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Author Topic: Wrapping hives in the Pacific Northwest  (Read 1776 times)
Sean Kelly
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« on: September 01, 2007, 07:48:27 AM »

I was told by the folks at Trees N' Bees in Auburn, Wa that here in the Pacific Northwest we don't really need to wrap the hives in the winter.  How true is this?  Anybody here in the Puget Sound area wrap their hives?  Usually winter temps never drop below the 30's (even at night) but last winter we got hit pretty hard in the low teens.  Just wanna make sure they stay warm.  smiley  Thoughts?

Sean Kelly
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2007, 08:16:18 AM »

>I was told by the folks at Trees N' Bees in Auburn, Wa that here in the Pacific Northwest we don't really need to wrap the hives in the winter.  How true is this?

I've lived and had bees where the temps occasionally hit -40 F and I've only wrapped once as an experiment.  I didn't like all the condensation.  I haven't done it since.

I had bees in Western Nebraska, the mountains of Eastern Wyoming, the foothills of the Colorado Rockies and here in Eastern Nebraska.  All of those places hit sub zero most every winter for as long as a month or two or as short as a day or two.  In Laramie, when it warmed up to -10 F we thought it was a heat wave.
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Michael Bush
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Cindi
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2007, 11:39:24 AM »

Sean, we are indeed in the PNW, you are reasonably close to where I live (reasonably).  Do not wrap your hives.  It is not needed, not even in your wildest dreams.  Bees can live in -35 degree weather, easily, they simply cluster more tightly.  That is pretty cold.

The problem also with keeping the bees too warm is that they might think it really warm outside.  Venture outside only to find out that their life will be over because they get so chilled they can't fly.  The cannot fly if their body temperature becomes too low.  Don't wrap.  Provide upper ventilation for sure, like the slot in the inner cover at the front.  An entrance reducer with the small opening used is what you should alslo be using.  They need some opening at the bottom to allow air in, and one in the top cover to release the moisture the hive creates.  Important.  This is what we do in our Pacific Northwest.  Best of this beautiful day, and have a great day too.  Cindi
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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2007, 05:18:36 PM »

Awesome guys!  Looks like I wont be wrapping my hives.  smiley

Sean Kelly
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the kid
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2007, 02:17:44 AM »

 MB  ,,,  now you say that you don't  wrap,,  do you close the sbb or have it open  Huh?
last year I wraped wrong and had a wet hive ... this year we have more hives so I want to do it right..
and not lose hives.
the kid
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2007, 09:45:42 PM »

>do you close the sbb or have it open

I have a tray in it.  I also have top entrances so condensation can get out.  I sometimes put styrofoam on top of the lids to cut down on condensation on the lid as well.
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Michael Bush
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2007, 12:20:53 AM »

I don't wrap, never have, and I don't close to SBB either.  I leave the bottoms open.  I live about 1/2 way between Cindi and Sean.  The worst problem I have is high winds coming down off the Frazier River or up the San Juan Straits.  Vancouver Island aims both of those winds right at me.
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Cindi
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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2007, 02:24:36 AM »

Brian, the Mighty Fraser runs cold and deep.....wonderful day, best of this life. Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
Sean Kelly
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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2007, 05:11:10 PM »

Brian,

Why leave the SBB open?  Now I'm really confused.  lol.  It get's really windy up here on the Buckley Plateau in the winter too coming off the side of Mt. Rainier.

Sean Kelly
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"My son,  eat  thou honey,  because it is good;  and the honeycomb,  which is sweet  to thy taste"          - Proverbs 24:13
annette
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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2007, 06:48:43 PM »

Sean

They are telling you not to close up the SBB. It is not necessary to worry about anything, including windy conditions.

Just leave it open, provide upper ventilation and you will be fine.

Take care
Annette
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kathyp
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2007, 07:02:55 PM »

sean, i don't wrap, but i close up the bottom, put on an entrance reducer and leave only a small hole near the top for moisture reduction.  my days are usually in the 40's or lower and nights below 30.  we get the occasional warm day and then i might open up a bit if i see them flying.  i'll pull the bottom cover out and maybe crack the top a little bit.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2007, 08:35:36 PM »

>Why leave the SBB open?  Now I'm really confused.  lol.

I'm sure it depends on many things including how high off the ground the bottom is.  Mine are only 3 1/2" off the ground and right up against each other, so there's not much draft.  But I still close mine because we usually get some -15 F or so for a week or two most winters and we get 60 mph winds.

As warm as it is where you are, leaving it open shouldn't be a problem.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2007, 10:39:11 PM »

I use slatted racks on all my hives, I've found that the extra air space the slatted rack provides is just as good if not better than closing up the bottom.  It sure helps in moisture reduction as the hive is ventilated all winter and the extra space is like a thermal layer, doing the same job that closing the bottom would do.  Of course my racks are a little different than those made commercially.
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