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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From what I have been reading about bees and cold weather, I know this is realistically a non-issue unless the colony is very small. But, as a hobbyist beekeeper only, I am consider giving it a try.... I would like to consider building 2 deep brood boxes that are insulated using the styrofoam type sheet insulation by gluing it to the inner portion of the brood box. The box would be the standard Lang type box, which would require slightly modified brood frames and utilizing only 8 frames / box.
My question is this... As supers are added to the top brood box, the alignment of the frames in the brood box and the frames in the 10 frames in the super will be way off. Does this have any detremental affects?
Seems like it would keep the hive warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Anyone ever tired anything like this before?
 

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If you are planning, as you say, to install the styrofoam onto the inside walls of the supers, you will need to be prepared to coat them with something that will protect them from being nibbled to dust by the bees.

I have tried coating them with a thick layer of various paints - but paints only seem to slow down the nibbling. What has worked, is aluminum tape. But, aluminum tape may defeat the purpose of the foam, by conducting heat away from the bees. Other materials and methods may also work, please let us know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was thinking about the foil backed type that comes in a 4 x 8 sheet like is used in house construction, with the foil part facing the inside and the white styrofoam part glued to the inside of the box.
It appears you have tried this... other than the bees nibbling on it, did it seem to help enough to make it worth the trouble? What about the frame placement and the mis-allignment with the upper super frames?
 

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Thought about this too. But I'd like to a), not damage or modify my existing hive bodies; 2), not trap moisture in the hive in winter; and c), allow it to be removable for the summer if wanted.

So how about rather than lining your supers with the sheet foam, how about making a shell for each super - the same height as the super, but with inside dimensions 2" larger than the outside of your regular supers (assuming you're using 1" styrofoam insulation). Then these "sleeves" (wood or plywood outside, foam inside) slide over the existing regular boxes.
 

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I have done much like Mark in Kansas proposes. My stack consists of: a partially blocked off SBB, two deep supers, two medium supers with Fall honey, two "paint paddle thick" blocks or spacers on each of the front two corners, a notched on the front inner cover, a deep super with two more paint paddle blocks on top in the front, and then the outer cover. The upper deep super contains an inverted gallon paint can feeder full of 2:1 syrup and is surrounded with a 2 inch thick piece of foam resting on the inner cover.

All four exterior sides of the stack are surrounded bottom to top with 2 inch thick foam to which I have glued black tarpaper. The foam is tied in place two places with binder twine. There is a cutout for the lower entry and a downward sloping hole drilled through the foam aligning with the upper entry cutout in the inner cover.

I made a quick inspection yesterday when the sun was out and the temperature was 50+. I added fondant and a bit more syrup at that time. There was no moisture or mold and the girls looked good and healthy.
 

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There was a recent post from someone from Manitoba describing their method - and these were just 2-frame nucs and they had essentially 100% success. Sorry I can't provide the link (lazy), but unless under those weather conditions, not sure would waste the energy.

MB deals with as bad of conditions as most of us - I would check his website out, or ask him directly, as he is on this thread.

I have to believe that it is much more the health of the bees than anything else, but that gets into subjects that can get you into nothing but trouble - just ask MP and little "t".

Bees survive (for very limited periods) up to -90 - or so the story goes. Keeping them dry and providing the right ventillation for your situation is well within most of our situations with what we already have and are doing.

Have a bountiful year
 

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Why not wrap them in Roofing felt insulated with sawdust? You can get sawdust real cheap just about anywhere and it will help soak up moisture and keep the hives dry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The photo posted by RD-Y is more what I was thinking about. I'm not trying to get ideas of how to insulate a hive for winter. Was more interested about a permanent insulated hive; since I am just a hobbyist the additional cost factor for a couple of hives isn't that big of an issue. Thanks for all the suggestions...
 

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Everybody in Finland uses double wall hive bodies, with a lot of attention to upward ventilation. Record snowfall in Southern Finland this year, over 2 meters (app. 6'). More insulation but later if it melts and then freezes there is thick ice all over everything.
 

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Extra insulation in Oklahoma? I wouldn't think it would be worth your time or cost, even if it took almost no time or cost. I kept bees in northern Kansas for several years. The winters there were never cold enough to warrant extra insulation. My bees have been doing quite well here in South Dakota without any extra insulation or wrapping for the winters. My recommendation would be keep everything as standard and simple to obtain as possible. Having completely interchangeable components is worth extra time or trouble, no matter where you are.
 

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I have used stryfoam on the outside of my hives but don't know the results. Still to cold. I cut it and it stays in place with bunji cord.
 

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I have used stryfoam on the outside of my hives but don't know the results. Still to cold. I cut it and it stays in place with bunji cord.
Merlyn...Similarly, I know a full time beekeeper in southern NH who has good success with putting 2" foil coated insulation board on 3 sides & top, leaving the front (south) uncovered. He holds them in place with large rubber bands made from strips of truck tire inner tube. He never paints his hives, so they've gotten dark which gives solar gain to the front sides.

Good luck with wintering your bees.
 
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