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Author Topic: Winter insulation  (Read 5891 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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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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Finsky
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« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2005, 11:28:05 PM »

Quote from: Kris^


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.


Surely it does because sun is on opposite side. But the hive radiates warm outside from it's all parts. And the night is mostly cold. At spring the difference between minimum and maximum may be 15-20C.

Winter comes from north? Nver heard. It comes because globe runs round the sun in such an position.


The measure of radiation of the sum makes winter and summer.



When we have insulation regulation to homes and buildings, surely they not have different thicknes to diffrenet side walls. The very important direction is the ceiling, because warm air rise upp.

Quote


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.


That kind of food is the worst you can give to bees. It makes them dirsty.

I have long winter. I give sugar solution to 2 box hive 18 liters. In March bee makes their cleansing flight and soon I tseck do they have weight= sugar left. If not, I give capped frames from other hives.

If you have in home yard hives, you can give them 10 liters sugar liquid.

In Finland many use dry sugar at spring but I do not know why.

I still repeat what I have said many times.

there is no sence to

1) feed nucs or hives at summer all the time, because it fills little hive and queen cannot lay eggs enough.

2) feed all the winter. No sence. Bees do not die if you give at autum food proper measure.

If you have snow and cold winter, why don't you use insulated hives. It saves food 30% during winter and speed upp spring development really well.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2005, 08:10:47 PM »

I made a vent similar to what Archie suggested.  I built a frame about 2 inches tall (it's what I had laying around) and drilled holes all around it.  I then took aluminum mesh screen and stapled it about 1/4 inch below the air holes.  I hope it works as planned.  It fit loose on top of the inner cover so I got a strap and tied the whole hive together.  Bees are still able to get up into it because the slot is open in the inner cover.  I don't see this to be a problem.  I hope not anyway.  Pray for my bees this winter.   Tongue
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« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2005, 10:47:39 AM »

An upper entrance in the winter is always a good thing.  It means a pile of dead bees won't trap them.  A foot of snow on the ground won't trap them.  And it means some more of the wet air can get out.
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Michael Bush
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Finsky
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« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2005, 04:24:19 PM »

Quote from: Michael Bush
An upper entrance in the winter is always a good thing.  It means a pile of dead bees won't trap them. .


Yes, this is important!

Also open space between lower entrance and snow is important. If snow is wet and hive is inside snow, nosema will kill more bees than without snow.
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ApisM
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« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2005, 11:33:08 PM »

I manage to get my colonies through extended periods of -40 F.  I insulate with styrofoam and drill a 3/8 inch hole in the top super.  Moisture is the killer, not cold!
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« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2005, 01:23:01 AM »

Quote from: ApisM
I manage to get my colonies through extended periods of -40 F.  I insulate with styrofoam and drill a 3/8 inch hole in the top super.  Moisture is the killer, not cold!


We have talken too little about insulation. Cold does not kill if hive has enough food but insulation is value of gold because in warm hives colony developes at spring more quickly and is able to catch honey earlier.

I have noticed truly when I start to warm upp hives with terrarium heaters. And what is amazing, the biggest hives get best advantage from heating.
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qa33010
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« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2005, 04:56:04 AM »

Hi Finsky!

     Do you use a pad on the bottom or is it a tube set in the corner or a reflector type (old)that sits on top?

David
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Everyone said it couldn't be done. But he with a chuckle replied, "I won't be one to say it is so, until I give it a try."  So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin.  If he had a worry he hid it and he started to sing as he tackled that thing that couldn't be done, and he did it.  (unknown)
manowar422
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« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2005, 11:06:22 AM »

David,
This post will give you some info.

http://beemaster.com/beebbs/viewtopic.php?t=3141&highlight=heater
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qa33010
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« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2005, 05:16:46 AM »

Thanks manowar422!!!

    I don't need it here, but IF I move back up north with the family It's nice to have info available.

David
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Everyone said it couldn't be done. But he with a chuckle replied, "I won't be one to say it is so, until I give it a try."  So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin.  If he had a worry he hid it and he started to sing as he tackled that thing that couldn't be done, and he did it.  (unknown)
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