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Author Topic: Northern Beekeepers - do you all wrap your hives for winter?  (Read 4587 times)
rdy-b
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« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2011, 01:00:16 AM »

.
A few years ago Canada made a large wrapping material test. One of them was clearly best.

I suppose that Florida and California beekeepers have final anwer to that issue.
could you provide us with this test so we can determine for ourselfs-or is this finish humor-- cheesy
RDY-B
 
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Finski
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« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2011, 02:21:41 AM »

.
And california speaks. 
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splitrock
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« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2011, 06:46:03 AM »

Myself, I have been thinking about wrapping with the double sided foil bubble insulation. The reflectivity would return the heat generated by the hive, and the reflecting of the sun on other hives seems like another plus too. I have a nice straight line of 10 pallets of 4.

I am a little concerned about the times when the stuff is super bright from direct sunlight, so am considering not starting the wrap until I am above the entrance at what I think may be a comfortable level. Any thought or feelings anyone?....

 For the cover, lots of neatly folded to size burlap that I hope will help absorb moisture, and a plastic trap tent to keep the burlap dry.

Any thoughts or feelings anyone?....

Joel
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Finski
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« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2011, 08:51:33 AM »

.
Yes I mean with fast that solid. Is it a wrong word in this case?
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BlueBee
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« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2011, 09:41:58 AM »

I knew what you meant Finski, but yes ďsolidĒ would be a better English word in this case.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2011, 09:49:25 AM »

As for the foil bubble wrap idea.  A couple things to keep in mind.  The amount of energy the bees are generating in the winter is relatively small.  Probably about 20 watts.  While it is good to reflect the heat back into the hive, there just isnít much heat to begin with.  This is why I like to insulate in my cloudy climate to retain what little heat there is.

If you live in a sunny winter climate like the plains, the options for winter hive heat are greater.  You would have to look up the solar energy available at your latitude in the winter, but itís probably on the order of 50 watts per square foot.  4 hives in a cube would likely have about 4 sq feet incident to incoming solar radiation.  50 watts/sq foot x 4 sq feet = 200 watts.  Hence a wrap might have the ability to harvest up near 200watts, or 10x what the bees can do.  Not all that heat would actually make it to the bees as there are always losses in the system.

As Finski says, the wraps wonít help the bees at night, but they may allow the bees to move from one area of depleted food to another during the day if you live in a sunny winter climate.  Itís cloudy where I am most all winter and hence I use foam hives; they work day and night holding in heat.
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T Beek
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« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2011, 10:11:29 AM »

" they work day and night holding in heat "

Or cold...... Wink

thomas
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splitrock
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« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2011, 12:35:00 PM »

Thanks for the input all!

Fortunately we do get a lot of sunshine here on the plains in winter normally. I realize the wrap itself does not have a lot of insulation value, but it will help cut the wind. Also, I think I can drape the burlap in a fashion that will help with the insulating as well, possibly even help absorb some moisture.  I can go several folds thick so It's not like I'm just putting a burlap bag over the top.

Actually, my biggest concern about this set up is the bright reflectivity of any wrap showing. My bee's may need sunglasses or be blinded.

Joel
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T Beek
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« Reply #28 on: October 30, 2011, 01:28:12 PM »

Proof again that all beekeeping is local.

thomas
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bee-nuts
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« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2011, 03:21:50 AM »

Yes I do.  The list of benefits is many.  The list of negative effects is outweighed by far.

Just wrapping a hive with tar paper is better than nothing but in my opinion insulation is of much greater value.  If you only wrap with felt at least you provide a wind barrier and a pocket of air to allow heat retention.  The sun will heat the tar paper and give some benefit but days are very short in winter.

Insulation provides a much more stable temperature inside the hive.  Im not a expert but I will guess that the harder the bees have to work to keep warm, the sooner they will perish.  They also have to eat more and that means they have to poo more.  If they are raising brood and have to consume more honey because they are not insulated, the greater the risk that they will become out of reach of honey when a cold snap hits and they are stuck on brood. 

