4" of foamboard on the outer cover. I used to just use 2" of foam on the top, but had a bunch of extra laying around and thought why not put an extra 2" on, most of your heat loss is through the top anyway. I know that the foam on top works well because I lifted it up one time last year when it was pretty cold out, and put my hand on top of the metal cover and it was quite warm under there.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    international falls, Mn
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    Insulating it is fine, just dont seal it up...Condensation killed 2 of my hives in early Dec,
    These were old hives with lots of air leaks, but I still had condensation inside in the
    extremely cold weather here...On Dec 21 I added suger pattie on top of a living hive
    and it was -7F the bees actually came to the top to get some..I also added a "nite lite
    bottom heater a week before (15 watt) I hope this hive makes it--it was -41F overnight
    --coldest night this winter here, COME ON spring!!!

    ==McBee7==

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Glen Arm,MD
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    what is a nite lite bottom heater?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    international falls, Mn
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    It's a box I made to replace the bottom board. It's a 1 by 2 box the same size as the hive,
    with tin on the top and a plywood bottom, with 2- seven watt nite lites inside pluged into
    a cheap 2 dollar extension cord, that exits out the side of the box...I used a glue gun to
    fasten the end of the cord inside the compartment, and the tin top keeps the light from
    getting into the hive body, plus it helps to disperse the heat generated by the bulbs..
    no hot spots...Kind of my own version of some hive heaters I read some discussion on..
    I don't have a lower entrance at all..I figured the snow and ice had already closed of
    the bottom entrences so it wouldn't matter...I did add some upper drill hole exits
    in the hive top candy box feeder....the upper holes also serve to vent condensation..
    It's a real frankenstien/mcgiver set up , but I'm keeping my fingers crossed...:}

    ==McBee7==

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Glen Arm,MD
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    thanks mcbee.
    i have a hive that has dwindled down and i was thinking of providing them with some kind of setup to help them make it. i dont think they'll make it on their own, so i have nothing to lose. i was thinking of using a terrarium heater. i am going to mount it to a piece of glass and attach it to the outside of the top box where they are clustered. the directions say not to attach to wood, so i think the glass barrier shouild be ok , with the outside having an air gap with roof paper wrapped around.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    Small clustered hives need all the help they can get, especially with this brutal cold coming in across the northern states in the next week or so. This is the kind of cold that will take out the weaklings for sure, there will be lots and lots of hives lost in the next few days to a week unfortunately.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    international falls, Mn
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    And IF you have some survivors that have really come through, some
    extreme conditions ...Treat them like the crown jewels...lol...Breed to
    them!!! they have something the others didn't, that died out..

    ==McBee7==

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    714

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    Not too late!

    I just added more foam insulation yesterday. This time 2" to the front, which was previously not insulated (the outer sides, backs, and tops already were.)

    You might pick up some rachet straps to hold the foam insulation panels closely to the hive. If your boxes are well stacked their sides should be even enough for good contact with foam panels. Just remember to take into account the thickness of the foam itself when deciding on the dimensions of the panels. Either both side pieces, or both the back and front pieces should have TWICE the thickness of the foam itself added to the nominal dimensions of the hive. I'd put the extra length on the dimension that presents itself to your prevailing winds. The front pieces need to be shorter (top to bottom) to allow them to rest on the sides of the front entrance "porch," if you have one. Don't allow the panels to interfere with any upper ventilation you have, especially if you are relying on just the notch on the inner cover.

    Also if your hives are close-packed together (and you run telescoping covers), you need 1" foam between them to have good contact with both hives' adjoining sides, assuming the sizes of the hives are different vertically. If they are all the same size, you will need 2" foam to fill the gap and not dislodge the covers. Migratory covers make this moot as they don't stick out beyond the side walls. Also if your hives are massed together, you can run the front and back pieces as a single panel, which saves some fidgety fitting. In that case the inter-hive side pieces don't have any extra dimensions of the foam added to them, although the outer side pieces might if you decided that was the best side to overlap the panels.

    And if all else fails, there's always wool blankets. I'm not kidding. I had a cold-weather December move planned and in order to add an extra layer of assurance that there would be enough warmth to allow any disturbed cluster to reform (which can take hours, it turns out), I covered the hives with several layers of wool blankets, with a very loosely wrapped tarp above to protect the blankets from precipitation. It's been so cold since then that I have left the blankets on, for now. I like what I'm seeing with them.

