Here’s a question for all you experimenters out there. Does anybody have a hive design that uses foam for night time heat retention and some form of solar collector for winter day time heating?
Dadant found in his beekeeping in central Illinois that insulation + an exposed the south surface of his hives worked best in his climate because it warmed up the hive faster during a winter warm spell and allowed the bees to go on cleansing flights.http://books.google.com/books?ei=wM1JTu2GEciKsQLJ6OXpCA&ct=result&dq=dadant+system+of+beekeeping&jtp=102&id=2aNbAAAAMAAJ#v=onepage&q&f=false
However the downside to removing insulation from a side of a hive is a big loss in the insulation value of the hive; as Finski points out. Since nights are longer and MUCH colder than days in the winter, removing insulation is going to result in colder bees.
So, what kind of setup could we come up with using modern materials that would allow us to completely insulate a winter hive AND would allow for solar warmth on sunny winter days that Dadant found so beneficial?