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Author Topic: Insulation in the Winter  (Read 1746 times)
Catford Beekeeper
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« on: November 11, 2012, 12:44:26 PM »

Can I ask readers about protecting hives from the cold?
Last winter (in London) we had a mild January (daily max temp around 10-12 degr cent) my colonies were very active, producing a lot of new brood. Then in the first two weeks of Febr it was sub-zero, and two thirds of my colonies died (12 out of 18).
However internationally bees survive in much colder winter conditions than in the UK. I wonder if the colonies died because they had 'over reached' themselves in Jan, and couldn't maintain the colony temperature in Feb.
My question is what can I do if these conditions arise again?
For example I have heard of hives being kept in dark sheds in cold weather...
I would appreciate any suggestions from a 'colder winter' perspective!
Thanks

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Finski
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2012, 01:33:24 PM »

Can I ask readers about protecting hives from the cold?
Last winter (in London) we had a mild January (daily max temp around 10-12 degr cent) my colonies were very active, producing a lot of new brood.

 Then in the first two weeks of Febr it was sub-zero, and two thirds of my colonies died (12 out of 18).


However internationally bees survive in much colder winter !



Reason is brood rearing, not cold.

In autumn when hive has any more brood, the colony consumes about 1 kg food in a month.
Let's say, from Octobed to January  4 kg.

Then they start brood rearing. One box colony  will consume 3-4 kg in one week. Hive rises the cluster temp from 23 to 36C and larvae consumes lots of food.


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duck
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2012, 03:16:51 PM »

you MUST have styrofoam hives if you are ever going to keep bees alive ever.
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Finski
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2012, 04:27:35 PM »

you MUST have styrofoam hives if you are ever going to keep bees alive ever.

I can convince that duck downs are the best. Remember to wash bird fleas away. Otherwise they will tickle.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2012, 05:34:33 PM »

Lots of people in Michigan donít use poly hives and lots of people in Michigan loose most of their bees when we have a harsh winter.  Like with all agriculture, there is a bit of gambling involved in your success.  The thing I find attractive about poly hives is they are much more forgiving of bee keeper mistakes in cold winter climates.  We donít all have 50 years of experience like Finski and we are prone to make mistakes with our hives/bees.  Making mistakes in a wood hive is more likely to be deadly to the bees than making a mistake in a poly hive.  The poly hives have saved my butt many times from my dumb mistakes.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2012, 05:46:00 PM »

To answer the OP, we have some pretty big temperature swings in the Midwest of the US as cold Canadian air can come down at any time and put us in a deep freeze (0F, not 0C).  Iíve seen my bees brooding up heavily in early spring and then get shut in with snow and cold for 2 or 3 weeks.  Havenít had a die off from that yet, but I attribute that to my warm poly hives.  In warm hives, the bees can easily gather honey from all the frames since they arenít typically in cluster by March.  

However as Finski says, feeding brood takes a lot of honey and itís certainly possible your bees just ran out.  I would ask you if your deadouts were completely void of honey?  Even the outer frames?
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Finski
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 12:04:07 AM »

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Dead out of hives happens when bad frost is on long time like 2 months.

Actually the cluster is between frames. Bad long frost keeps the bees inside that one gap, and if food is finish, the gap will die.
2 winters ago we had long frost periods- For example flower buds dried out and none of apple trees bloomed in southern Finland.

I saw lots of hives where some of frames gaps have died out.

During warm weather bee cluster formulates again and slices join together. Warm hive helps the reformulation and of course, it saves energy.

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little john
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2012, 05:18:02 AM »

Can I ask readers about protecting hives from the cold?
[...]
I have heard of hives being kept in dark sheds in cold weather...
I would appreciate any suggestions from a 'colder winter' perspective!
Thanks

I did see one of 'Hedgerow Pete's' YouTube videos in which he was keeping hives in a shed covered by a duvet - seemed like quite a good idea to me (to help keep the hive from unseasonal fluctuations in winter temperature)

I'd suggest wrapping your hives to insulate them - but against the warmth, not specifically against the cold (!). And lean a sun-excluder (plywood offcut) against the entrance to keep the sun from waking the girls up, until it's safe to do so.

