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Author Topic: Supplemental Heat  (Read 3940 times)
Robo
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« on: October 21, 2007, 05:32:54 PM »

a few folks have asked for pictures of my set-up for using 7W night lights to provide supplemental heat during the winter.

When I use to use SBB,  I would build them with enough space between the screen and the insert to allow for a 1" PVC fixture that I made.

Here is one of the SBB with fixture and insert in place.

Here is a closeup of the fixture, it is just a 1" PVC 'T' and a few straight pieces.  I soldered both lights to a common cord and hot glued the sockets into the pipe.  I also hot glues a piece of metal flashing over the sockets so that wax and other hive debris didn't cause the bulbs to get stuck in the sockets.



Now that I no longer use SBB,  I have even a simpler design.  Two sockets on a common cord hot glues together with a small piece of flashing glues & tie wrapped on.


This just slips under the slatted rack and then the lower entrance is completely closed off.


I provide a small upper entrance for cleansing flights and for moisture to escape.



For less than $3 I have a hive heater. You can probably get away with just one light,  but I prefer 2 so when one goes bad there is still some heat. I don't want to try and pull everything apart in the middle of the winter to replace a bulb. In previous years when I had been using wooded brood boxes,  I had the lights set to come on when the outside temperature fell below 30 degrees.  This year I have switched to polystyrene hives which will hold the heat much better, so I am setting it up to control the lights based upon the internal hive temperature.

The main benefit of the heaters are in February when I turn them on full time.  This really helps them raise more brood as the added heat from the bulbs allows the bees to spread out and cover more brood. The queen moves right down above the bulbs and lays eggs. 
I use my home automation system and X-10 controls to turn them on and off automagically based on the set temperature.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2009, 03:54:50 PM by Robo » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2007, 08:31:12 PM »

A couple questions for you completely unrelated to the lights.

1) Is that blue insulation foam (comes in blue and pink in many dimensions) that forms your top entrance?  Do the bees eat it or is it dense enough to avoid that problem.

2)  How do you like the polysyterne hives?
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Richard Stewart
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Robo
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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2007, 06:54:35 AM »

A couple questions for you completely unrelated to the lights.

1) Is that blue insulation foam (comes in blue and pink in many dimensions) that forms your top entrance?  Do the bees eat it or is it dense enough to avoid that problem.

Yes they will chew it.  I added a entrance tube made out of metal flashing.
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php?topic=11570.msg77371#msg77371

Quote
2)  How do you like the polysyterne hives?

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php?topic=11325.msg77411#msg77411
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2007, 07:55:04 AM »

What are you using to monitor those temps?

Here is what I use to take measurements
hardware ->  Dallas 1-wire DS1820 thermometer.
software -> DigiTemp running on a Linux box.

To turn the lights on/off based on the temperature, I use X-10 home automation hardware controlled by MisterHouse, also running on the Linux box.

Here is an example of the output.  It was from an un-heated nuc in my basement.  I had 3 sensors (top,middle,bottom) between the two middle frames.

« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 07:35:41 AM by Robo » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2007, 09:23:07 AM »

Rob, very impressive work that you have done, wow.  You have an inventive mind and you are a lucky man, I take my hat off to you, yeah!!!!!  Best of this wonderful and greatest of days.  Cindi
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2007, 08:38:00 PM »

I am looking forward to sticking some warming devices under my two outside hives in february...If I can get them nice and productive by spring, I can split them easily after the early flow to keep my beeyard growth going.
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2007, 06:52:55 PM »

Robo

that is way cool for hive temp monitoring. I'm totally impressed. Now all you need is to train the bees to turn on the heat  Wink

kev
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2007, 12:14:25 PM »

Hey Robo --

Thanks for the heating suggestions.  I've looked for terrarium heaters, but only find the flat "under floor" type that don't look like they would stand up to the crud that accumulates in a hive.  Plus I didn't know what size to get.

