Mushmushi, I have run up to 4 heaters (about 40 watts) in a full sized hive in the dead of winter.
Keep in mind I just started playing with electric heat last winter so I haven’t had a lot experience testing out different hive temperatures. I go by the old books (CC Miller) when speculating about what might be a good wintering temperature and then experiment from there. They did fine last winter and were probably warmer than they needed to be.
My controller can turn on and off individual heaters since they’re each on a separate FET (Field Effect Transistor). If the thermistor says it’s getting hotter than my set point in a hive, then the controller would shut off a FET which cuts power to one of the 4 heaters. So the system allows for variable heat from 0 to 40 watts, but in discrete steps. My controller did not have PWM capability last winter, so the heating levels were really in pretty big steps: 0, 10, 20, 30, 0r 40 watts. With PWM controls, you could generate any level of heat between 0 and 40 watts if you wanted.
Are wrapped hives (using the bee cozy stuff) considered to be insulated enough ?
I don’t know the R value of the cozy’s, but you can use heat with anything, it’s just not going to warm the whole hive up like thick insulation would. Warm air from the heaters would still rise if you place them below the bees. The warm air should bath the winter cluster even in a wood hive, but to a lesser extent. I have never tried putting a heater in an un-insulated wood hive so I don’t know all the pros and cons.