Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,679 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a few hives that did not build up well during the season due to problems with queens and a long dearth after the spring flow. These hives went into winter with relatively small populations. I added a super of honey to each, so they have plenty of food.

Just to easily determine whether these hives are alive during the winter, I inserted thermometers through the top entrance of the weak hives, as well as a few stronger hives for comparison. The temperature probe is positioned in the top-center of the hives, between the top of the topmost frames and the bottom of the insulated All Season inner cover. The thermometers were $11.50 each on Amazon. On cold days, as long as the bees are alive, they should be generating heat, and the thermometers should register a temperature above the outside temperature.

This morning the temperature was about 5F, and the thermometers showed temps around 33F, give or take a degree or two.

Outside temperature was 20F when I took these photos.




















 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,679 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Very little:

The weakest hive is a 5 frame nuc consisting of two mediums. I would say about 3 full medium frames of bees led by a mid-summer Carniolan queen from Strachan Apiaries. It sits on 2" of rigid foam insulation, and has the same on top under the telescoping cover. It is wrapped with 2 layers of B&B Honey Farm Winter Wrap.

I decided to not wrap the strong hives this year, because I was lazy and curious to see if wrapping is really necessary. The only insulation these strong hives have is 2" of rigid foam in the All Season inner cover.

During the 24 hours that the thermometers have been in place, the nuc has been about 2F warmer than the unwrapped strong hives. Hard to say whether the wrap is helping, considering the small sample size and slight temperature difference.

I didn't start out to do a test of any kind, so I did not equalize the hive setups. I might do so once it warms up a little.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,679 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Will do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
454 Posts
Thank you. I live about an hours drive from my bee yards so I don't see them from mid October until mid March so I appreciate info like this. Gives me an idea of what my hives may be experiencing during the winter without having to make a trip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,625 Posts
Very cool Shinebone, thanks for sharing and please keep us updated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,679 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Just a quick update:

As mentioned in my first post, I installed 4 thermometers into 4 hives. The thermometers are positioned to record the temperature at the top of the hive. 2 hives are big and strong, and unwrapped. 2 hives are small and weak, and are wrapped with insulation.

One of the thermometers in one of the small, weak hives, turns out to be defective. Consequently, for now, only 3 hives can be monitored.

Here are the results from this morning when it was 5F:

31.5F (unwrapped - 8-frames, 1 deep, 2 mediums)
32.7F (unwrapped - 8-frames, 2 deeps)
34.0F (wrapped - 5-frame, 2 mediums)

Hard to draw any conclusions, except that the 3 hives are still alive. Note that the probe portions of the thermometers sit at the very top of the hives, and so the probes in the larger (i.e., taller) hives may be farther away from the cluster than the probes in the smaller hives.

I will soon get more thermometers so I can monitor all 11 of my hives. Also, I won't post temps every day, but will collect up a bunch of days worth of data before posting again. If I can be reasonably consistent in collecting the data (i.e., job, other projects won't interfere too much), I will post weekly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,679 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Some temp info (in Fahrenheit):

Ambient#1#2#3
1937.639.239.4
5.730.629.731.8
4356.161.350.5
11.739.039.439.2
31.147.851.546.9
21.738.739.939.6
49.866.974.861.3
26.248.746.845.0


Added thermometers to more hives (hive #'s don't correlate to the measurements above). The newly added sensors are wireless and connectivity on some of the units comes and goes probably because they are at the limit of their transmission range and so not all units always show a temperature.

Ambient #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11
1017.632.423.827.934.178.3--25.733.3----
17.133.6--41.734.645.1----32.239.4----
928.8--29.732.042.5----28.732.771.237.9





(Made edits as suggest by grozzie2, below, using the "Table" code in the "Advanced" mode)
 

·
Registered
35
Joined
·
2,023 Posts
Some temp info:

ambient, #1, #2, #3
19F, 37.6F, 39.2F, 39.4F
5.7F, 30.6F, 29.7F, 31.8F
...

(Sorry the data is so hard to read. I had set up nice columns, but the forum software deletes multiple spaces and crunches the numbers together.)
Use the code tags to get your formatting to stay in columns, like this


Code:
ambient,      #1,       #2,         #3
19F,           37.6F,    39.2F,    39.4F
5.7F,          30.6F,    29.7F,    31.8F
43F,           56.1F,    61.3F,    50.5F
11.7F,         39.0F,    39.4F,    39.2F
31.1F,         47.8F,    51.5F,    46.9F
21.7F,         38.7F,    39.9F,    39.6F
49.8F,         66.9F,    74.8F,    61.3F
26.2F,         48.7F,    46.8F,    45.0F
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
673 Posts
It is so cool that you are doing this. I had purchased four thermometers with probes as well, and I was going to place the probes strategically in the hives, but the weather turned on me too soon, and I did not want to open the hives to place them. I will install them if we get some kind of a warm break this winter, as my intension was to do the same thing you are doing.

I know the cluster area should be warmest, but the rest of the hive is obviously going to be cooler. I have noticed variables where the cluster is higher in position in some hives than it is in others. I am not certain if that is due to the food sources available, or if there is some other reason. All my hives are wrapped and have 4" breathable quilt boxes on top. There is a 2" spacer under the quilt boxes for candy to set on top of the frames. I do worry about the bees having too much space in which to maintain heat.

I will let you know when I place the thermometers. Let me know if there is anything you find that is pertinent to placing them. A hive should really have about five thermometers to reduce variables and get better measurables. But that will have to wait until next year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
673 Posts
Temps here in Missouri will be dropping into the sub-zero for a couple of days. Very windy today at 14 degrees F. Not sure how much that changes things inside the cluster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,679 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Good question.

Hard to monitor the temperature inside the cluster since the cluster moves around in the hive and you can never be sure exactly where it is at any one time. This is why I simple placed the temperature probe at the top-center of the hive structure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,679 Posts
Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Cut and pasted the larger table from Post #12 and added 3 more lines of data. You can see some of the weaker transmitters came back on line as the warmer ambient temps heated up the batteries. Also, Hive #10, which is the biggest and most active hives in the apiary, seems to be reading too high. I will double check and replace the sensor if necessary, hopefully this weekend.

Ambient
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
#10
#11
10
17.6
32.4
23.8
27.9
34.1
78.3
--
25.7
33.3
--
--
17.1
33.6
--
41.7
34.6
45.1
--
--
32.2
39.4
--
--
9
28.8
--
29.7
32.0
42.5
--
--
28.7
32.7
71.2
37.9

-0.6
16.1
--
18.6
24.9
33.8
--
--
19.8
23.7
79.9
32.5
21.2
37.6
--
32.4
38.5
47.6
--
--
36.2
35.2
73.8
41.2
42.3
62.8
58.1
66.9
64.1
76.8
75.4
--
66.5
55.4
73.6
61.3


Interesting to note that Hive #9 was the smallest and weakest of my dozen hives going into winter. I moved it into a 5-frame nuc and added a medium 5-frame super of honey. It is led by a NW Carniolan queen installed around August. Despite its small cluster size, it seems to be doing just as well as the larger hives in maintaining its internal temperature. "Punching above its weight" I guess.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,679 Posts
Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I replaced the temperature sensor in Hive #10 for the reasons noted in Post #17, above. The new sensor shows the same temps as the previous sensor, indicating that the previous sensor was working correctly and that Hive #10 is just warmer inside than the other hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
673 Posts
Although it is a little late for this winter, I will be installing sensors in seven hives shortly. I am curious if your hive #10 sensor is actually inserted into the cluster itself; or maybe closer to it than the other probes. Just a thought.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top