Some questions on the light bulb setup.  Does the constant light cause the bees to act differently?  When you put the two-lightbulb configuration in, do you arrange the bulbs set perpendicular or parallel to the frames?  Does the heat rising up where the bulbs are cause wax to melt in those spots? Do the bees behave differently with heating, i.e., flying out and freezing on a cold day because they think it's warmer out?  Are two 7 watt bulbs sufficient for a hive with two deeps, wrapped in black paper?

Sorry for all the questions, but last year I lost the bulk of my hives between mid-February and the end of March, because of successive freeze-melt cycles.  I'd love to avoid that again this year.  Smiley  Right now I'm down to three hives, one really strong and two moderately strong.  It was a poor year as it is.

-- Kris


 
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Robo
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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2007, 02:49:39 PM »

Quote
Does the constant light cause the bees to act differently?
Not that I can tell.  In fact,  when I open them up in the early Spring, the queen is laying right down on the bottom of the frames right over the bulbs (warmest spot).
Quote
When you put the two-lightbulb configuration in, do you arrange the bulbs set perpendicular or parallel to the frames?
No particular preference,  I just try to get them somewhat towards the middle of the hive.
Quote
Does the heat rising up where the bulbs are cause wax to melt in those spots?

No, the bulbs don't get hot at all.
Quote
Do the bees behave differently with heating, i.e., flying out and freezing on a cold day because they think it's warmer out?

When I first started,  I put them in tar paper wrapped hives, and there where a few times I think the sun was out bright and they flew when it was too cold.  I no longer wrap, but I think if you just turn them on when it is sub zero it would be OK.   
Quote
Are two 7 watt bulbs sufficient for a hive with two deeps, wrapped in black paper?
I know Finsky uses 15 watt,  so I went with 2-7watt bulbs.  I think 3 might be too much, but don't really know.
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2007, 04:52:32 PM »

.
Well Robo, You have done fine job. You will see a miracle.

Do you have uninsulated hive boxes? It means different kind Watt consuming.
I have simple 10 mm plywood, and under the hive the surface was hand warm. So it depend how much warm leaks from system.


I got excellent knowledge about warm economy of hives when I started to heat hives.
I have seen not much such results in Internet. Canadian  information letters have revieled that they know much about these things.

I know some professional beekeepers here which have done long  this job but they have kept it as professional secret. It give a huge advantage. One professional guy made heaters from glass piece and iron wire. He has 300 hives.

I use in winter 2-3 W.
Big hives needs nothing in winter.

In spring big hives get biggest advantage from heating. First the measure of nursing bees commands the area of brood. This is first brooding month. But when new nursing bees start working , then the temperature of hive command brooding. And of course source of pollen.



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Kris^
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2007, 06:31:24 PM »

Thank you very much for the info!  Hopefully, I'll start the spring with stronger hives this year.

-- Kris
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Robo
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2007, 02:24:59 PM »

.
Well Robo, You have done fine job. You will see a miracle.

Do you have uninsulated hive boxes? It means different kind Watt consuming.

Yes I have seen the light for a few years now thanks to you. (no pun intended) grin  I was too cheap to buy terrarium heaters so came up with the night light version.

Also on your advise,  I broke down and purchased some insulated hives this Spring and am going into my first Winter with them.  I will monitor the heating to make sure they don't get too warm.
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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2007, 02:41:41 PM »

[  I will monitor the heating to make sure they don't get too warm.

Yes, it is really easy. You just lift inner cover and look what they are doing and what kind of ball they have.

.
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« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2007, 07:22:28 PM »

what kind of ball they have.

Finsky,

can you elaborate a little more on this. What might we see in there and what does it mean?

Kev
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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2007, 02:39:28 PM »

what kind of ball they have.

Finsky,

can you elaborate a little more on this. What might we see in there and what does it mean?

Kev

When you open the inner cover. you see, how tight bees are in clutser/ or in ball.  - We say it here winter ball.

It may be loose, tight or widespread. You must yourself think, what is good. You must gather experience.
.
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