Is it time to take insulation off of my hives - Page 2
Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 21 to 35 of 35
  1. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
    Posts
    1,167

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    Quote Originally Posted by ny12569 View Post
    I am in Dutchess county New York about 15 mies east of the Hudson River. I wrapped my hives with high r board 1/2 insulation in November. All hives (6) appear to have made it through the winter and have consumed all 16 lbs of sugar patty that was placed on before I insulated them. I recently added 5 lbs of hard sugar patty to each hive since I felt was to early to start syrup. My question is at what point should I take insulation off 2 hives are extremely robust and I am afraid as soon as drones are present they will swarm. I have a feeling the warm hives might have started a population increase earlier than I was expecting, I also think that might have accounted for the amount of sugar they are consuming. Any thoughts are most appreciated.
    If you are looking for opinions , mine would be leave the insulation on as long as you can.
    the cool nights can chill the brood. they currently are "used to the insulation" by removing it you are creating change.
    IMO the insulation did not cause the sugar to be eaten, the hives lack of honeys stores did.
    Robust is good, why try to dampen it. 1000 years ago in a tree, the 3-5 inches of wood...... did not get taken down to 1 inch for the "summer" Me Thinks you are over thinking it.
    GG

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
    Posts
    397

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    LJ, "It's not an issue of physics at all - it's an issue of biology."

    let's see if we can clarify the first issue, physics and biology relationship. I found this as the best description of how I interpret the relationship:

    " Physics : study of matter and its motion and behavior through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force. ... So in order to understand other branches of science, its necessary to have a good understanding of physics first because its fundamental and is the science of everything."

    That said I have to claroify the meaning of "they're poikilothermic" for myself because I think of it as non-heat producing but honeybees do produce heat by metabolic functions and induced heat prodcution by muscular contraction, wing muscles. Honey bees do die form being cold. If memory serves me right at a 50F body temperature they die in 40 hours.

    Now, dropping "anthropomorphism" - I have to work on that one - word comprehension is one of my great weaknesses. But my picking on the "one line" is grounded in the fact I think the statement is critical to hive design - in a negative and misleading way. It is like the common denominator for all answers i get relative to honey bees and caring for them that are not physics based but anecdotal.

  4. #23
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,499

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    I think we all use analogies to help explain our hypotheses about what we observe. Sometimes they are quite accurate parallels and sometimes not. They can be cherry picked to suggest proof of concept for something that should clearly be stated as opinion.

    Anthropomorphism is sometimes comical in the conclusions it attempts to support. I am more familiar about how it is misatributed to horses instinctive behavior than that of bees.

    There are so many possible local variables affecting the wintering of bees that it would make a comprehensive, one size fits all prescription very difficult. Hard to design something that would automatically compensate for the variability without also becoming too complicated or impractical in other ways.
    Last edited by crofter; 03-31-2020 at 06:01 AM.
    Frank

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    " Physics : study of matter and its motion and behavior through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force. ... So in order to understand other branches of science, its necessary to have a good understanding of physics first because its fundamental and is the science of everything."
    The science of everything - wow - that's a bit grandiose ! You could equally say exactly the same of chemistry ... I think it would have been far better to have started-off with "the study of inanimate matter, etc."

    There are times I feel extremely sorry for physicists, for their discipline is similar to mathematics in that both attempt to impose precision upon that which they examine. But when physicists encounter the world that I know, the world of living things, the imposition of precision becomes an illusion. There are more variables in biological systems than you can shake a stick at, and yet scientists will persist in conducting single-variable experiments and will persist in continuing with single-variable thinking, which may well be appropriate to abstract inanimate studies, but which fail to embrace the complexity of the biological world.

