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Author Topic: wintering of bees do you wrap  (Read 3315 times)
beefun
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« on: April 16, 2009, 07:33:06 AM »

for the last two years I have not wrapped my hives. I bought a screened bottom board from Kelley's I read some where I think it was on Bee source.com from mike Bush that wrapping a hive might cause more problems then not so I gave it a try I had 4 hives and three made it through the winter with 17 below temps in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I left the screen open all year this board has a mite board also both the screen and mite board can be taken out which helps a great deal with cleaning out all the dead bees in the winter.
have any of you tried not wrapping you Hives  Wink
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2009, 08:24:18 AM »

It all depends on what you wrap them with I think.   I had good luck when I wrapped with tar paper.  I think it helps a lot with solar heating on sunny days and helps the cluster move to new stores.  I have since switched to polystyrene hives which I find even better yet in the cold climate (run ~10 warmer than wood)

Here is some more info you may find interesting -> http://www.beeworks.com/informationcentre/wintering.html
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Bee-Bop
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2009, 11:48:56 AM »

I use just tar paper loosely wrapped around the sides and tucked in under the tops.

I think it helps to break the winds, and may,by solar heating raise the hive temperature a degree or two.
 I read a lot were bees starve to death because they could not reach there food, this maybe, but I think they froze, in trying to reach the food.
 A degree or two in my opinion, might make a difference.

Of course I have been wrong before.

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Scadsobees
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2009, 12:11:21 PM »

bum bum bum
Yeah, dog, I wrap
if I don't staple then it do flap
When the sun hits that black
them bees gets the honey back
That tar stops the wind
so the cold don't get through the crack

 afro
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Rick
Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2009, 12:59:45 PM »

I haven't tried leaving a SBB open in the winter.  I would have trouble recommending that in a cold windy climate.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#stopwrapping

    "Although we now and again have to put up with exceptionally severe winters even here in the south-west, we do not provide our colonies with any additional protection. We know that cold, even severe cold, does not harm colonies that are in good health. Indeed, cold seems to have a decided beneficial effect on bees."--Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey, Brother Adam

    "Nothing has been said of providing warmth to the colonies, by wrapping or packing hives or otherwise, and rightly so. If not properly done, wrapping or packing can be disastrous, creating what amounts to a damp tomb for the colony" --The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor

Dr. Ellis, here in Nebraska, is a proponent of wrapping.  But he uses cardboard cartons that leave an air space around the hive.  I have not tried these.  I only tried the roofing felt once and decided I agreed with Taylor's "creating what amounts to a damp tomb for the colony" description.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#winter
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Tucker1
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2009, 11:39:41 PM »

This winter I wrapped my hive with 1 inch soft rubber-like foam.  The was scrap material from work. I keep the foam in place with those elastic cords that have hooks on them (used to tie down stuff on your truck). The material weathered well and was easy to remove this spring. The hive seemed to have done well during the winter. I had placed the hive next to set of small pines that protect it from the strong winds that come from the west. To prevent moisture build up, I inserted a small Imirie (sp?) spacer just below the outer cover. This seems to provide enough ventilation. I think I use the same set up next winter.

Regards,
Tucker
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beefun
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2009, 06:29:12 AM »

Thanks for the replies I like the Idea of the foam if I use it I would leave a 1/2 inch of air space I have 4 foam Max hives two made it through the winter one hive is real strong may have to split the other is so so may have to put a queen in that one. both these hives had a sbb on them had no water build up at all. I would agree with MBush his thoughts If I every make it back home to nebr. I would like to see his operation. May be someday.
P javins
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trapperbob
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2009, 11:55:48 PM »

 I do not wrap them at all. So long as the bees have ample stores there fine. The only hives I have lost were light going into fall and should have been combined with another hive but I have a theory that if there was a ample flow and a hive is weak going into fall there is something wrong with them and I do not wish to transfer this into another hive. So come fall it is sink or swim time and I have found if they store enough food they usually swim. Most people that Iknow that do wrap them tend to replace there outer wooden ware sooner because of the moisture. I do make sure they have a good wind break but you should do this anyway.
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Hethen57
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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2009, 08:17:02 PM »

