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Author Topic: Foam + Solar Hive  (Read 1191 times)
BlueBee
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« on: August 20, 2011, 01:12:43 PM »

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?
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derekm
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2011, 02:31:42 PM »

To collect sunlight in winter means glazing the south side so its insulated but lets heat in.
the issue here will how not to cook the bees, given such variable input of heat and then store the heat.Remember  Heat storage is never light in weight.
But you can get materials in  builders yard that will be good enough for a langstroth  hive to go down to -40c (thats -40f ) without the bees needing to cluster and without the need for sunlight  to warm them.
Its 75mm polyurethane foam.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2011, 02:43:18 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?
boca
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2011, 02:35:49 PM »

A joke comes in mind:
- Jean, what's the temperature in the room?
- 18 C° Sir.
- And how it is outside?
- 2 C° Sir.
- Then let enter those two as well.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2011, 01:25:50 AM »

I saw a post by InTheSwamp that reminded me of this thread.  Ed had a good idea that would provide both the insulation that people want in the winter AND the solar gains that some people (like Dadant) believe is important for mid winter cleansing flights.  

Ed proposed wrapping a hive with bubble wrap for insulation.  That idea would fit the bill of this thread:  A means of gaining heat on warm winter days AND retaining heat over night.  Yes, I know the R value of bubble wrap is not a good as foam, but it’s better than plain old wood or tar paper!

We know bee keepers have tried about everything over time, so somebody must have tried wrapping their hive with bubble wrap before.  Anybody here?
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CapnChkn
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2011, 02:49:35 AM »

Actually, if you wanted to get all gadgety, a solar collector with a feed would heat water that could be run through the hives, and radiate heat inside.  One large collector, tubing running inside, running to pipe in the bottom boards...

I can see your gears starting to spin there BlueBee.  A shallow box with insulation, plate glass on top "wax melter" style, painted black on the inside to absorb heat, and maybe a PV panel to run the pump.  Real problem here is regulating the amount of heat.
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"Thinking is like sin, them that doesn't is scairt of it, and them that does gets to liking it so much they can't quit!"  -Josh Billings.
Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2011, 04:35:13 AM »

The other issue, besides the cleansing flights, is that with a slightly warm day the cluster can often expand enough to find and rearrange stores where if they never get that warm break they get stuck and starve.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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CapnChkn
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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2011, 12:54:15 PM »

Well I never thought about that.  Thank you Michael!
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"Thinking is like sin, them that doesn't is scairt of it, and them that does gets to liking it so much they can't quit!"  -Josh Billings.
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