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Discussion Starter #1
I was sitting out here looking at all the snow that virtually shut down the entire state of ga..(umm there isnt any) and was wondering about those who live in the colder climates. Do they make a "hive blanket" if you will that is heated? Almost like a heated blanket you could wrap the hive in? I was just curious. There are obviously ups and downs with it, but i thought it would be cool if you could(and i can) take a thermister and make it to where you could regulate the temp of the hive body.....I think i read, ideally temps at around 40 degrees? With it turning off and on, it would melt the snow as well....

Has this been done?
 

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i dont want to give my bees another crutch. if thay cant make it through the winter because of cold(not disease or starvation) than i dont want to have them. i have read a study where a colony of bees was left in a freezer at -60 and thay survived
 

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-60 for 30 days....and they survived. George Imirie's "Pink Pages".
 

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I am with 11x.

Plus, I would need a LONG extension cord (one at least 15 miles long) for some of my hives.

Also, snow is an insulator. Once it buries a hive, you don't want it unburied until spring (except maybe to clear an upper entrance).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
i was just wondering. I am not wanting to crutch them, thats for sure. I read the pink pages as well, and I believe it. There has been some people asking baout different insultions and such, so I was just curious
 

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lot of good stuff in those pink pages. expecialy the part about needing the queen to lay 40 days before the nectar flow starts.
 

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devdog,
Cold doesn't kill bees. I'm sure that if you got a cluster of bees down to the right temperature it would, so maybe i should have written, usually normal temperatures don't kill bees. What kills bees during the winter is lack of ventilation and lack of honey stores, not to mention other stressors such as diseases and pests.

Your question has come up before, earlier this season. Imagine how impractical such a venture would be for those of us who have hundreds of colonies. But, not only is it not cost effective, it ain't necassary.

(Of what words are "ain't" a contraction?)
 

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I have heard of people using a low wattage light bulb with a thermostat control placed in a hive to provide a small supplemental source of heat.

It might be worthwhile if you have a pile of nucs stacked around a light bulb. But I doubt it would be worth the hassle to try heating many hives at once this way. If you want to heat many hives at once, do it like they do in Canada - in a building with vents to control heat/humidity.
 

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Ok up here in the great Pacific North west I do not wrap my hives I provide a wind break of straw bails I keep my sbb open unless it really dips down. out side of that in jan I feed dry sugar. no problems. I also feed heavy in the fall too
 

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a question to really ask is what do ferral bees do in the winter?
I'm glad to see you thinking this way. Keep it up.

By the way, they cluster, they get close together and keep each other warm. A colony of bees is, sort of, an organism.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
There are many great insulators out there as we all know up to and including snow, but I was reading that if bees are kept at 40 deg F, that they use their stores optimally. I would be interested in somehting that could do that....but thats just me. More than anything, it would have to be VERY cost eff....
 

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I just make sure my bees have all the food I can give them then let nature take over to day the temp was 55 deg and my bees were out flying and enjoying the sun.
 

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Most beeks around here don't insulate there bees but I have tried something this year on 2 hives but it is to early to see the results. I put styrfoam on the nort side of the hives. holding it on with bungi cord.Also put bales of straw on the north side of all of the hives. I only got 5. Anxious to see what the effects of the stryfoam will be
 

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I see where you are coming from honeydreams....
 

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I feed em up good before cold weather. then I do a couple of things first I put an empty med under the 2 brood boxes to give a dead air space below the cluster and try to get the cluster up away from the colder air and drafts. then I wrap the hive with 30 lb. black roofing felt to provide a windbreak.
Last year we had a couple of nights of -35 or below. and all my hives came through. this year so far we have had several nights below -10.
Beyond that, hope for the best and wait till warm weather to see how they did.
 

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I'm in my 3rd year of beekeeping so I'm still learning a LOT. The first year, I wrapped according to this article, and my bees came through winter very very strong, although there was some mold in the hives...not enough ventilation. (Wrapping with 15 lb. tar paper will block the wind and help to gather solar energy.)

http://www.beeworks.com/informationcentre/wintering.html

Last year, based on some bad advice from a well intentioned bee keeper, I didn't wrap my hives, and they didn't come through winter so well at all. A few starved out and the ones that didn't starve were really weak. Of course there was no mold in the hives, but there were hardly any bees either.

This year, I've wrapped with tar paper again, added better ventilation, and i'm expecting the best.

I'm continually amazed that this freezing cold weather doesn't usually kill the bees, but so far I've only lost hives in winter from starvation. This year I'm feeding bee candy as an insurance policy because we had such a remarkably bad year for honey, region-wide.
 

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Last year, based on some bad advice from a well intentioned bee keeper, I didn't wrap my hives, and they didn't come through winter so well at all. A few starved out and the ones that didn't starve were really weak. Of course there was no mold in the hives, but there were hardly any bees either
So I what did you do diffrent? I live a very wet and cold area i never wrap my hives. I just make sure they have enough stores to last the winter. If I have any thought they might need food I will do 10 pounds of dry sugar in jan just to keep them till march. So please tell me the bad advice so I may learn as well.
 
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