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Discussion Starter #1
To be filed under "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing", or "If a little is good, more must be better" - or rather, I hope not.

Bees arrive from Fairbanks today! Yikes!

One of many questions: somehow, the two hives I ordered arrived with neither inner nor outer covers. Now, inasmuch as our bees will be living in an extremely controlled environment - it must be that way, as, for example, we still have 20 inches of snow on the ground (April 16) - an outer cover isn't necessary. I have created a bear-proof, mouse-proof and weather-proof, thermostatically controlled, highly insulated and ventilated room for them.

But of course I had to manufacture inner covers. So I used some nice scrap t&g and now have two tight-fitting lids; 3/16" proud of the frame tops.

And herein the experiment/innovation. I had read standard inner covers have a rather small ventilation notch in them. I also have read that of prime importance in hives is air circulation and venting, in order to remove CO2 from the critters and H20 from all that nectar being reduced to honey (and for the moment, from all that sugar water we'll be feeding them).

More must be better, I reasoned. So my covers have a much larger 12" x 4 1/2" wire-screened opening, instead. Lots more venting, and this also will allow me to look down at least to the tops of the frames - and on the pollen patty I'll place atop them - for some inspection w/o opening.

Now, as the room's air will remain at the temps I control, and as the room either will be pitch-black or red-lighted, can anyone tell me that I have made a mistake in creating such a large vent?

By the way: no "bee hole" in my inner cover! Bees don't need to be inside the room..other than inside their hive!
 

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I don't think that would be too much, unless you're also using screened bottom boards. Even then, that's not a huge hole.
 

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I was a big ventilation proponent until I lost a bunch of bees. I can tell you a few bits of advice. Bees like to control their environment. If you keep them in a heated room, they are going to think that they can fly, and they will fly outside and die. When it's winter, they need cold. It's time for them to huddle-up and hunker-down. Also, do a little research on the importance of temperature in the hive. There is temp for comb building, brood production, flying, etc. Trying to control this usually backfires. Bees are very adaptive. Use local bees if possible. Best of luck!
 

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I've read its very hard to over winter bees in Alaska. I read one article that beekeepers start new packages every spring.
Some northern commercial beek's winter bees in potato barns with large fans for ventilation. I suspect you're on the right track for Alaska.

Look into the right temp for the room. Someone here must know.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
"Enough is a good thing" ... gotta love that!

Thank you for the responses. I'll relate that one of the depressing sights I have seen in my very very limited bee-research was of frame after frame after box after box of mildewed or moldy dead bees - done in by too much moisture.

I'm probably taking that harder than one should, but it's those first impressions in any new venture that can really strike home.

HBH: the bees will not be wintered in a warm room - during our looong winters I will be keeping the bee room at +38-40ºF.
 
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