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Author Topic: losing hives overwinter  (Read 4087 times)
BlueBee
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« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2011, 01:08:49 PM »

By the time spring finally got here, the losses in Michigan were probably more like 75 to 80%.  It was a cold, snowy, sunless winter with very few cleansing flight days.  They haul new bees in here from the southern US and California by the Semi truck load full every spring.  Even with the full tractor loads, demand could not be meet this spring.  Either we have a ton of new bee keepers every year (we do not), or most peopleís bees die (very likely).   In the cold north, you need to do SOMETHING to increase your odds of wintering success.

I know of two commercial operations within 15 miles of me.  One with 500 hives and one with 1000 hives.  They both winter in simple wood hives and both had losses over 60%.  The 1000 hive guy had 100% losses.  That doesnít mean they donít make money though.  The spring flow is so strong that they can re-package their hives in the spring and still make a nice profit even from a package.  Ironically enough, this has been a bumper year for them.  Go figure!  Bee keeping is a strange business.
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Finski
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« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2011, 01:40:53 PM »

.
To loose colony means loosing many more expencive things.

Combs are filled with rotten bees, frames and combs are painted with poo.

Boxes are sprayed with poo.  it is quite a job to put things into practic again..

Our biggest beekeeper has 3000 hives. He sells poly hives to many countries like to UK and to Russians. (Paradise Honey)
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derekm
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« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2011, 04:37:07 PM »

By the time spring finally got here, the losses in Michigan were probably more like 75 to 80%.  It was a cold, snowy, sunless winter with very few cleansing flight days.  They haul new bees in here from the southern US and California by the Semi truck load full every spring.  Even with the full tractor loads, demand could not be meet this spring.  Either we have a ton of new bee keepers every year (we do not), or most peopleís bees die (very likely).   In the cold north, you need to do SOMETHING to increase your odds of wintering success.

I know of two commercial operations within 15 miles of me.  One with 500 hives and one with 1000 hives.  They both winter in simple wood hives and both had losses over 60%.  The 1000 hive guy had 100% losses.  That doesnít mean they donít make money though.  The spring flow is so strong that they can re-package their hives in the spring and still make a nice profit even from a package.  Ironically enough, this has been a bumper year for them.  Go figure!  Bee keeping is a strange business.

if bees were cattle the animal welfare people would have those owners in jail. IMHO its cruel AND stupid. if you work the insulation numbers for summer in my climate, insulation means an extra 60kg of of honey crop. I insulate my hives for their welfare, i need to be able to look my food in the eye, even if the eye looking back is compound eye. However,their welfare an the crop size go hand in hand.
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
BlueBee
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« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2011, 07:24:18 PM »

The guy with 1000 hives takes all the honey from the hive except for what is in the bottom deep brood nest.  So he winters the bees in a single deep wood hive in Michigan.  If we have a mild winter, some of those bees survive and he splits them in the spring to repopulate his dead outs.  If we have a hard winter, they all die and he buys all new bees. 

The guy with 500 hives follows standard bee keeping practices in the USA.  He feeds in the fall and winters in various hive configurations equal to about 2 deeps.  He told me he lost 60% of his colonies last winter.  So he ended up doing more work for his bees, putting more money into them (feed), and most still died.  So who came out ahead?

Other bee keepers have the opinion that you should never pamper the bees over winter because you are defeating the ďnatural selectionĒ process and polluting the gene pool with non winter hardy bees.  Finski and I have experimented with electric heat on some of our small colonies and some beeks think that is just plain wrong.

As a hobbyist with a few hives, I have a different perspective and think insulation is cost effective and good for my hobby bees so I use it.  One shoe size may not fit all beeks though.
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TwoHoneys
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« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2011, 07:51:51 PM »


Then you feed combs full of syrup  when brood are mostly emerged.


I should probably know how to do this, but I don't. Do you simply spray or pour sugar syrup in the comb and then put the comb back in the hive? If so, that's a wonderfully elegant solution.