But clearly Finski's your man on this subject ...

LJ


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Finski
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2012, 08:39:11 AM »

[


I did see one of 'Hedgerow Pete's' YouTube videos in which he was keeping hives in a shed covered by a duvet - seemed like quite a good idea to me (to help keep the hive from unseasonal fluctuations in winter temperature)


You understand that winterring sheds are not needed in Finland. Less it is needed in UK.

Many people say that our hives are under snow and it covers. Not at all. Bee winter starts in October and ends in the end of April. It is 7 months, but snow covers over hives in south is only 2 months and in Central Finland 3 months.

It took 15 years that I had not at all snow cover during winter. Last 2 years they had.


We have now so good polystyrene hives that even in Polar circle guys winter bees out.

.All kind of houses are very expensive.
Beekeeping needs store shelters but not wintering houses.

"If you have a hammer in your hand, all problems look like nail"
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OPAVP
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2012, 11:13:23 AM »

Hi Finsky,

Can you send me the names of Poly. hive manufacturers in Scandinavia please?

Thank you,
OPAVP.
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derekm
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2012, 11:28:48 AM »

having looked at the climatic data for Anchorage.... there should be no difficulty in overwintering Bees in that part of Alaska. if ....
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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?
Finski
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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2012, 12:23:04 PM »

 embarassed
Hi Finsky,

Can you send me the names of Poly. hive manufacturers in Scandinavia please?

Thank you,
OPAVP.


Here is Honey Paradise - hive seller. He sells into many countries. Russia is a big market. He sells for example to UK.

Company has 3000 hives and is a biggest hive owner  in Scandinavia.

http://www.paradisehoney.fi/

The owner is Juhani Waara.

Product names are beeBox and Paradise and Honey

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Honeypaw

This company is a newcomer in polyhives business.

It has over 1000 hives.

http://beekeeping.honeypaw.fi/]http://beekeeping.honeypaw.fi/

Owners are Juha and  Katariina Nuutero

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Honey Corporation

Here is a leading keeping stuff dealer and he sells  Neopack hives, but I cannot find where it comes from
http://www.hunaja.fi/default.asp?id=90DA5777-F08A459E85E8-7AD0282B179D&kategoriaid=2

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

This is from Sweden stuff seller, but you see product names

http://sbio.mamutweb.com/Shop/List/Nackakupan-Langstroth-Dadant/77/1]

Nacka kupan is old poly manufacturer. My first boxes are Nacka from year 1977. Boxes are in good condition.


When you look Nacka, you see that the wall has a thin "mirror". In Honey and Honeypaw boxes you see that the walls are all around 4 cm thick.

I measured with thermometer the temp of walls and it was a surprise. Nacka leaks much more heat outside because it is thinner. But material has been good.





« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 12:57:58 PM by Finski » Logged

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BlueBee
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« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2012, 01:44:56 PM »

having looked at the climatic data for Anchorage.... there should be no difficulty in overwintering Bees in that part of Alaska. if ....

According to the historical records, Anchorage Alaska only averages 2.2C colder than where I live in mid Michigan in January.  Anchorage is pretty warm compared so some places in the upper Midwest like where T Beek lives.  The pacific ocean keeps coastal Alaska warmer than it should be for its latitude.  
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Finski
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« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2012, 02:08:31 PM »



According to the historical records, Anchorage Alaska only averages 2.2C colder than where I live in mid Michigan in January.  Anchorage is pretty warm compared so some places in the upper Midwest like where T Beek lives.  The pacific ocean keeps coastal Alaska warmer than it should be for its latitude.  

My city apartmen is on sea isle. In autumn werather is very warm bceause sea is warm. The snow does not stay on ground as long as sdea is without ice cover.

My summer cottage is 10 miles from sea. Here snow stays on ground one month earlier. Spring ariives about one week dearlier and top temps of day may be 5C higher.

What is most importat is that the zone along sea cost is dry. It is cooler too. That is not a good combination to bees.

But ordinary issue  is what kind of place it is for bees. Average temps do not tell much about weather.

