Wrapping hives in cold climates.........
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Cavan, Ontario, Canada
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    Default Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    Located in South Central Ontario.

    Just wondering how many wrap all their hives in colder climates. I wrapped mine last year and they did well. (I only have 5 hives.)

    Is it necessary if they have a good wind block and go into the winter healthy?

    I doubt that commercial beekeepers wrap each hive.

    Thanks.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Holts Summit, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    I would wrap in addition to providing windblock. Only concern would maintaining proper ventilation. I keep chickens very much outside under stars even when temps minus 10 F. They benefit not only from good energy reserves (honey = food in crop and fat on body) and mass (cluster mass = muscle mass); they also benefit from good feathering which equals insulatory value of the hive as it moderates temperature of air contacting external part of cluster = actual skin of bird. I wish one could monitor clusters like I can my birds when temperatures are really cold to see how they adapt to cold stress.

  4. #3
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    May 2013
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    Richland Iowa USA
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    The wrap serves the purpose of Solar gain.. On those marginal days that an unwrapped hive is unable to move or break cluster, the wrapped hive CAN because of the small bit of added warmth..
    You could PAINT your hives a dark color, but in the summer the solar gain may be too much. So we paint htme lighter colors for summer, and wrap for winter.
    www.outyard.weebly.com 8 yrs aiding 40+ hives 3 yrs personal. 40+ of my own now (T, TF Goal) Zone 5a

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    I'd almost hate to say it...if you had enough hives, wrap half of the colonies and don't wrap the other half of them, then see which ones have a higher survival rate. C'mon, I think we already know the answer, and longtime local beeks could probably get the percentage winter kill for both test groups pretty close, so just insulate them with upper hive ventilation and wrap them. Leave sadistic experiments like that to those who have too many bees and no poor beekeepers to give them to.

    One of our regulars from coastal Washington set up nicely next to garage or shed with a long overhanging eave, so the bees had a wind break, and protection from snow and ice.

  6. #5
    Join Date
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    Quote Originally Posted by Skinny bee man View Post

    I doubt that commercial beekeepers wrap each hive.

    Thanks.
    Well, yeah, they do, in Manitoba and Ontario and other places where taking them south is not an option. Cruise around some of the Threads Posted by other Canadians and you will see photos of wrapped hives.

    If you want to rank the importance of different thing which factor into successful wintering, I'm not sure if I would rank wrapping lowest, but low compared to healthy, strong, well provisioned, and well ventilated. Temps may not get as low here in northern NY as to where you live, but plenty of people have wrapped half a yd and not the other half and have seen no difference in overwintering. Plenty of hives survive here unwrapped. They may not brood up as early, but they survive.

    So, it has more to do w/ what works for you all around when it comes to wrapping.
    Mark Berninghausen

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    Quote Originally Posted by Skinny bee man View Post
    I doubt that commercial beekeepers wrap each hive
    I do, every hive and every nuc.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    if I would rank wrapping lowest, but low compared to healthy, strong, well provisioned, and well ventilated. Very well said.Plenty of hives survive here unwrapped. They may not brood up as early, but they survive. This also is so true. The hive may survive but spring population is minimal and it takes them all year to rebuild for next winter. Don't look for a big hoiney crop. Brooding is also delayed, so don't be thinking about making much in the way of NUCs and splits.
    xx
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    SNOW SHOE PA USA
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........


    http://www.bbhoneyfarms.com/store/c-...winter-packing
    I don't wrap mine till thanksgiving but all will be wrapped .
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  10. #9
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    Sep 2010
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    Lake County Ill
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    Are those boards covering the entrance nailed on or just resting against the hive. Very interesting.
    Quote Originally Posted by GLOCK View Post

    http://www.bbhoneyfarms.com/store/c-...winter-packing
    I don't wrap mine till thanksgiving but all will be wrapped .

  11. #10
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    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    Wrapping hives with tar paper - or painting them black - may be effective for blocking wind, but black tar paper or black paint is not going to result in any net solar heat gain in a hive over a 24 hour period. Yes, black objects capture solar heat better than white objects while the sun is shining, but black objects also lose heat (re-radiate) faster than white objects at night. There is no net heat gain for an object simply from being black over a 24 hour period.

    It is a complicated subject, but here is a simple example ...
    Similarly, black asphalt in a parking lot will be hotter than adjacent gray sidewalk on a summer day, because black absorbs better than gray. The reverse is also true—black radiates better than gray. Thus, on a clear summer night, the asphalt will be colder than the gray sidewalk, because black radiates the energy more rapidly than gray.

    Further explanation of radiation differences by color at this link:
    https://www.inkling.com/read/college...14-7-radiation
    Black colored hives will have a larger temperature swing/change over a 24 hour period than white colored hives. In my opinion, a more consistent temperature is more helpful to a colony than flipping between enhanced highs and corresponding lower temperatures.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    Quote Originally Posted by woodedareas View Post
    Are those boards covering the entrance nailed on or just resting against the hive. Very interesting.
    They are screwed on it's to keep the wind off the bottom entrance plus there's a mouse guard and a entrance reducer behind that. Works for me.

    As you can see they go in the hive from the sides.

    I run black hives all year and they do well.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    In my opinion, a more consistent temperature is more helpful to a colony than flipping between enhanced highs and corresponding lower temperatures.
    In TN, just how much of a flip in temperatures do you have? I doubt wrapping there would have much benefit.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    I don't wrap hives. But winter nighttime temperatures where I am in TN range down to 10 degrees F (or possibly 5 degrees F) some winters, and the daytime highs on those colder days might be 25-30 degrees F.