-Liz
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hvac professor
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« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2011, 09:52:46 PM »

BlueBee I have been wondering about some type of heating, why not. I dont want to replace my bees every year and what a waste.
I watched a video today at a local bee supplier and there are many concerns about losing bees all over the worls regardless of the climate
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stella
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« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2011, 10:44:46 PM »

 Derekm, please share with me ( first year beek) just how you insulate your hive.
 I really want my hive to survive a bitter cold Minnesota winter!
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BlueBee
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« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2011, 10:58:39 PM »

Hvac professor, isnít heating and cooling right up your alley?  Sorry, I couldnít resist the pun  grin

I have a lot of posts in the experimental section of this forum on electric heat if you wanted to try something along that line.  Forum user gaucho10 also has some posts in there about his electric heating setup.

For a full sized hive, if you have it insulated and preparted for winter as Finski recommends, that should be sufficient.  The bees themselves do generate heat in the winter so if you have them in an insulated hive, they will not experience the full brunt of a upstate NY winter.

The electric heat is particularly useful if you have a very small colony of bees you want to get thru winter; say 2 or 3 deep frames of bees from a late summer split that didnít grow as quickly as you hoped befor winter.  Such small colonies canít generate as much heat as a full sized colony; added electric heat is kind of like having an extra 3 or 4 frames of bees in there.
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hvac professor
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« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2011, 11:12:12 PM »

Thanks BlueBee for the advice and places to find more information
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Finski
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« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2011, 12:16:49 AM »


I should probably know how to do this, but I don't. Do you simply spray or pour sugar syrup in the comb and then put the comb back in the hive? If so, that's a wonderfully elegant solution.

-Liz

you need a feeding box, which has about 10 litre volume. Then you put it over frames. Heat from the hive keeps syrup warm.

The hive needs couple weeks time to cap the food.
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derekm
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« Reply #30 on: August 26, 2011, 05:21:22 AM »

Derekm, please share with me ( first year beek) just how you insulate your hive.
 I really want my hive to survive a bitter cold Minnesota winter!
I use hives made out  Foil coated polyurethane foam.(u can use standard woodworking tools on it). Reinforced  edges  with polyester resin and fibreglass tissue. frame rails out of alumium angle.

On Langstroth size hives 2" thick is good for  -23C,  3" thick for -41C (=-40f).

The design I use has standard internals dimensions but the entrance starts below floor level. THe floor  section is a double grill/mesh closed so the floor is 6" high in total. No top vent in winter.

If I was using a standard wooden hive and wanted to insulate it for a wild -40f winter. I would make a outer cover with 3" PU foam that had 3/8 gap between the hive and the cover and make the roof of the cover have a 1 " slope. The slope is to keep condensation off the hive. The hive would itself would be 18" off the ground but the cover would reach to the ground . 6" off the ground  a single row of  of 1/2" holes. 4 on each side. .For deep snow ventaltion a 2"plastic pipe again from 6" off the floor go to max snow depth  and then with a couple of 90 deg bend to curve over
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
Tommyt
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« Reply #31 on: August 26, 2011, 08:19:59 AM »

derekm
 I am way south but very curious how people keep bees @ different lat&longitudes
Could you post a picture of one of your hives maybe show how you
have the bottoms 6"

Thanks
Tommyt
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derekm
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« Reply #32 on: August 26, 2011, 03:27:09 PM »

derekm
 I am way south but very curious how people keep bees @ different lat&longitudes
Could you post a picture of one of your hives maybe show how you
have the bottoms 6"

Thanks
Tommyt

quite often people in the uk put a "super" underneath the floor in winter I've just designed it in. heres the nuc

here's the lower grid mesh


heres the upper grid




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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
Finski
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« Reply #33 on: August 26, 2011, 05:59:02 PM »

.
A huge insulation and the floor widely open. Something badly wrong in that theory.
Sorry to say that.
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derekm
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« Reply #34 on: August 26, 2011, 06:49:19 PM »

.
A huge insulation and the floor widely open. Something badly wrong in that theory.
Sorry to say that.

I think something badly wrong in your observation perhaps a matter of scale .The slot openings have a max width  of 3mm (typical 2.5). The floor has about 13% open area. This  is less  open area than the conventional mesh  sold for OMF (as high as 80%) and the insulation is 50mm.
In practice, the bees dont escape or enter via the floor grill  and they manage to throw the bodies out the entrance when they need to.
its been tested it works...
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 06:59:35 PM by derekm » Logged

If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
Finski
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« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2011, 12:32:07 AM »

.
I have 48 years experience with bees in Finlad. Since first energy crisis we have cebated and researches energy saving of human houses.

