Over wintering in polystyrene hives
Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa ISA
    Posts
    18

    Default Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    For those that use polystyrene hives (ours are Bee Box/Paradise) how do you over winter? Ive read some posts suggesting leaving the bottom screen wide open for ventilation. If the hives are on the ground the open venting may be fine but on a open stand, off the ground it seems like too much exposure. Any other suggestion or tips for winter prep? We are in the US, zone 5b and the yard is open with little wind breaks.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Utica, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    I wintered 4 of the Bee Boxes last Winter, all made it through. Bottom screens closed with the plastic board, also glued 1.5" polystyrene to the outside of that plastic board. Glued with PL300. Bottom entrance open 1". .75" entrance hole in top box, drilled in top center inside of handhold. Used a medium(mine are all mediums) on top as a quiltbox, screen installed in that medium 2" up from bottom, a piece of burlap across the inside of the screen and then wood shavings on top of that. .75" holes drilled in top center inside of handhold, front and back. Fill the box with shavings, but leave shallower down the middle so air can move between the 2 holes and ventilate the shavings. Also, 12"x15" piece of thin rigid plastic(cheap cutting board material from Fleet Farm, $1.69/2) placed on top of the bars on top box, dry sugar poured on top of that up to the screen on the quiltbox. Hope this helps.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by hawkeyeegghead View Post
    For those that use polystyrene hives (ours are Bee Box/Paradise) how do you over winter? I’ve read some posts suggesting leaving the bottom screen wide open for ventilation. If the hives are on the ground the open venting may be fine but on a open stand, off the ground it seems like too much exposure. Any other suggestion or tips for winter prep? We are in the US, zone 5b and the yard is open with little wind breaks.
    The original and revolutional idea in wintering these polystyrene hives with no upper entrances has been screened bottom. They are designed to be wintered screened bottom OPEN and no upper entrances. If you close the screened bottom you will make an airtight bottle, which may end up as a death trap to the bees. No matter how high you lift it above ground, air is not running through the bees! It is making them drier and cooler. And BEES NEED TO BE COOL IN WINTER SO THAT THEY PROPERLY SHIFT INTO WINTERING MODE. Screened bottom wintering has been widely used in the Nordic countries, where winter is at least as hard as yours. Finland for instance is as far north as Alaska.

    If you leave the screened bottom open there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED to make any of those complicated tricks that hulstbee1 mentioned. Just plastic and insulating roof (5cm) on top.

    (I have been telling this over and over again on this forum, 99% in vein. This is so hard for beekeepers to understand that Im near frustrated.)

  5. #4

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    The original and revolutional idea in wintering these polystyrene hives with no upper entrances has been screened bottom. They are designed to be wintered screened bottom OPEN and no upper entrances. If you close the screened bottom you will make an airtight bottle, which may end up as a death trap to the bees. No matter how high you lift it above ground, air is not running through the bees! It is making them drier and cooler. And BEES NEED TO BE COOL IN WINTER SO THAT THEY PROPERLY SHIFT INTO WINTERING MODE. Screened bottom wintering has been widely used in the Nordic countries, where winter is at least as hard as yours. Finland for instance is as far north as Alaska.

    If you leave the screened bottom open there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED to make any of those complicated tricks that hulstbee1 mentioned. Just plastic and insulating roof (5cm) on top.

    (I have been telling this over and over again on this forum, 99% in vein. This is so hard for beekeepers to understand that Im near frustrated.)
    Juhani, as I stated in the other tread, most Beekeepers here have learned different methods. I am very interested in learning more about how Beekeepers in other countries deal with winter. You have certainly helped with your explanations. Dont get frustrated!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa ISA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    Juhani, thank you. I’ve read similar input, maybe one of your post about keeping the bottom open. Frankly had some doubt as it seemed to smash the thermal properties of poly hive. I’m very interested in poly hives after seeing high use in Europe. We have two hives we are overwintering in polystyrene boxes. One hive is lighter than I prefer. I plan to place fondant on the top bars, the space is tight. I’m wondering if placing sugar in the BeeBox feeder with out the drowning guards would help with moisture control (along with the open screen) and the bees may adventure up to snack on.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    Paradise boxes are made in Finland. The director and owner Juhani Vaara is a friend of mine.
    http://paradisehoney.net/en/

    From their net site:
    "In the normal position the top of the hive closes tightly. It should be used in combination with a plastic sheet placed on the top bars of the combs. The top can be secured against strong winds with a stone or brick weighing about 2 kg. During migration it is secured with a strap.