About yields?  How much cultivated areas, how much  bee vegetation, soil, how much other beekeepers

In western coast they say that they have only canola there. In East they have fireweed and raspberry, but not canola

I have everything here. But somehow bees get no calluna honey.

This south east corner is the warmest place in Finland. This is nearest to Siberian summer high pressure.

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little john
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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2012, 04:41:06 AM »

Finski - does Finland have the same dramatic fluctuations in temperature (and weather generally) that we have here in Britain ?  This is what the OP was referring to - and why I think a shed is a good idea. Not compulsory, of course -  but if you already have one (or an empty garage) - then why not use it ?

If we look at averages, then British winters of course are mild compared with Scandinavian countries - but if we look at sudden variations in temperature, then maybe we suffer far more from these, than Finland ?

During the heart of some winters, I have found myself out in the garden in shirt-sleeves on a bright, sunny day, only to be followed within a day or two by day-time temperatures well below zero, and night-time temperatures in double figures below.

British weather is weird - and that's why it's a constant topic of conversation for us. I have known days when we've had bright sunshine, snow and hail, overcast skies and a torrential downpour - all within 24 hrs.

During the winter of 2010, my 50-year old central heating pipes inside the house froze solid when temperatures dropped to minus 20, bringing the ceilings down when they eventually thawed, several weeks later.
 
But it's not the average winter temperature which is the issue, nor even the absolute temperatures themselves (as this isn't a pi$$ing contest) - it's more the sudden and extreme fluctuations we have that send false signals to all forms of wildlife.

From a recent Daily Mail article:

Quote
Temperatures are set to nudged a record breaking 21C from the start of next week as Britain enjoys an Indian summer - but forecasters have warned not to get used to it.
The brief spell of unseasonable warmth could precede a polar plunge, bringing Englandís first snow of winter by Friday, according to Meteorologists.
This year is already Britainís 'strangest-ever' for weather, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said, with the worst drought since 1976 followed by the wettest summer for a century.
But the erratic climate has a few more surprises in store in the coming days, delivering a taste of three seasons in a week - as a golden autumnal weekend is being followed by summer and winter snaps.

LJ
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Finski
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« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2012, 08:08:02 AM »

Finski - does Finland have the same dramatic fluctuations in temperature (and weather generally) that we have here in Britain ?


Our weather fluctuates quite much same way as yours. Low pressure centres take 2 days to come from Britain to Finland.

The whole European weather is commanded by Russian or Siberian high pressure.
It has been very hot there during last 3 years. Enormous forest fires had burn in Russia.
2 years ago it burned so much forest that the area was half of Finland.

Then Putin become angry when near Moscow fires burned 28 fighters on aeroplane depot.
Moscow was partly evacuated for smoke.

Last summer was the hottest summer during 170 years.


What is the point?

On the edges of high pressure it rained a lot. UK has been on that edge area last 2 years.

We had very hot  summer 2011 but this year we were on rainfall zone.

Hot weather ruined Russian corn yields but in Finland continuous rain ruined part of  yield.
I have 50 km to the Russian border.

The big figure was something like that


« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 08:31:12 AM by Finski » Logged

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Finski
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« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2012, 08:53:32 AM »

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I think that some years ago there were no such computers which could describe the total weather on northern hemisphere.
If something happened, a new ice age was coming or it was a green house effect.

edia tends to tell extreme things and it colors our mind in weather issues too. Every day is full of bomming, killing, disasters and catastrphies.
Good news are not news.
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T Beek
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« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2012, 08:18:53 AM »

The 10 acre pond behind our home froze over completely a couple nights ago, but we had mid 40's and sunshine yesterday so my wife and I took advantage and placed the 1" foam shells we're using to wrap our hives for the very FIRST time. 

Everything was pre-cut and ready to assemble so it took less than 1 1/2  hours to cover 8 colonies. 

Our bees, although curious, didn't mind us a bit (they were coming and going to someplace only they knew) and it was much easier and more comforting to this beek, than wrapping in tar paper.  While performing this task we've already discovered some new methods to explore for next season.  Man I love keeping bees  Smiley

If we ever return to a more normal winter my bees will be as snug and warm as they've ever been, thanks to these discussions on BeeMaster.   
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