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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    10,159

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    Brood. If the colony comes out of winter stronger, greater population then the assumption is it will produce more.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
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    2,887

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Brood. If the colony comes out of winter stronger, greater population then the assumption is it will produce more.
    Thanks for recognizing that that is an assumption. There is a second assumption that brood rearing earlier increases consumption and makes supplementary feeding necessary. That is the assumption I subscribe to. I have been unable to find any indication that wrapped hives vs unwrapped increases production of honey over the course of the season; I don't think anybody has actually assessed long term production in relation to wrapped hives. I have seen home brew trials that do in fact show larger populations earlier in the spring with wrapped hives.

    If you what big populations for early splits, queen rearing, or you just like your bees to swarm in April, wrapping is the way to go.

    I know they give you a hard time around here, but I like you. At least you think stuff through logically, even if sometimes you take the thinking too far
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    I will take Ace's thought even if they are wrong or mistaken over the non ideas any day. At least he is applying his mind to the issue. He gets heat only because he speaks up. Then those very same people that do that can't figure out why more people do not contribute. Worse than that they then claim that it is some lack of character in those people rather than seeing where the real problem lies. So even if the ideas are annoying. it is accomplishing more than most. It is giving you all what you ask for. Sort of like asking someone to sing. they may very well do it. you may very well not enjoy it. Keep the comments coming Ace. I tend to read most of what I see you write. I can't say that for everyone.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Beulah,MI
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    today was the type of winter day that I am glad I wrapped my hives in tar paper. Very cold, I don't think we broke 6-8 degrees for a high temp, but the sun shone all day, and march sun does have some return to some good solar gain.This last sub-zero cold snap has me a little worried about my bees,w/ no cleansing flights since November. Anxiously awaiting a weather break to check the bees, and do some feeding.

  5. #65
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,747

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    - 14 actual air temp in mount pleasant, mi tonight.

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    3,178

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    Wow, I feel for you all. It is 3 a.m. here about as cold as it is going to get and 43 degrees. That is not normal for us but I am enjoying it. My wife said she saw the first dandelion yesterday. We have been doing inspections for the past 3 to 4 weeks. Adding some space to some hives. Getting ready for them to attempt to swarm. Nucs are lined up we nearly have all the frames made for nearly 100 new boxes of one type or another. I need to get the divider material and make up to as many as 250 2 frame compartments. That is what I call ready for swarm season in comparison to last years 18 supers we where making when it hit. Last year I never was ready for anything. This year I am going to find out just what bees can do. It is known to split the spring around here. that means we could get winter to return with a vengeance over the next few weeks. I am betting it will not.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,752

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    >The wraps are held on with 4 staples in the back of the hive where the paper comes together, and two be the upper entrance.

    Wow! That would blow off in about five minutes here in Nebraska...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,596

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    There's a string around the wrap and over the top. I have bees in windy locations and the wraps don't blow off.

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Millard, Utah, USA
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    I would love to see this test with bees in the hives to account for the heat the bees generate.
    I have been wondering the same thing if you had the reflective insulation or 1" of foam board covering the sides if it would help keep the heat in better but limit the solar gain during the day?
    I like wrapping the hives in #15 lb. tar paper with a 1" foam cover. In my location it wont get above freezing for weeks. I believe the tar paper wrap and having the hives against a South facing fence allows the hive to warm up in the day so they can break cluster and move to the food

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by Grizbee View Post
    today was the type of winter day that I am glad I wrapped my hives in tar paper. Very cold, I don't think we broke 6-8 degrees for a high temp, but the sun shone all day, and march sun does have some return to some good solar gain.This last sub-zero cold snap has me a little worried about my bees,w/ no cleansing flights since November. Anxiously awaiting a weather break to check the bees, and do some feeding.
    Literally, no days with bees doing cleansing flights since November, even with that tar paper ?

  11. #71
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    978

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by v45 View Post
    I would love to see this test with bees in the hives to account for the heat the bees generate.
    The presence of bees definitely will add heat to the hive. From the minimal testing I have done, the heat produced by a good sized healthy cluster is much bigger than the heat produced by solar gain.

    The problem for me is, introducing bees into the test introduces a huge number of variables which are beyond my resources to control for to do a good test. Consequently, I did the solar gain test without bees to isolate its affects. I've done other test which show that under some circumstances, the bees heat the interior of the hive by as much as 80F. This compared to the 10F or so seen in the few measurements I have on solar gain, so far.

    Thus my conclusion that solar gain is the smaller of the two for a heat source. I am not saying that solar gain is not helpful, or can never make the difference between a hive's survivial or its death. Just that a good size cluster on its stores can produce substantially more heat than solar gain. In other words, the key to winter survival is a good size cluster with plenty of honey stores, not wrapping. Those in winter climes much harsher than Denver, Colorado, may indeed need both to survive a winter.

    Also, I read somewhere that wrapping can help with early brooding, which may be enough of an advantage by itself to justify wrapping hives.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 12 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
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    2,887

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    Adding a colony of bees to the equation completely eliminates any ability to measure trends as the size of the cluster and the amount of honey they consume/energy they burn will impact the readings... So a large and gluttonous hive with no wrapping will have much higher temps then a wrapped one with a small cluster and vs versa. Solar gain is so minimal it has to be measured by it's self. I have a feeling that even doing it on full honey supers would make the gains so minute that measuring them will be difficult.