    The 95 mm high bottom board of the BeeBox Hive has scalloped edges and an aluminum screen bottom to maximize ventilation. When fully open the flight entrance is 18 mm high. It is possible to slide a Varroa monitoring board under the screen and close the bottom opening.
    The hives are recommended to be kept on pallets above the ground to ensure adequate air movement through the screen bottom at all times.

    Generally the screen bottom is kept open. The ventilation through the mesh improves the wintering results. Not even dead bees and other debris can block the air movement during
    winter. The hives survive even in situations where the entrance is blocked by ice. During wintering condensed water will run down through the screen bottom.
    After the cleansing flight the bees start to rear more brood. At this time it is advantageous to slide the Varroa-monitoring board in place. This prevents any draft in the hive through the screen bottom. Without a cooling draft, bees will expand their brood nest considerably faster. During spring the entrance can be kept reduced to a height of 8 mm. "

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Utica, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    If you leave those bottom screens open for the Winter, please continue this thread in the Spring and let us know how it worked out. Nice to hear how different ideas end up working out, only way we can learn and help each other out.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    853

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    I have always had open SBB year round in my apiary @ 8,000 feet in the foothills of Pikes Peak. In winter I do have a lower entry and an upper entry below a quilt box, and 2 inches of foam on all four sides and above the outer cover on all wooden and all mediums hives.
    Steve

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    bethel oh usa
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    Hawkeye, can you give an update on how are your hives are wintering?

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    DuPage County Illinois
    Posts
    179

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyp View Post
    Hawkeye, can you give an update on how are your hives are wintering?
    I over winter in the paradise hives in northern illinois. We had probably our coldest winter in the 20 years I have lived here. I also use the Lyson hive. I close the bottom ventilation in both of these hives and leave a small upper entrance. I saw no moisture problems at all and not only is it cold here but extremely damp.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa ISA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    So far the ten frames are looking good. One six frame hives did die off. Today we received 8.5 inches of snow after a few weeks of temperatures in the middle 40's F so we are not quite past the finish line to Spring. We are adding two additional 10 frames hives and six of the six frame nuc hives if the bees allow. My wife enjoys the light weight of the six frame hives which can also divided into 3 frame nucs. Lastly, I can't say enough about Blue Sky Bee, our BeeBox supplier. Very supportive with questions.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa ISA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    Buzz-kill. One hive we left the feeder on, with no guard full of dry sugar. Thought was to absorb any moisture. I had a fair amount of condensation when I removed the top lid but it could have been my error with leaving the hive feeder in place. This hive died. In all the hives I've noted the bee use dead bees to cover the screen suggesting leaving wide open may not be suitable for our Midwestern area, your results seem to confirm. How do you create the top entrance? How large is the opening?

  14. #13

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by hawkeyeegghead View Post
    BuzzIn all the hives I've noted the bee use dead bees to cover the screen suggesting leaving wide open may not be suitable for our Midwestern area, your results seem to confirm. How do you create the top entrance? How large is the opening?

    So yo think "bee(s) use dead bees" to close the entrance and this is a proof that they need upper entrance.


    Wow.
    It is hard to teach you (beekeepers in US) away from upper entrances.
    Unbelievable logic.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,793

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    Screened bottoms are just plan silly. I would have no bottom entrance or flippin pneumonia screened bottom anytime temp is below about sixty at night. Canadians I know wintering in poly boxes have a one inch hole bored in the front of the box just below the hand hold on the upper box. Bees are fantastic ventilators if allowed by the mad engineers. I winter that way in insulated wraps cause I have no poly boxes.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa ISA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    Juhani Lunden it was simply a observation from my few of my poly hives, no proof or science behind the question. I'm a fan of poly hives and simply trying to compare my observations with others to make better management decisions.
    Last edited by hawkeyeegghead; 03-25-2018 at 05:26 AM.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,291

    Default

    Typically when a hive doesn't carry out it's dead it's weak or weather is not warm enough to fly. Anytime dead bees are in the hive it's not a good thing Imo.

    Screen bottoms provide far too much loss of heat and ventilation ,except perhaps for 2 months out of year July August.

    Put a vent at the top and check for moisture buildup on cold days.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    1,436

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    I would have no bottom entrance or flippin pneumonia screened bottom anytime temp is below about sixty at night. Canadians I know wintering in poly boxes have a one inch hole bored in the front of the box just below the hand hold on the upper box. Bees are fantastic ventilators if allowed by the mad engineers. I winter that way in insulated wraps cause I have no poly boxes.
    Vance, is the bottom entrance totally closed off? Just curious. Choke mine down to 1 inch wide by 3/8 high.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,793

    Default Re: Over wintering in polystyrene hives

    MY WRAP covers the bottom entrance. Not sealed but no wind goes in.

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •