I liked the theory behind the “heat bubble” design that Derekm is fond of, and I wanted to experiment with various versions of that this winter. If the condensation problem could be solved, that should be the most energy efficient design there is. I’m not real comfortable with the idea of an open bottom due to thermal reasons. A lack of insulation underfoot makes for a cool room! However if it comes down to wasting heat vs a cold shower for the bees, I’ll go with wasting heat.
Yes I know what I have written doesn't seem to make sens, and I had a hard time understanding it in the beginning.
How could cold floors bee a good thing in the winter time, surely it would bee better with warm bees in the winter.?
The biggest problem for the bees in the winter is getting rid of excess moisture and condensation .
I think the whole idea with poly vs wood is that the poly hives are easier for the bees to maintain a constant temperature.
Because of the insulation the bees don’t have to work as hard to keep a warm stable temperature, this means that they use less honey/sugar supplies throughout the winter. If the eat less there bowls will bee not as full and they wont poop inside the hive.
Small or week hives can bee help through the winter if they are kept in a place were the temperature, humidity are constant and they are not in a draft, a shed,barn, garage, or some quiet location.
All hive should bee of the ground, 20-40cm to escape damp and cold radiating from the ground.
Also the poly hives stop both heat and cold radiating into the hive, like a cold draught from a window in winter.
General drift forms for my hives are;
Winter, open with draft over the floor to vent moisture
Spring, after cleansing flight close the ventilation with a small front opening, this helps them keep the brood warm as the old bees die off and before new bees hatch.
Summer, open ventilation so they can cool the hive and dry nectar to honey
Fall, depends on feeding and how late, early, open so the can dry winter stores, late, closed so they can keep warm, make wax to cap cells.
If you have a hot hive that has brood late in the fall opening the ventilation and cooling the hive will help stop the brood cycle.
If you miss closing the ventilation in the spring the hive will not preform well, very important to get an early build up.
All the old beekeepers fight but one thing they all agree on is the cold is not a problem for any normal hive with stores, but wet bees are not happy and will bee cold dead bees.
Ps yes we insulate our floors in our houses.