To save energy and throught bodies via floor holes macth not in same  idea.

The heath stays up in your system but when wind blows a little bit, it wash the box from heat. Long structure aids in it.
We use to keep doors closed in human houses in winter.

How much hive consumes food during winter months and how many months?
How many frames the cluster occupyes?
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BlueBee
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« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2011, 01:26:49 AM »

Derekm, I can see the logic behind your open floor design, but Iím wondering why you didnít go with a more conventional insulation approach?  Why did you choose to go with an open floor and a closed top instead of a more conventional small bottom vent/entrance and a small top vent/entrance?   What are the advantages and disadvantages?

I understand your use of mesh and grills to try to create a dead air space (insulation) in the floor area of your hive.  Where I live we get a lot of wind in the winter and have to confess I would worry about wind washing the heat from the hive as Finski fears.  However Iíve never tried it. 

I also worry about the exchange of gasses (CO2, O2, and water vapor) with a closed top.  Iíve stuck with a conventional insulation design like Finski, but am always interested to hear how other approaches work.  Iím not enough of a rebel myself  Sad, but like to watch the rebels at work  Smiley

You gotta get us a photo of this hive!!!  Iím very curious to see it.
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Finski
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« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2011, 10:28:07 AM »

.
Longhive itself is a big problem in beekeeping.

i started with 3 long hives  almost 50 years ago. That hive model was most popular in our country, but they are not used any more. Actually it was too small to modern breeded queens.

Hive had a huge insulation, but for beekeeping very difficult to handle and impossible to migration.

If you have more hives, only way to get good yields is migration. Pastures give the good yield. We just completed my friend's yard for winter feeding. The average yield was 80 kg/hive.
Secret is free laying, no excluder, swarm control with false swarms and clipping the quuen.

The yield period was 5 weeks.

.
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derekm
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« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2011, 02:07:57 PM »

Derekm, I can see the logic behind your open floor design, but Iím wondering why you didnít go with a more conventional insulation approach?  Why did you choose to go with an open floor and a closed top instead of a more conventional small bottom vent/entrance and a small top vent/entrance?   What are the advantages and disadvantages?

I understand your use of mesh and grills to try to create a dead air space (insulation) in the floor area of your hive.  Where I live we get a lot of wind in the winter and have to confess I would worry about wind washing the heat from the hive as Finski fears.  However Iíve never tried it.  

I also worry about the exchange of gasses (CO2, O2, and water vapor) with a closed top.  Iíve stuck with a conventional insulation design like Finski, but am always interested to hear how other approaches work.  Iím not enough of a rebel myself  Sad, but like to watch the rebels at work  Smiley

You gotta get us a photo of this hive!!!  Iím very curious to see it.


finski - those pictures are of a nuc (half size) hive, it takes  5 British national frames.
As regards knowing about  air movement and insulation  several years i worked for the UK subsidary of Svenska Flaktfabriken (Flakt).

blue bee: the full size hive is just twice the width. internal dimensions are just british national. Though next year they will be extended to 14x12.

Inside the hive there is good air circulation provided by the heat of the bees and the cooling of the wall. Cold air and Co2 will fall to the grid  Co2 will tend to fall faster, further, the the higher humidity air will be denser  and so there will be low velocity interchange with air below the first grid (floor).  The small gaps in the second grid again 3mm prevents high air velocities in the below floor plenum chamber.
There is no wind washing near the floor, the wind is baffled by the deep sides and bottom grid, and to really sure there is the vermin mesh under the second grid (12mm mesh).
 In winter survival, in a snow cave you build a ledge  with a pit alongside and sleep on  the ledge.  the cold and and CO2 accumate in the pit. my  hives have a grid so the Co2 and cold air can keep falling.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2011, 02:26:33 PM by derekm » Logged

If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
BlueBee
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« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2011, 02:31:06 PM »

Iím not seeing any photos Sad  I'm running IE8 on a Windows PC.  It looks like you may have posted photos in reply #32?

It sounds like an interesting design and it sounds like youíve thought things through.  Very interesting, I just wish I could see those photos.

I use a photo sharing service (photobucket) for my photos and then copy and paste the ďimgĒ tag into my posting to show the photo.
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