    If you have a bit of time you could assemble a rough and ready quilt box: staple wire under any spare, empty super (to support the weight above); fill a pillow case with pine shavings to completely occupy the super; with filled quilt box at hand, whisk off the inner cover, set the quilt box on and slap the inner back on, notch DOWN to allow from moisture to vent directly out. Top on as usual. You can only get about 1.5" of foam tucked up inside the tel. cover. Extra added above would work, as noted above, but might not be needed with a quilt box in place. Someone commented on my thread about quilt boxes that pine shavings have an R-value of 2.5/in. BTW, I got my shavings (coarse) at Tractor Supply.

    Also edited to add: I mentioned to my husband that I had suggested using blankets and pillowcases on the bees. He laughed out loud, and said only a woman beekeeper would dare to freely raid the linen closet like that and he thought that husbands might find themselves outside living with the bees if they didn't ask first! Seems decades ago when we were newlyweds, a certain blanket got taken out to the barn and used to cover the tractor's snout when pre-heating it on a very bitter day. Apparently said newly-wed young wife wasn't as tactful as she might have been when this was discovered. Just sayin'

    Enj.
    Last edited by enjambres; 01-02-2014 at 01:41 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    international falls, Mn
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    I'm not sure how big the terrium heaters are, but you could also kind of make a sandwich
    of it with tin on both sides of it and still put it inside of the box somewhere--maybe directly
    on the bottom or if the size was close enough you could fasten it into a deep frame and
    hang it verticually (sp)....just thinkin....sorry chr157y, didnt intend to take this off topic
    ---:}--

    ==McBee7==

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, Colorado
    Posts
    603

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    McBee that -41f is some serious cold. I thought our -12f was bad. Balmy by your conditions, good luck all!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    East Hampton, CT, USA
    Posts
    124

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    I moved my nucs onto an enclosed porch to keep then out of the wind for a few days. -4 tomorrow night, then moderating "a bit".

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Woodstock, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    No but wear mittens! I did an experiment this winter. I have 8 colonies and experimented with Solid Bottom Boards vs SBB and wrapping in tar paper vs not. So naturally we we think the unwrapped SBB hives would be the coldest. I went out there a few weeks go, we had a good warm spot and I wanted to make sure a deer didnt knock a hive over or anything. As far as cluster size, food, I could not find an significant difference (it is currently -12F). The one thing I did notice however is the bees on solid bottom boards, AND wrapped with a layer of tar paper could break cluster to take cleansing flights at around 28F whereas the others would/could not. Conversely I noticed more moisture and moldy dead bees on the bottom boards in those hives. I did go back to the hives (-12F and a mile walk in the snow, with a roll of tar paper) to wrap the unwrapped hives in hopes they can get a cleansing flight in next time we have a warm snap. They both have about 2inch of rigid insulation on top and a vent hole. So long story short, I wouldnt panic to get out there and wrap them.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    Got them wrapped as best as can be. My husband was at work, so I did it without the stapler. Hubby has the key to the shed. I duct taped it to death. Fingers crossed they make it. My package queen superceded 3 times, so I'm hoping they have lots of hardy local genes.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    international falls, Mn
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    ---THEYRE ALIVE----
    Had a break from the below zero temps today(It's +6f today) and thought I would ttake a
    look in the top of the hive, to see if they were dead or eating sugar patties, or if there was
    anything I could do extra to help them survive....And low and behold they're still alive, after
    -43F two nights ago!!! there were other nights of -20s and tonight promises to be that cold.
    We havn't been above freezing for almost a month....I can't believe it.....
    They are basicly in the open with no wrap at all,,2 weeks ago I put 2 layers of
    bead board on top of the cover held down with a rock...I also installed a night light heater
    bottom board under it,,and drilled four breather holes 1/2 inch in the sugar patty box with
    a screened bottom in it just above the frames...These are old boxes that don't fit tight,
    during the summer they fly out from between the boxes...lol....There was a little frost
    on the inside of the telescoping cover..so I put in another inner cover hoping to give a
    little more dead air space===tthey were in a 8 inch circle under the sugar blocks and
    active....

    ==McBee7==

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Too Late to Wrap for Winter

    McBee7, when I hear of bees sitting out there unwrapped and dealing with low temps like that for a string of days in a row it always amazes me how they can do it.

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