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Author Topic: Insulation and Heat  (Read 6784 times)

Offline BlueBee

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Insulation and Heat
« on: February 12, 2013, 05:27:00 PM »
OK, if ya’ll want a thread to debate wintering I’ll start a new one.  I don’t care if you go off topic or not; that always happens anyway.

First off, T Beek is absolutely right to be concerned about insulated hives turning into refrigerators.  I have seen that happen on numerous hives and nucs in my bee yard this winter.  Insulation is only a positive thing if the box has a lot of bees in it.  If the bee numbers have fallen too low (due to varroa losses, or other losses) an insulated hive will act as a freezer.  There is NO DOUBT about that.

I had 25mm thick foam hives with ice in them during our last warm up to 44F (6C).  They were ice cold inside.  That happened because the number of bees in the box had fallen too low and the foam keeps out any solar gains.  I had other 25mm thick foam boxes with more bees that were toasty warm.  The only variable between ice cold and toasty warm is how many bees you have.  Too few bees and you might as well winter them in a freezer. :(  

Once an insulated hive gets cold, it’s a losing battle for the bees because of the heat capacity (thermal mass) of all that ice cold honey.  It takes too much energy to unfreeze all that honey.  The 10 to 20 watts of heat the bees can generate aren’t going to cut it.  You either need solar gain (like a wrapped wood hive) or electric heat.  On a sunny day, the heat from the sun on the surface of a wrapped bee hive is WAY more watts of energy than what the bees can ever generate.   Hundreds of watts vs tens of watts.

I’m sticking with 38mm thick foam hives for my bees.  Done right 38mm foam works very well in Michigan if your hives are full of bees.  25mm foam is just too thin for some of my nucs in Michigan.  I’ve got 4 frame medium nucs in 38mm of foam that are still doing fine while a lot of my 6 frame 25mm nucs froze during one of our bitter cold nights (0F/-17C).  

The way to tell if your insulation is acting like a freezer or an oven is to check the temperature inside.  The temp inside a foam hive with a sufficient ball of bees will be toasty warm.  If it’s not toasty warm, you have good reason to be worried. :(      

Let the flaming begin  ;)  

Offline Finski

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2013, 05:36:21 PM »
OK, if ya’ll want a thread to debate wintering I’ll start a new one.  I don’t care if you go off topic or not; that always happens anyway.

First off, T Beek is absolutely right to be concerned about insulated hives turning into refrigerators.  I have seen that happen on numerous hives and nucs in my bee yard this winter.  Insulation is only a positive thing if the box has a lot of bees in it.  If the bee numbers have fallen too low (due to varroa losses, or other losses) an insulated hive will act as a freezer.  There is NO DOUBT about that.

Pure nonsense. Oh my goodness!!!  I can not win stupids in debating. NO DOUBT!

Every single year 2 brood hives deminish so that the colony occupyes only one box. I have not seen a slightes sign about freezer.
It may be half box too, and nothing to do with freezer.
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Offline BlueBee

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2013, 05:41:39 PM »
Well, that didn't take long  :)

Offline Finski

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2013, 05:43:16 PM »
Once an insulated hive gets cold, it’s a losing battle for the bees because of the heat capacity (thermal mass) of all that ice cold honey. It takes too much energy to unfreeze all that honey.  The 10 to 20 watts of heat the bees can generate aren’t going to cut it.  You either need solar gain (like a wrapped wood hive) or electric heat.  On a sunny day, the heat from the sun on the surface of a wrapped bee hive is WAY more watts of energy than what the bees can ever generate.   Hundreds of watts vs tens of watts.


Now Blubee. Stop drinking at once. I have never seen that king of carbage.  What you say, if it is true, none of hives in Finland survive over winter.

.Your sun stories are not from this planet.

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Offline BlueBee

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2013, 05:54:28 PM »
My observations come from planet Earth.  

It truly amazes me that you have not observed that insulation can turn something into a freezer!  Do you know what freezers are made of?  INSULATION!  

Haven’t you ever walked into an unheated (or under heated) insulated house in the winter and discovered it was much colder inside than outside?  Compare that to walking into a greenhouse on a sunny winter day!  

Insulation ONLY works to warm things up if the energy source inside is greater than the energy source outside.  Otherwise it is a freezer.

Offline rdy-b

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2013, 05:55:00 PM »
 bees in tight cluster do not heat the hive --they heat each other
the bees know that there must be open empty cells that they
use as a generation point this heats honey around and next to the frame they
occupy-bees make habitat inclusive to the cluster they dont try to heat whole house
RDY-B-- wondering how a iglue works   :? :lol: 8-)

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2013, 05:59:14 PM »
If the bees only heat the cluster, then why are my foam hives (with big balls of bees) toasty warm to the touch while it is below freezing here? 

I did slip on the ice today, but I didn’t hit my head  :-D

Offline Finski

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2013, 06:02:00 PM »
bees in tight cluster do not heat the hive --they heat each other
the bees know that there must be open empty cells that they
use as a generation point this heats honey around and next to the frame they
occupy-bees make habitat inclusive to the cluster they dont try to heat whole house
RDY-B-- wondering how a iglue works   :? :lol: 8-)

So it goes.

If you measure the temp of inner cover from upwards, when cluster is under the cover, temp may be 20C in the centre and 8C in cover corners.

In autumn a hive uses only 1 kg sugar to heat themselves one month.
When a hive starts brooding, it consumes 3 kg in one week.

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Offline BlueBee

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2013, 06:03:54 PM »
Hive walls act as freezener? Mad idea because bees procude the heat. We have 4 winter months that you do not much see the sun.
Just now sun angle is 14 degree and hives are inside snow. It is same as in London 21.12.
 