I just read a discussion on this forum or another about condensation.  I as many are not convinced that condensation is a bad thing in the hive over the winter months.  Bees need water to raise brood and when they cant make flights, where will they get it.  Brood they raise will die if they dont have water.  Finski will be the first one to tell you here about studies done in relation to feeding pollen patties to early before the bees can gather water resulting in dead brood.  I have opened hives up as soon as a warm day pops up before the bees have had much time to fly and have found several frames packed full of brood in march.  As much water that is needed for this much brood, I dont think it would be possible with the ventilate, ventilate, ventilate attitude preached for the north.  I dont think condensation is the problem, its where it builds up and what happens with it when it melts.

Thats my dollars worth.  It used to be two cents, but its 2011 and due to inflation of goods, and deflation of currency, I believe its a dollar now, not two cents.
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T Beek
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« Reply #30 on: October 31, 2011, 07:38:26 AM »

To a specific point, the colder it gets the less the bees will consume.  When our temps start getting/staying below zero my bees are barely moving, much less eating.  Anyone have the available science to confirm?  I think I've seen it here or it may have been another forum Undecided

thomas
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« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2011, 08:11:11 AM »


I just read a discussion on this forum or another about condensation.  I as many are not convinced that condensation is a bad thing in the hive over the winter months.  Bees need water to raise brood and when they cant make flights, where will they get it.  Brood they raise will die if they dont have water.  Finski will be the first one to tell you here about studies done in relation to feeding pollen patties to early before the bees can gather water resulting in dead brood.  I have opened hives up as soon as a warm day pops up before the bees have had much time to fly and have found several frames packed full of brood in march.  As much water that is needed for this much brood, I dont think it would be possible with the ventilate, ventilate, ventilate attitude preached for the north.  I dont think condensation is the problem, its where it builds up and what happens with it when it melts.


Good point.   I have yet to find a feral colony around here that doesn't seal up as much of the cavity as possible, leaving just and entrance (quite small in some cases).  I also think a lot of folks contribute dead out to moisture because they are wet when they find them.  When in reality even a dry hive will draw in tons of moisture when it dies.
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windfall
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« Reply #32 on: October 31, 2011, 08:45:08 AM »

I am always curious reading about the dead outs attributed to moisture.

With no experience wintering yet  I am reluctant to dismiss the observations and statements of those that do have years, but.....

how are people determining that it was condensation dripping on the cluster that did them in? Are there clear tell tale signs that cannot be linked to moisture moving in later after the hive fails? Are they observing it to happen in processes?

I have come across a handful of people playing with plexi covers to answer this and they all seem to say they do not observe the dripping over the cluster. Admittedly it is just a handful of folks, and the plexi cover in and of itself slightly changes the conditions of the test.
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T Beek
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« Reply #33 on: October 31, 2011, 09:22:43 AM »

IMO Local/regional beekeeping practices and observations are key.  This is perhaps why some will swear by top entrances and other means to provide some ventilation over winter and others will insist it causes harm. 

windfall; I think you're on the right track with this inquiry. 

Bees do need water, but not too much water.  Available moisture is largely a regional factor.  I beleive moisture/water/condensation issues and the means to reduce or increase (?) same are more related to 'region' than any particular beekeeping philosophy/method (sadly, some will ague against that reality to the the point of useless Sad). 

Its probably/likely the reason most beeks offering advise will always tell new beeks to pair up w/ local beeks/clubs (some just forget they were once new beeks I suppose).

thomas
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rdy-b
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« Reply #34 on: October 31, 2011, 02:06:21 PM »

To a specific point, the colder it gets the less the bees will consume.  When our temps start getting/staying below zero my bees are barely moving, much less eating.  Anyone have the available science to confirm?  I think I've seen it here or it may have been another forum Undecided

thomas

 
 I agree with what you are saying--but this was put up when i tried to make a similar statement-what are your thoughts-???   
   http://www.apimondiafoundation.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?sid=&zone=download&action=download_file&file_id=460&categ_id=80
   
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BlueBee
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« Reply #35 on: October 31, 2011, 02:25:57 PM »

Looks like Finski is right again!

If you read the paper that Derekm posted, it also shows bees eat MORE when cold.  Another great reason to insulate.