    I remember growing up in VT on the farm we would have Wrapped round bales that even sitting in the sun all day would be frozen in the center well into May. You start adding mass to the equation and it completely changes the picture. It takes more then heat to warm up mass, it takes energy and lots of it.
    Last edited by bluegrass; 03-03-2014 at 06:08 PM.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  13. #73
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    10,159

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by shinbone View Post
    The presence of bees definitely will add heat to the hive. From the minimal testing I have done, the heat produced by a good sized healthy cluster is much bigger than the heat produced by solar gain.
    You belittle your findings. Look up the calories in one pound of honey. A hive is a small structure and the sun is at such a low angle in the winter that solar gain is no contest. If the bees could not shiver as they do the colony would be toast. Or I should say bee crystals. The work that the bees do in the winter is what keeps them alive.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  14. #74
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Beulah,MI
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldsofnaturalhoney View Post
    Literally, no days with bees doing cleansing flights since November, even with that tar paper ?
    yes, this winter in N Michigan has had no winter thaw,enough for good flight, it hit 40 degrees on Jan. 14, and 36 on Feb. 19, then back to the 3rd sub zero 10 day or so stretch this year. the snow here is very deep,probaly have hit 190 inches and counting. It is supposed to hit the 30s by the end of the week, I am going to make some quick checks, and do a body count on the 20 I have in the back yard. the good news is they are deep in the snow which can be the best insulation, and the melt will give us good moisture in this sandy soil.

  15. #75
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Vermilion, OHio
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    Very interesting thread – Thank you shinbone for your work in kicking it off. If I understand the responses correctly, the most significant arguments for and against wrapping (with 15# black roofing paper) are:

    Wrapping a hive with 15# black roofing paper may NOT have any positive effect because:
    1) The mass of the honey/comb/frames/bees may be too large to heat up from the minimal temperature increase caused by wrapping.
    2) Regardless of any increase in the hive temperature during the day, the hive will still cool down to the same temp as an (identical) unwrapped hive overnight, negating the value of wrapping during the day.
    3) Increase in temperature during the day can “fool” the bees into taking cleansing flights on days that an unwrapped hive would be too cold for a cleansing flight. These cleansing flights can be fatal to the bees.
    4) Warmer hive temps during the end of winter will cause them to start raising brood earlier. A cold snap could kill off (some or most of) the brood because it would be outside cluster. Earlier brood rearing may lead to earlier swarming.
    5) Wrapping the hive to raise the temp a couple degrees in winter won’t have an effect on honey production during the summer.
    6) Wrapping the hive is a waste of the beekeepers time, money and effort.

    Wrapping a hive with 15# black roofing paper may have a positive effect because:
    1) The increase in temperature within the hive may raise the average temp enough that there is a benefit the bees from 1) less effort to maintain the necessary temperature to ensure survival of the cluster and/or 2) the ability to move to honey outside the cluster to avoid starvation.
    2) Wrapping the hive will cut down on the negative effect of the wind 1) carrying away heat, and/or 2) blocking wind from directly entering cracks/knots/holes in the hive.
    3) The increased warmth will allow a larger cluster of bees to survive the winter, and allow the bees to start raising brood sooner in the spring, resulting in a stronger hive earlier in the season.

  16. #76
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    420

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by Grizbee View Post
    The good news is they are deep in the snow which can be the best insulation, and the melt will give us good moisture in this sandy soil.
    Can I borrow a thumb?

  17. #77
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
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    651

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    What were the wind conditions and humidity? Without that the tests are weakened to near useless.
    How soon did each hive reach equilibrium temp.? The wrapped could take much longer saving bee work.
    The wrappings are poorly sealed AT THE TOP, causing them to act as a heat pump circulating the warm boundary air out for frigid outside air. Major fail.
    From an insulating prospective a large, captured air space under the wrappings is desirable, especially tar paper, a poor insulator its self.
    I think empty hives are a poor test bed for full ones. Hive dynamics are what drives bee life and should be tested underway.
    Any way, I had to smart off about something today.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  18. #78
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,747

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    Since this was a SOLAR GAIN TEST ONLY maybe you can take it one step further and perform an insulative test with occupied bee hives. The combination of the two tests could reveal some dramatic results. Looking forward to your test results.

  19. #79
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
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    2,887

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by julysun View Post
    The wrappings are poorly sealed AT THE TOP, causing them to act as a heat pump circulating the warm boundary air out for frigid outside air. Major fail.
    If sealed up tight the inside of the hive becomes a wet moldy mess of dead bees... Been there, done that.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  20. #80
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Beulah,MI
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Solar Gain Tests

    sometimes my reply to people who ask why I wrap in tar paper, "to make the beek feel better", but the reasons I do it is to give the bees that solar this time of year where the sun has some solar power again, to perhaps move to honey stores in super cold weather like we have had this last week, below 0 overnite.I'm watching snow melt off my roof in the sun at 18 degrees right now. Also when I do snow shoe in to my yards, the black paper melts back alot of snow, much less shoveling on this old tired beek back. no reason to overthink this, simple solution that seems to help the bees a little

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