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Author Topic: Winter insulation  (Read 5809 times)
Ocean
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« on: September 08, 2005, 12:51:41 PM »

Hey everyone, what are some things you guys do to isolate the hive for the winter, because here in Northern Jersey, our winters get really really cold, and iam afraid that my hives won't survive, so me and my dad are ready to do anything, but we just dont know where to start?

Can someone explain what should we do? maybe link me to a website?
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2005, 01:38:57 PM »

What I would recommend is to read the many posts on this same subject that have been going on for the past month or so.
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Joseph Clemens
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bassman1977
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2005, 02:04:49 PM »

Isolation or insulation?  For preparing for winter, I am going to close up my screened bottom boards, wrap the hive in tar paper, and install mouse guards.  I also compressed my hives to two boxes (two deeps on one and one deep/one medium on the other).  I will also be feeding until it gets freezing.  One reason I am feeding is because I  had starving hives, but I would be doing this anyway to help prolong the length of time that the bees would have to resort to their stores.
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Ocean
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2005, 02:09:30 PM »

Quote from: bassman1977
Isolation or insulation?  For preparing for winter, I am going to close up my screened bottom boards, wrap the hive in tar paper, and install mouse guards.  I also compressed my hives to two boxes (two deeps on one and one deep/one medium on the other).  I will also be feeding until it gets freezing.  One reason I am feeding is because I  had starving hives, but I would be doing this anyway to help prolong the length of time that the bees would have to resort to their stores.


Yes INSULATION! lol sorry thats what i meant and i guess i got the perfect answer... Wrap the Hive in the Tar paper....

Can i get this Tar paper in Home Depot around my house?

Bassman would you be able to post some pictures of your hives, after you wrapped them, installed mouseguards..?

I would really appreciate it.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2005, 02:16:14 PM »

I didn't wrap them just yet but since I was having a possible robbing issue, I put the mouse guards on.  I will send pictures once I get the hives wrapped.  I will probably be doing it this weekend since it's starting to get pretty cool (especially at night).  I even have my SBBs open still.  They should be ok right now.  I had some responses earlier this month saying that people never close their SBBs.  

And yes, you can pick up tar paper at Home Depot or Lowes or any other place that sells roofing materials.  I got mine at Lowes and I think I paid less than $15 for a roll (which will probably last me 5 winters...you'll see what I mean).
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Ocean
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2005, 02:25:25 PM »

Quote from: bassman1977
I didn't wrap them just yet but since I was having a possible robbing issue, I put the mouse guards on.  I will send pictures once I get the hives wrapped.  I will probably be doing it this weekend since it's starting to get pretty cool (especially at night).  I even have my SBBs open still.  They should be ok right now.  I had some responses earlier this month saying that people never close their SBBs.  

And yes, you can pick up tar paper at Home Depot or Lowes or any other place that sells roofing materials.  I got mine at Lowes and I think I paid less than $15 for a roll (which will probably last me 5 winters...you'll see what I mean).


YEs pictures would be great...

What is SBBS?

And should i put my Entrance reducer? now?  Because right now the whole entrance is open...
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bassman1977
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2005, 02:38:13 PM »

SBB = Screened Bottom Board.

I was told by another beekeeper that the mouse guard should go on once the weather hits about 50 - 55 degrees.  At that time, mice are prone to want to move into the hives.

If I remember correctly, you live in more of a closer community.  If that's the case, I don't know if you'll have too much problems with mice (maybe though).  I live in the sticks on a large farm and I get about 15-20 mice every 6 months or so, just with mouse traps.  Who knows how many the cats get.
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Dale
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2005, 02:38:21 PM »

Insulation.   What I do, is reduce the entrances, take off the supers, check mite levels with a sugar roll test.  If the hive needs to be treated, treat it. If you don't,  all of the insulation in the world won't help it!  After that, I check for honey stores.Being from  northeastern PA, so our winters are similar, so I usually look for one full brood chamber.  Last year, I put plywood over the SBB, and wrapped the hives with tarpaper.  It got all of them thru the winter.    It got below zero here a few days too.  My nucs on the other hand did not fair so well, but that is completely different.
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Dale Richards
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2005, 03:22:52 PM »

Nucs are, of course, another story.  I'm still trying to figure out how to get them through, but I've never bothered to wrap hives and from the condensation I've caused to the nucs when I did, I think it might be a good thing not to wrap.  Smiley

I try to reduce the hive to two to four mediums or one to three deeps depending on the size of the cluster.  A typical strong hive is three mediums or two deeps.  I put 1/4" hardware cloth on the entrances to keep out the mice.  I make sure I don't have queen excluders on so the queen doesn't get left in the box below when the cluster moves up.  I try to have some kind of top entrance for ventilation so there is less condensation and so there is a way out on warm days and air coming in when the snow is deep.  Yes you have warm days where the bees need to make a cleansing flight with deep snow still on the ground blocking the bottom entrance (of which I have none anymore), at least here we certainly do.

I put the tray in on my SBB.  Some people leave them out.  I'm not that brave yet.  Smiley

Since I went to the migratory tops with a shim to make the top entrance I did, for the first time ever, put some foam on top of the hives thinking I might have more condensation since I didn't have inner covers.

I can't say that wrapping is a bad idea, since I've never tried it.  But we get down to -20 F sometime most winters here.  -30 on rare occasions.
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Michael Bush
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Archie
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2005, 08:24:25 PM »

Hi,

I  wrap my bees with roofing pager.  The black paper absorbs heat from the sun and some of this heat is able to get into the hives and the bees are warm enough to move around.  BUI....be sure you have a good vent on top of the hive.  The bees give off a lot of moister and if you cannot get the moister to exit the hive, the bees will die because the moister will freeze and then thaw just enough to drip down of the bees and kill them

Archie
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bassman1977
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2005, 10:02:57 PM »

Quote
be sure you have a good vent on top of the hive


What would you suggest for this?  During the summer I put twigs between my inner cover and outter cover (adding about 1/4 inch of space between covers, but closed enough to keep out the elements).  The hole in the inner cover (where you would put an escape) was always open.  Would this be suffice?
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Archie
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2005, 04:51:10 AM »

Hi,

I built a frame the size of the inner cover and about 3 inches tall.  I drilled one inch holes into each side of the frame.  I then covered the holes with a metal screen mesh to keep out the mice and other insects.  The screen is on the inside of the frame.  I use this all year, summer and winter and seems to help the bees a lot.
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Archie
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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2005, 04:54:53 AM »

Hi,

one other thing.  I put this frame on top of the inner cover and place the outer cover over it.  The opening in the inner cover seems to be enough.

Archie
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Finsky
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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2005, 05:51:58 AM »

In Finland we have long winter.

I use stryrofoam deeps.  

1) When I had 3 cm mere wood box food consunption was 50% bigger. When they use thsi way food they starve to death easily.

2) I tryed mesh screen bottom and I rised food consumption over 50%.

3) Wind shelter is important. In our country bees do not come out (or at least go in any after that) when continuous snow is covers ground. It is from December to March, 3 months.

I feed just now my hives. I give during one week 40 lbs sugar and it lasts to May.  There is no sense to feed them all the winter. They must be in peace. - It seems that there are more difficulties in south than in north with wintering bees.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2005, 09:47:01 AM »

>It seems that there are more difficulties in south than in north with wintering bees.

That's an interesting observation.  I've only raised them in the North, but now that I think about it, I'm trying get them settled and then I don't worry about them until spring.  Southern beekeepers have to worry about them all winter.  Smiley
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Michael Bush
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leominsterbeeman
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« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2005, 09:35:13 PM »

If the colony is strong, and they have enough food that they can get to and the mites don't get to them, they will make it through a cold winter.

I worry less about them because of cold weather.   I've learned from others and those even further north of me (Finsky).  The bees can make it through the cold.
 
Two years ago,  our winter was the coldest in 100 years and my bees survived.

Last year was the second coldest in 100 years and they survived again.
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Ocean
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« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2005, 03:17:14 PM »

Hey everyone, thanx alot for all the advice, iam understanding everything but to a certain extent, i would really appreciate, for people to start posting pictures of their winter preperations, so i can get a visual, and really be familiar with what you guys are talking about..


Thanx alot everyone i really appreciate it.
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Kris^
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« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2005, 05:03:20 PM »

This is how I set my hive up last winter:



I also put a sheet of styrofoam on the north wall and under the outer cover.  Above the upper entrance I placed a sugar board, for warm day stores.  Notice that the lower entrance is drifted over with snow.  It wintered well, and I split it in April.

-- Kris
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Finsky
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« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2005, 05:24:28 PM »

Quote from: Kris^


I also put a sheet of styrofoam on the north wall and under the outer cover.

 Above the upper entrance I placed a sugar board, for warm day stores.




Quite odd..
All walls are as cold as the north.

There is no sence to feed on winter. Yuo should give the hive full of sugar at autumn and then let it be in peace.  - like they do in nature.  There is no winter feeding in nature.

If you feed on winter hive starts to make brood.
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Kris^
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« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2005, 06:05:00 PM »

Quote from: Finsky

Quite odd..
All walls are as cold as the north.


Our winter winds tend to come from the north.  For instance, the northern interior of our home is often colder than the rest of the house.

Quote from: Finsky
There is no sence to feed on winter. Yuo should give the hive full of sugar at autumn and then let it be in peace.  - like they do in nature.  There is no winter feeding in nature.


The sugar board, a solid block of sugar candy, was mainly insurance that there would be food for them if they ran out of stores in early spring.  In fact, though, they used very little of it (because they did have a hive full of sugar syrup).  I'll put that one on again this winter, and make more for the other hives.  They put MY mind at ease, if nothing else.   Smiley

-- Kris
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