OBSERVATIONS ON THE TEMPERATURE REGULATION
AND FOOD CONSUMPTION OF HONEYBEES
(APIS MELLIFERA)
BY J. B. FREE AND YVETTE SPENCER-BOOTH
Bee Research Department, Rothamsted Experimental Station

Their experiment showed that bees consume LESS stores when warm and MORE stores as they get colder.
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« Reply #36 on: October 31, 2011, 02:38:55 PM »

"To a specific point, the colder it gets the less the bees will consume.  When our temps start getting/staying below zero my bees are barely moving, much less eating.  Anyone have the available science to confirm?"

TO A SPECIFIC POINT  Then they consume more.  That is why the farther north you get, the more honey is recommended to overwinter.  If the bees are too warm they will consume to much honey because they will be to active.  I dont have the data in front of be but the perfect temp is between 35 and 45 degrees I think.  This is the temp where they are not to active yet do not need to consume tons of calories to maintain the maintain the cluster temps needed.  I think the bee becomes paralyzed at 45 degrees, I know they cant fly at body temps bellow this.  So anyway, the colder it gets beyond this perfect outside temp of 35-45, the harder it is on the bees, and the more honey they need to consume.  

If your hives are insulated well, I dont think the bees have a hard time of it until the outside temp starts dipping below zero.  Either way, if you have not insulated before, try insulating a couple and weigh them and ones you dont and come spring you will be amazed by how little the insulated ones consumed.
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rdy-b
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« Reply #37 on: October 31, 2011, 03:55:49 PM »

Looks like Finski is right again!

If you read the paper that Derek posted, it also shows bees eat MORE when cold.  Another great reason to insulate.

OBSERVATIONS ON THE TEMPERATURE REGULATION
AND FOOD CONSUMPTION OF HONEYBEES
(APIS MOLLIFIER)
BY J. B. FREE AND YVETTE SPENCER-BOOTH
Bee Research Department, Rothamsted Experimental Station

Their experiment showed that bees consume LESS stores when warm and MORE stores as they get colder.

thats what the paper reads--but i can find other papers and opinions-to the contrary-- Wink
 as far as finski being right --his posts read middle of the road and seam to contradict themselves at times -i often
 find myself pulling a *what he meant* meaning from them rather than how it reads-- Smiley
when bees reach extreme cold they are in a state of almost Hypoxia when they cluster--when bees dont cluster
 they fly--what i now is if they fly the feed goes quick-there has to be a break even point for temp and cluster
funny thing is alot of signal wall hives that die in winter die die from starvation even with feed in the hive-but the paper would have us believe that the signal wall hive is eating more feed--- Smiley RDY-B
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rdy-b
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« Reply #38 on: October 31, 2011, 04:16:38 PM »

Looks like Finski is right again!

If you read the paper that Derekm posted, it also shows bees eat MORE when cold.  Another great reason to insulate.

OBSERVATIONS ON THE TEMPERATURE REGULATION
AND FOOD CONSUMPTION OF HONEYBEES
(APIS MELLIFERA)
BY J. B. FREE AND YVETTE SPENCER-BOOTH
Bee Research Department, Rothamsted Experimental Station

Their experiment showed that bees consume LESS stores when warm and MORE stores as they get colder.


 yes  i read that and it was done with caged bees so i dont care for it---
read the link i post it is done with bee colonys-and is a better explanation
and yes it backs the claim in the same fashion as your link---RDY-B
http://www.apimondiafoundation.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?sid=&zone=download&action=download_file&file_id=460&categ_id=80
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BlueBee
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« Reply #39 on: October 31, 2011, 04:29:35 PM »

Yep, I read that link too Rdy-b, thanks.

I agree with you, the paper Derekm referenced is an odd way to measure honeybee food consumption vs temperature.  Iím not sure why they didnít use more bees.  However you have to admit that the results are surprising!  Less food consumption all the way up to 35C. shocked 

My previous belief was the minimum food consumption would occur at a temperature just above where the bees cluster.  Around that magic 18C number.  When they do finally cluster, they are making heat and that takes a lot of energy and hence food.

I also agree with you that if bees are flying, they are by definition burning a lot of energy and eating stores.  Flying takes a lot of energy.  We donít have that problem in Michigan in the winter, but I can see how that would be a problem in California or North Carolina. 
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