Our temps dropped 30 degrees after I hived my packages, so I decided to try to make some wraps similar to those "Bee Cozy" covers seen on YouTube.  They are basically just an insulated sleeve that fits over a double stack of hive bodies, and is held in place by the telescoping cover.  I also made an insulated pad to fit under the telescoping cover, but there is still a small vent hole to allow moisture to escape. I figured my new packages has their work cut out for them, with all the comb building and brood rearing, and that if I could help them keep the temps in the hive up to incubate the young for the next few weeks, it couldn't hurt.  Right away I noticed more syrup intake and more foraging activity, even at lower temps.  I'll keep the group posted on my results, as it only cost me about $15 and 30 minutes of time to make 2 of them, and I have materials left over for a few more.
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-Mike
deerhunter
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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2009, 09:52:55 PM »

I have never wrapped my hives and I have only lost 2 hives and they where weak going into winter.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2009, 12:31:18 AM »

I have never wrapped my hives and I have only lost 2 hives and they where weak going into winter.

I've never wrapped my hives in 50 years of beekeeping.  Never found it necessary.  Not even with temps down to the single digits and winds up to tornado strength.
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Robo
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2009, 06:14:59 AM »

Our temps dropped 30 degrees after I hived my packages, so I decided to try to make some wraps similar to those "Bee Cozy" covers seen on YouTube.  They are basically just an insulated sleeve that fits over a double stack of hive bodies, and is held in place by the telescoping cover.  I also made an insulated pad to fit under the telescoping cover, but there is still a small vent hole to allow moisture to escape. I figured my new packages has their work cut out for them, with all the comb building and brood rearing, and that if I could help them keep the temps in the hive up to incubate the young for the next few weeks, it couldn't hurt.  Right away I noticed more syrup intake and more foraging activity, even at lower temps.  I'll keep the group posted on my results, as it only cost me about $15 and 30 minutes of time to make 2 of them, and I have materials left over for a few more.
Heat retention will absolutely increase brood rearing.   a simple test to prove this is to slide a 7watt night light into a small colony.  Come back in a couple of weeks and you will find the queen has moved right down above the light to lay.  Brood requires bees to keep it warm, the more heat that is retained in the hive, the further the bees can spread out and the more brood they can cover.

I see a tremendous difference in growth of polystyrene nucs over wooden nucs.
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Tucker1
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2009, 10:09:12 AM »

Robo:   You indicated: "I see a tremendous difference in growth of polystyrene nucs over wooden nucs."   Can you expand on that comment? Same conditions? Amount of difference? 

Regards,
Tucker

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Robo
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2009, 10:23:29 AM »

I don't have any real data on the nucs, just personal experience.   I start my queen mating nucs each year with one frame of capped brood from strong hives.  For the most part, the ones that build up the quickest are in poly nucs.

I have done some temperature measuring on a standard poly hive verses wooden medium hive and had ~10F difference.
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,13576.msg96912.html#msg96912
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Tucker1
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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2009, 03:44:18 PM »

Robo: That's very interesting. It would seem that being able to maintain a temperature that was 10 degrees (F)  above that of a standard Nuc would be a real advantage. I would guess that you could almost "speed up" the spring build up by using this approach and perhaps adding the terrarium heater or low wattage light bulb heaters. That invites the question: Can you speed up the spring buildup by using Poly/Styrofoam hives, with supplemental heaters, using pollen patties and other forms of feeding?  Or would you be creating your own nightmare?   huh huh  (I do that lots of times, unintentional.)
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« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2009, 03:49:24 PM »

I usually add the supplemental heat around the beginning of February.

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,21542.0.html
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Tucker1
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« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2009, 03:58:52 PM »

Robo: By adding the supplemental heater and also using poly/Styrofoam hives you must get a big jump on the honey flow, with a much larger "work force" in place when spring does really arrive.

During this build up time period, do you include supplemental feeding, using pollen patties or Megabee or the like?

Regards,
Tucker
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