    "Poikilothermic" - in essence 'cold-bloodedness' - specifically, the inability of an organism to regulate and thus maintain it's body temperature.
    In humans, body temperature is maintained with uncanny precision - to within (say) half a degree or so either side of 98.4 F - more than 2 or 3 degrees away from that temperature and you're in trouble - much more than that, and you're dead.
    It's quite true that the honey-bee can produce heat by muscular action, and can remove it by flapping it's wings - but that's not the same as regulating temperature in the homeostatic sense - which it can't do - for the bee has no system for doing that. That's precisely why honey-bees cluster - because in that form they are able to regulate temperature - one of many reasons why biologists have come to view the honeybee colony as being a 'super-organism' - because in that amassed form the colony behaves in a manner approximate to that of a much larger and complex higher organism, such as a mammal.

    "Anthropomorphism" - there's no way in which a human being can appreciate the world in which honey-bees inhabit. It's impossible - hence my dismissive comments about 'empathy'. Empathic Understanding is one of the three pillars which support the ideology of Carl Rogers and his followers. For sure it is one of the better psychotherapies, but at it's core it's based upon a confidence trick - well-intentioned, of course - but a confidence trick nevertheless.
    The trick works by the therapist paraphrasing back to the client the words which the client has just spoken - that creates the illusion that the therapist actually understands the event or experience that the client is talking about - whereas in reality all that the therapist has understood is the words themselves. This illusion generates confidence in the client that the therapist has an ability to relate to their particular experience - and thus develops within them the feeling of 'a kindred spirit'.

    I used to explain this to my students by referring to events in the trenches of the First World War. No matter how many films you watch, or how many descriptions of life in those trenches, you will NEVER even begin to experience those events themselves - not just the horrific physical conditions: the deafening noise, or the sleepless nights, or the unspeakable filth - but the experience of not knowing whether or not the very next second might be your last here on earth. Only those that were there can posssibly know 'what it was like'. Likewise being depth-charged inside a WWII submarine, likewise the conditions on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Which is why so many soldiers never talk about their wartime experiences - because words are totally inadequate to share such extreme experiences with non-combatants.

    Fast-forward to the present day, and it's only ex-drug addicts who can successfully relate to, and help, existing drug addicts - and only 'former' alcoholics who are in a position to help other alcoholics.

    So - bearing the above in mind, how on earth can any human being know 'what it is like' to be a bee ? It's impossible.

    So - we're got ourselves a little problem here - if we can't experience life as a bee, how are we best able to judge what they need, and what is good for them ? One approach is to observe how bees behave 'in the wild', and try our best to mirror those conditions.

    It is like the common denominator for all answers I get relative to honey bees and caring for them that are not physics based but anecdotal.
    But anecdotal is experience-based - from the recorded experiences of those who have gone before us over the last couple of hundred years. We can now try-out what our forefathers learned, and now see for ourselves - the modern-day buzz-word for which is 'experiential learning' - learning by first-hand experience.

    I'd much rather rely on proven historical experiences than some untested physics-based theory. There's one British bloke in particular who has written papers about physics issues regarding honey-bees and yet has next to zero knowledge of biology. This self-appointed expert established his views long before keeping a single bee (it's his wife who is the beekeeper of the family), but has since started to keep a few colonies in order to 'prove' his pre-determined ideas. To attempt to prove a pre-determined theory in this way is not science as I understand it.

    Charles Dadant put this rather well when he wrote: "With us, the theory follows the practice and does not precede it. It seems to us a much safer way than to have the theory first, and the practice afterwards."
    'best,
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Decorah, Iowa USA
    Posts
    272

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    Robert- extremely enthusiastic about your experiment with insulating sides of hives. I just wish you had the results now- I get impatient. I believe crofter's losses with his experiment may have come from his opening being at the bottom instead of in the middle of the hive into the brood nest like a natural condensing hive should be.
    I keep insulation on the cover all year but manipulations for OTS make insulation on sidewalls a pain or I would, and I've moved all my entrances up to the second box with direct access to the brood nest.
    Please keep us informed
    Jerry

  7. #26
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,499

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    I just came in from opening up one of my colonies that has had very little activity at entrances. Bees on 5 frames and eggs. They appear to be working down into the lower box also. At least 4 frames capped untouched honey and very little of the dry frame top feed was used. I doubt they used 10 lbs stores from end of Oct. to now. This particular queen has at least two winters behind her. She is small and almost black. One I raised. She was the only survivor of previous winters experiment with bottom entrance only on double deep hives. They definitely got snowed and iced in several times.

