Question about snow cover in relation to hive entrance
Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Canton, Ohio
    Posts
    15

    Default Question about snow cover in relation to hive entrance

    How much does it have to snow before I need to clean out around the hive entrance? I have a screened bottom board, with an upper entrance and a quilt box with 6 ventilation holes. I read snow can restrict ventilation and should be cleared away. We just got 2-3 inches of snow yesterday. My hives are located off property about a half hour away. Do I have enough ventilation that I can let the snow melt off in the next day or so? Temps are going to get above freezing later today and tomorrow. How heavy does it have to snow to affect the hives even with the other ventilation measures I have taken so far? As of last week both hives are still hanging in there so I don't want to do the wrong thing! Thank you.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,845

    Default Re: Question about snow cover in relation to hive entrance

    With your configuration I would think snow might be a blessing except for the bees need to fly every three or four months. With your header giving no indication where you keep bees, It is hard to give advice. My bees have one mid level winter entrance and they ventilate their living space well. In my experience, snow covering a hive causes absolutely no harm and is an excellent insulation. I consider your hive setup an example of dangerous over ventilation, but if it works for you, that is all you need to worry about.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Canton, Ohio
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Question about snow cover in relation to hive entrance

    This is my first winter for beekeeping. I am in Northeast Ohio, zone 6a. I did not realize that the hive could be over-ventilated. I will not worry about the snow cover. The quilt box and candy board I built according to what I thought was a widely accepted design. Maybe they included too many holes for ventilation. I guess at this point I will just roll with it and hope the bees don't end up dead. Keeping my fingers crossed...

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,168

    Default Re: Question about snow cover in relation to hive entrance

    I rarely worry about snow cover unless we've experienced heavy drifting. That's only happened twice with me and I really mean heavy drifting. Think of drifting to the point that the line of hives just looked like a wall of snow. In both those cases the snow was pretty light and after a couple of days I managed to walk out there and get most of the snowdrift shoveled down so that the entrance was visible. They still looked like they were in a tunnel but about a week after that things looked fairly normal again. I agree with Vance G in that a good cover is good insulation. Here in NE though, as it gets to maple syrup time, a heavy snow pack can melt down and get icy and I prefer the tops and entrances to be fairly clear by then.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,188

    Default Re: Question about snow cover in relation to hive entrance

    I remember a winter when the snow was above waist high. The hives...three boxes...were buried. And, I mean buried. In mid-March there was going to be cleansing flight weather, so we decided to dig out the hives. Hiking out the the apiaries on snowshoes, we get to the first apiary...wtf...where are they? I knew I was in the correct place. I know the trees and landmarks. Still, couldn't find the hives until I began poking down through the snow with my long handled shovel. Dug trenches in front of the rows of hives. What did I see? An area melted around the hives creating a cavity. And a chimney melted up through the snow from the upper entrance to the surface. The bees didn't use the chimneys for flight, but surely there was enough ventilation.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Stevens Point, WI
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Question about snow cover in relation to hive entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I remember a winter when the snow was above waist high. The hives...three boxes...were buried. And, I mean buried. In mid-March there was going to be cleansing flight weather, so we decided to dig out the hives. Hiking out the the apiaries on snowshoes, we get to the first apiary...wtf...where are they? I knew I was in the correct place. I know the trees and landmarks. Still, couldn't find the hives until I began poking down through the snow with my long handled shovel. Dug trenches in front of the rows of hives. What did I see? An area melted around the hives creating a cavity. And a chimney melted up through the snow from the upper entrance to the surface. The bees didn't use the chimneys for flight, but surely there was enough ventilation.
    i remember you telling that story in one of your Honey Show lectures.....I remember snowfalls like that back in the 70's...or maybe I was just shorter?
    Help is here to never misplace that hive tool again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvwlSiOzgOU

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,845

    Default Re: Question about snow cover in relation to hive entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I remember a winter when the snow was above waist high. The hives...three boxes...were buried. And, I mean buried. In mid-March there was going to be cleansing flight weather, so we decided to dig out the hives. Hiking out the the apiaries on snowshoes, we get to the first apiary...wtf...where are they? I knew I was in the correct place. I know the trees and landmarks. Still, couldn't find the hives until I began poking down through the snow with my long handled shovel. Dug trenches in front of the rows of hives. What did I see? An area melted around the hives creating a cavity. And a chimney melted up through the snow from the upper entrance to the surface. The bees didn't use the chimneys for flight, but surely there was enough ventilation.
    In the seventies in North Dakota when I knew nothing about wintering and was told to just kill them and restock, I wintered by putting 24 hives in a back to back, shoulder to shoulder configuration on the east/ lee of the wind side of caragana or lilac hedges. The snow would be several feet over the hives and in April the top of the snow cave would cave in and tornadoes of bees would emerge. I never worried about snow cover again and welcome it when it comes.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,793

    Default Re: Question about snow cover in relation to hive entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    I never worried about snow cover again and welcome it when it comes.
    I know some beekeepers in Saskatchewan, when the snow arrives they get busy shovelling, onto the hives. They bury them, say the snow is good insulation for the winter.

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
  •