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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a newbee to beesource. My name is Pam Lenon, and I am a clinical psychologist working in Queens, NY as the assistant director of a residential treatment facility for emotionally disturbed children. I live in CT where I share beekeeping with my neighbor, of two hives... soon to be four,in the spring!
My husband wants to build insulation jackets for my hives using 2" thick, pink, hard foam insulation planks. He knows that moisture buildup can be a problem, but thinks that several notches in the roof panel edges will suffice. He is not sure if the hives bottom should also be insulated. We would appreciate any thoughts about this effort.
 

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Off topic, I'm a baritone myself. :eek:

In winter the bees heat the cluster (themselves) not the hive. If it was a screened bottom board I would say to change it to solid just to keep drafts out.

The insulation will help in keeping out the wind, but there are mixed results as to if it helps the bees at all. The real problem with insulation is the condensation build up that can drip cold water back onto the bees. Wet bees equals dead bees so if you wrap, make sure you have good ventilation in the top and an opening in the bottom to circulate the air. If you have humid winters (here in Colorado we have dry cold) this is really going to be a problem so I would recommend against it and still have an upper entrance to get rid of moist air.

good luck and welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Alpha, We've built garden style roofs with sheet metal tops. I like your idea of using a top entrance for moisture exit. I do have screened bottoms and will replace those. Since heat retention is not the issue... we'll just use 1" foam board and fill the bottom entrance with pine w/ holes for vents. I'm now thinking of finding some sort of 'rush' like material to line the inner roof ceiling with, that will allow any condensation to follow their tilt and direction off to the edges of the hive. Regards, Pam
 

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As was said, condensation moisture building up inside the top lid of hive is more deadly than the cold temps. From what I've been reading it is good to have at least some small ventilation opening at bottom and another leading out through top of hive. Keeping both ventilation/entrance openings on the front side will avoid having the air flow pass diagonally through the bee cluster on its way through the hive. The goal is not to make the hive airtight.

Many people staple some plain black tarpaper around the hive sides to block the wind and absorb winter sun warmth. That's what I did for this winter. Cut the tarpaper from around the entrance areas.

I put a solid bottom board underneath my screened bottom board instead of replacing it, and i narrow the gap opening between them with a wooden entrance reducer, for air flow. That way mites can still drop through the screen and die.

By the way, before I got my hive, it was out in a field near here with a completely open bottom screen board over 4 winters and the bees did great. I was too scaredy-cat to do that though! ;D
 

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I use 1" insulation for my nucs to overwinter. I tape all the seams and the top where the insulation and the outside of the hive body meet. You can put a board under you screened bottom and close that off again with a bit of insulation. If your worried about moisture you can put a box on top of your inner cover and unsulate that (just put a screen over the hole so the bees don't go up there). Insulating a hive helps but as stated the trick is to keep the moisture out and still have some ventilation.
 

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Pam and hubby,

I incorporate a combination of several of the things mentioned above. My stack consists of: a raised platform consisting of 2X10 boards, screened bottom board, two full hive bodies, a full medium super, inner cover, empty hive body, outer cover. The inner cover has a bee exit on the bottom side and is blocked up at the front two corners with a short piece of a paint paddle for additional air flow. I

I feed my girls 2:1 sugar syrup with an inverted one gallon paint can with about 15 tiny holes punched in the lid and supported on three 3/8 inch thick wooden blocks. The can is centered over the hole in the inner cover and surrounded with a 2 inch thick foam panel resting on top if the inner cover.

The exterior of the stack is covered with 2 inch thick foam panels, wraped with black tarpaper, and tied up high and down low with binder twine. I drilled a downward-outward sloping hole through the foam and tarpaper alligned with the upper bee exit for moisture escape and bee use. The lower entrance is closed down to one inch or less. Version 1.0 of this worked well last winter with some moisture condensation problems. Version 2.0 this year has more ventilation, which still may not be enough. When I add syrup I inadvertantly add more moisture within the hive.

My arrangement sounds similar to what your hubby was proposing. just some more ideas/approaches.

Regards,
Steve
 
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