The lower the angle of the sun, the more heat that will get absorbed by vertical objects like bee hives.

Offline Finski

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2013, 06:05:02 PM »
If the bees only heat the cluster, then why are my foam hives (with big balls of bees) toasty warm to the touch while it is below freezing here? 

I did slip on the ice today, but I didn’t hit my head  :-D


Do it again that happy hour continues on forum

.Have you considered to keep a helmet?
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Offline Finski

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2013, 06:08:11 PM »


The lower the angle of the sun, the more heat that will get absorbed by vertical objects like bee hives.

You do not understand much about sun. Hive is inside snow and sun is not shining,  - here.

Row of beehives


Sun is shining
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Offline BlueBee

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2013, 06:17:57 PM »
I think you just proved my point.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angle_of_reflection


Offline Finski

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2013, 06:36:45 PM »
 

Haven’t you ever walked into an unheated (or under heated) insulated house in the winter and discovered it was much colder inside than outside?  Compare that to walking into a greenhouse on a sunny winter day!  



Ever? My age is 66 y. I have a unheated summer cottage. I have 2 greenhouses too.

Sunny winter day yes. But sun does not keep hives warm, its bees which eate sugar.

In single wall wooden hive bees consume 50% more sugar than in insulated hive.

When I was about 7 years old, we had quite poor heating system in our house.
In the morning it was about 10C in the kitchen when we woke up to dribk morning tea.
The door was closed that heat stayed better in bed rooms.

During  sauna bath we use to swim in snow.



We do not understand much about cold here. We just are here. Poor theories, sorry



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« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 06:50:19 PM by Finski »
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Offline rdy-b

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2013, 06:56:16 PM »
If the bees only heat the cluster, then why are my foam hives (with big balls of bees) toasty warm to the touch while it is below freezing here? 

I did slip on the ice today, but I didn’t hit my head  :-D

* toasty warm* --bee cluster is not air tight- :lol:--but it is a means of survival
what is more important --the fact that the bee clusters or the r value of Insulation???
 maybe we should ask a eskimo-- ;) RDY-B

Offline Finski

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2013, 07:02:55 PM »
,


One beekeeper here has just measured temperatus of hives, clusters and out temps.

http://mehilainen.foorumit.fi/viewtopic.php?f=117&t=319&start=50


some examples

.date...........out .....free hive air.......cluster

15.1.03........-15C......11C...............26C
17.1.  ......... - 17C.......4C................24C

4.2............... -3C........9C.................20C
6.2............... -11C..... 8C..................20C


More here http://postimage.org/image/e93ch5g4v/

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Offline Finski

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2013, 07:07:32 PM »

 maybe we should ask a eskimo-- ;) RDY-B

Bluebee have asked from  eskimo, and they said that their homes are like freezener.

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Offline BlueBee

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2013, 07:18:04 PM »
Of course their homes are like freezers!  You mean to tell me that in your 66 years you never made an igloo out of snow?  I have, and YES, they are like freezers.

Sometimes I wonder if Finski is actually posting from somewhere in the tropics?

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2013, 07:24:07 PM »
I decided to break out my electric heaters to boost the warmth (and early brooding) in a couple of my hives where the number of bees have dwindled to the point where the hives are acting like freezers.

Would you care to guess what happens in a 38mm thick foam hive when you add in 36 watts of electric heat?

Offline Bush_84

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2013, 07:29:23 PM »
I was just going to ask what you would do then, but I just saw your last post about the heater.  How many watts would you advise per hive? 

Has anybody used the rolls of fiberglass insulation around their hives? 
Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline derekm

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Re: Insulation and Heat
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2013, 07:29:55 PM »
OK, if ya’ll want a thread to debate wintering I’ll start a new one.  I don’t care if you go off topic or not; that always happens anyway.

First off, T Beek is absolutely right to be concerned about insulated hives turning into refrigerators.  I have seen that happen on numerous hives and nucs in my bee yard this winter.  Insulation is only a positive thing if the box has a lot of bees in it.  If the bee numbers have fallen too low (due to varroa losses, or other losses) an insulated hive will act as a freezer.  There is NO DOUBT about that.

I had 25mm thick foam hives with ice in them during our last warm up to 44F (6C).  They were ice cold inside.  That happened because the number of bees in the box had fallen too low and the foam keeps out any solar gains.  I had other 25mm thick foam boxes with more bees that were toasty warm.  The only variable between ice cold and toasty warm is how many bees you have.  Too few bees and you might as well winter them in a freezer. :(  

Once an insulated hive gets cold, it’s a losing battle for the bees because of the heat capacity (thermal mass) of all that ice cold honey.  It takes too much energy to unfreeze all that honey.  The 10 to 20 watts of heat the bees can generate aren’t going to cut it.  You either need solar gain (like a wrapped wood hive) or electric heat.  On a sunny day, the heat from the sun on the surface of a wrapped bee hive is WAY more watts of energy than what the bees can ever generate.   Hundreds of watts vs tens of watts.

I’m sticking with 38mm thick foam hives for my bees.  Done right 38mm foam works very well in Michigan if your hives are full of bees.  25mm foam is just too thin for some of my nucs in Michigan.  I’ve got 4 frame medium nucs in 38mm of foam that are still doing fine while a lot of my 6 frame 25mm nucs froze during one of our bitter cold nights (0F/-17C).  

The way to tell if your insulation is acting like a freezer or an oven is to check the temperature inside.  The temp inside a foam hive with a sufficient ball of bees will be toasty warm.  If it’s not toasty warm, you have good reason to be worried. :(      

Let the flaming begin  ;)  

 the physics is quite straight forward..  and Bluebee you are wrong... I assume you are just being provocative... in the vernacular of Northern England, this is a wind up.
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?