    I had at least 2 inches foam insulation 2 sides and rear of hives and 4 inches on top last winter. Similar this winter but top insulation was in the form of a medium hive body screened bottom and filled with loose planer shavings. A feed rim is atop the upper brood box. These rims had exits / vent holes the size of the first joint of your little finger. Similar size hole central on upper brood box and a 3/8 X 3" entrance under lower brood. Fronts of hives had single layer of aluminized bubble wrap on fronts with South exposure. My visualisation is that cooler front side provided a condensation point. There appeared to have been very little flying out and diving in the snow. I ponder whether that occurance when observed might be an indicator of looking for water or a high Nosema load. No hard data; pure speculation and I suspect this is the usual state of affairs with the majority of small beekeepers.

    I follow the no upper entrance or ventilation theme with skeptical interest. I will have to see data for single deep as well as stacked up multiple boxes. What might work on a shallow aspect ratio might not prove adequate on a tall one. The dynamics could be quite different too for a relatively small cluster colony compared to one considered large. Different genetics could skew the game. It is little wonder that there is endless discussion and theorizing about this aspect of beekeeping.

    Etienne Tardif on Bee_L is doing some interesting and detailed experimenting with keeping bees above the 60th Parallel.

    The importance of insulation is not questioned there and even to a surprisingly long way to the South as well.
    Frank

  8. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    272

    Default

    I am a bit north of you. I aim to add a piece of 2 inch rigid foam on top around thanksgiving. I don't always get one on all of them.... I aim to leave them on until dandelion bloom at least. I don't want to change much until the temps stabilize and are warmer. The bees base the amount of brood they have on what they think they can keep warm. Reducing insulation early would wind up with chilled brood. I have upper entrances for ventilation. I have started closing them as there is little risk of condensation freezing on inner cover now.
    You mentioned walk away splits. I would not recommend that, especially not early. If you have too many colonies to be more detailed and they are far from home, walk aways can be fine. I would not do that much before expected swarm season. You are better off giving them space above when they have filled brood nest well. If you want honey, walk away will cost you most of your crop. If you want increase, control swarming until late swarm season and then split. You can get 4 - 10 colonies at that point. Last spring I was too busy to keep ahead. I had 2 colonies swarm in an out yard 5 days apart. When I got to that yard queens were about to emerge from the colony that swarmed earlier. Since the honey crop from those colonies just flew away I split them both into 18 colonies. After splitting there was a super of surplus honey (no sugar used). Imagine how many I could have done if I still had those swarms.... With walk aways you only get 2....

  9. #28

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    Quote Originally Posted by ny12569 View Post
    I am planning on taking mine off mid April and doing walk away splits in two hive . Let me know how it goes keeping the insulation on
    I have taken my wraps off. Watch how your hives build up, don't split until you have at least 6 frames of brood. I have started my splits this past week and I am in Ulster County, across the river from you.

  10. #29
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
    Posts
    397

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    LJ, I wish I had read this before making some other comments. Thanks for taking the time to explain. I will also re-read it - not that I agree with all you wrote. I will make no comment about empathy as I realize I do not really understand the word. I can somewhat relate to your war comments. But when it comes to physics, in particular applied physics my philosophy is find the problems and fix them not just theoretical modeling. Those who promote the "get it right the first time" really do not do much, if anything. Those who create ideas, theoretical ideas, which are proven later, are unique. I am not a follower of Dadant.