    Note that my earlier comment was not about wrapping hives per se, but merely about the alleged benefits from black vs white hive surfaces. Some of the building wrap (house wrap) products are pretty much white colored, so it is certainly possible to use a light colored wrap if one wanted to do so. Also, some of those building wrap products are also much more resistant to tearing than asphalt paper.

    My hives are situated at the margin where the terrain changes from relatively open pasture to a dense forest, and those trees act as a windbreak.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    Dark hives have, as noted above, more heat gain during the day and more loss in the dark, which, I think can result in wider overall temps swings during cold clear weather.

    My goal in winter protection is to attenuate the temperature changes by insulating to retain the cluster's warmth (through reduced radiational loss through the wooden walls) and at the same time avoid the sharp rises that dark-walled hives can have during the few hours of bright sun at mid-day.

    I have read that natural bee cavities in the north have walls with an R-value of R 5-15. A single wall of a hive probably has an R-value of slightly less than 1. Extruded insulation foam (pink, purple, pale blue and green from various manufactueres) has an R-value of 5 per inch, so I have a base line of 2" of foam on at least three sides. A bit more added as a back wind protection panel that spans all the hives (my hives winter snugged up together with two 1" pieces of foam between them.)

    The front area gets another wide panel spanning all the hive fronts just after the first of the year. It is the first panel to come off in the Spring, probably around the second or third week of March. I keep it handy, though, as we can have serious, long cold spells after that. At that point my bees were making a lot of brood that could be chilled by a cold snap, so I would reinstall it for a few days, as necessary.

    Wrapping the hives in roofing paper provides no insulative properties, at best it is a wind break. Snow-covered hives would also stay at a steady temperature, but my hives sit on a 20" tall stand, and rarely would I have a snow drift that would cover them sufficiently as I winter in tall stacks.

    Enj.

  16. #15
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    Port Jervis, Pennsylvania, USA
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Some of the building wrap (house wrap) products are pretty much white colored, so it is certainly possible to use a light colored wrap if one wanted to do so.
    Very unprofessional advice.
    because
    "House wrap is intended to be installed over the sheathing and behind the siding, no matter what siding you are using: brick, vinyl, concrete or any other material used."
    http://construction.about.com/od/The...ation-Tips.htm

    BeeExplorer

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    Last time I looked most tree bark was tan to dark brown and after the leaves fall off exposed to sunlight and the resulting "large daily temperature swings".
    20 hives, 10 years, T and TF, All local stock

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    I wrap with construction bags from Home Depot. They are generally white with a great deal of printing on them. They are very tough and can hold construction debris. I keep them double folded and staple them to my hives. I also use insulation on the top, sugar bricks and ventilation. Will any of this work? it remains to be seen.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeEplorer View Post
    Very unprofessional advice.
    because
    "House wrap is intended to be installed over the sheathing and behind the siding, no matter what siding you are using: brick, vinyl, concrete or any other material used."
    http://construction.about.com/od/The...ation-Tips.htm
    Unprofessional advice?

    Are you kidding me? What about tar paper (asphalt paper)? I bet you won't find any building professional recommending to leave tar paper exposed either!



    Wait til you read one of the threads about Advantech (OSB product). There are beekeepers building hive lids out of Advantech and leaving them exposed to the elements without even any paint, and reporting very good results.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    OK, folks, I just discovered that BeeExplorer had 'dissed' my building wrap suggestion above, but that was not my real reason for returning to this thread. I was reading the current 'Hive Temperature' thread, and it occurred to me that there is and easy way to decide for yourself whether black colored hives actually result in warmer bees in winter (over a 24hr day).

    Everyone seems to agree that a black colored (paint, tarpaper, etc) hive is likely to warm up more in the sun than a white colored hive. But then what happens at night? There are a few voices out there that say that the 'extra' heat gained during the day by a 'black' hive is lost during the night by higher amounts of re-radiation from a black hive. But others seem not to believe that.

    So ask yourself this ... If the black hive does not lose more heat at night than the white hive does, won't the black hive continually get hotter and hotter - every single day - than the white hive? If the black hive continually gains more heat, surely eventually it will burst into flames, no?


    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Wrapping hives in cold climates.........

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    OK, folks, I just discovered that BeeExplorer had 'dissed' my building wrap suggestion above, but that was not my real reason for returning to this thread. I was reading the current 'Hive Temperature' thread, and it occurred to me that there is and easy way to decide for yourself whether black colored hives actually result in warmer bees in winter (over a 24hr day).

    Everyone seems to agree that a black colored (paint, tarpaper, etc) hive is likely to warm up more in the sun than a white colored hive. But then what happens at night? There are a few voices out there that say that the 'extra' heat gained during the day by a 'black' hive is lost during the night by higher amounts of re-radiation from a black hive. But others seem not to believe that.

    So ask yourself this ... If the black hive does not lose more heat at night than the white hive does, won't the black hive continually get hotter and hotter - every single day - than the white hive? If the black hive continually gains more heat, surely eventually it will burst into flames, no?


    I don't think anyone is arguing that black hives lose no heat, are they? If even a white box warms than your statement would be the same... it would just burst into flames a little later than the black one.

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