    I cannot be a bee although I try to understand both a single honey bees' life and in particular a colonies function. If you "listen" to the colony via sensors, make changes and observe resulting colony behavior and data, you do get a "clue" as too what is good or what you did wrong. I have self-taught my whole life and not about to quit now. In the end defining or understanding living needs of any animal in this mush of matter requires a good physical understanding, experience and theoretical ideas to explore. The only ones who do not make mistakes are those who do not do anything.

    I started this effort with a long background in applied physics, specifically design, development and test of electro-mechanical systems in severe environments. I have kept bees for 5 years and I am just learning to ask questions about hive design - an inanimate object with defineable material properties. I have worked on defining the living variables of a colony in a crude way via crude sensor data, observations and applied physics; watched the interactions and results of change. Somehow I think I am learning to empathize with our environment , this thin, fluidic film we live in which exists, somehow, between hard matter and a vacuum.

    I also like theoretical physics, it stokes the imagination. It seems you opinion of Mitchell ( I assume it's him) matches M. Palmers', a Vermont beekeeper - you two have a discussion once? I like his work and modeling efforts. It provides logical support to my observations and adds to my thought process. Fortunately or unfortunately I now have to upscale my test capabilities to advance my hive enclosure design efforts to get my matter arrangement inline with a colonies needs for my environmental conditions, inanimate and animate conditions.

    Homeostasis - do the defined parameters vary with varying temporal needs of a colony? Or Forever fixed like a physics constant / definition?

  11. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
    Posts
    397

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    Frank, I started down this path in fear of my logic would be painfully wrong. I had problems, observed condensation, mold, wet stuff but no dead bees. One event looked like a mysterious dehumidifier was at work (gotta recreate that one sometime). But i saw positive signs, especially when I applied intensive care to saving small clusters. I am now pleasantly surprised by this past winters' experiences and results. It is only one winter with nine hives but it is promising, IMO, - more to learn as Spring goes into summer.

  12. #31
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,510

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    Very interesting discussion gentlemen. J

  13. #32
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,499

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    A lot of different inputs and effects at work on this problem. Certainly not a problem with only one or two unknowns. Not a solid state problem either; the standard condition is shifting inputs, sometimes complementing sometimes cancelling. From one climate to another the relative importance of the separate factors can change drastically.

    Much of beekeeping knowledge or lore has been derived empirically and the explanations of why are commonly analogical rather than factual; probably the way a majority of people prefer to understand. Other people seek to comprehend by examining the detail of the separate physical inputs and probably constantly confront any analogical explanations. They would be quick to push back against any attempt to be authorative based on subjective analyses. They would use the term "Simplistic solutions to complex problems"

    It takes a lot of methodical testing to validate an observation and there can still be argument about why it was so. Sometimes I think it only takes a bit more "In my humble opinion" attached to the position in order to enhance its acceptance.

    Survival yes or no is only one aspect and has to also meet requirements of cost effectiveness and practicality. We all have different ways of measuring this. Some will also throw in anthropomorphic allusions, to the great disgust of others! I think you have a ways to go before you declare "mission accomplished" on this one.
    Frank

  14. #33
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suffolk Co, NY, USA
    Posts
    3,745

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    Quote Originally Posted by MJC417 View Post
    I don't wrap or insulate and my nucs will need to be split soon.
    Same here. No wrap or insulation but do use a homasote board for IC during winter. Pull it off in early spring so the bees can
    capture the condensation on the roof.

  15. #34
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Indiana, Clay County
    Posts
    741

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    I took of my inside the hive insulation last week but left up the straw bales that block the wind. I look for night time temps be be closer to 40 degrees and daytime temps near 60 before I do this.
    YMMV

    regards
    Brad
    Dad always said " Smart like tractor, strong like bull "

  16. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Pleasant Valley NY
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Is it time to take insulation off of my hives

    thank you all for the very differing and interesting replies

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

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
  •