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Author Topic: Insulating UNDER a hive  (Read 951 times)
Oblio13
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« on: August 04, 2013, 09:02:56 PM »

I've been thinking about insulating hives from underneath as well as on top this winter. Seems like it might be counterproductive to simply set hives on top of insulation, though. For one thing, moisture would probably get between the two.

I fished a life raft out of a dumpster yesterday. Not a beach toy, the real thing. It had been slashed to make it unusable, but I cut some pieces from it's floor. The material is a very tough sandwich with vinylized polyester on the bottom, a thin foam core in the middle, and an aluminized reflective layer on top.

Seems like pieces cut to fit inside the floors of hives would block moisture and reflect heat. It's only about 1/8 of an inch thick, so it would still leave an adequate bee space under the frames.

Any thoughts before I kill yet more hives with well-intentioned stupidity?
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Finski
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2013, 11:53:14 PM »


Floor insulation is not a bad idea, but ants note that too and move to live into insulation very easily.

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BlueBee
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2013, 03:27:02 AM »

Floor insulation is a logical step if you’re trying to trap some of the bee’s heat during the winter.  Heat escapes up, down, and sideways thanks to convection currents and radiated long wave transmission (IR).  If you don’t have an insulated floor, you’re going to defeat the purpose of insulating the rest of the hive/nuc to some degree. 

Most of my hives and nucs have 1” to 2” (25 to 50mm) of polystyrene under them.   Polystyrene is usually closed cell and doesn’t transmit moisture or vapor. 

Finski is right about the ants. Sad  They love the stuff!  Don’t let them get inside.  evil 
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Finski
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2013, 06:17:08 AM »

.
Even douple sheet of ply insulate with air gap, but as I said, ants will find it.
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Oblio13
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2013, 07:11:34 AM »

I don't think ants will be a problem during a New Hampshire winter.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2013, 07:51:22 AM »

Don't you have those invasive Finnish ants out there in New Hampshire?

You know, the ones that stay alive down to -20F   grin

The problem is, are you going to wait until December (no ants) to insulate your hives/nucs?

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Oblio13
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2013, 09:30:41 AM »

I winterize the hives in early November. I think the ants are dormant around here long before that. Even if a huge colony of ants somehow got in, they'd be doing nothing but laying around looking like they were dead until spring anyway. I'm just not foreseeing them as a significant problem. Are there any other reasons why this insulation might not be a good idea?
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2013, 10:57:52 AM »

I was considering putting foam insulation under the hives. When the ground freezes, it radiates the chill like a fire radiating heat. Even when air temperatures warm up, that chill will still be hitting the hives from beneath it. I would think that anything that blocks it would be beneficial.
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Finski
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2013, 12:34:25 PM »

Are there any other reasons why this insulation might not be a good idea?

Are your hives insulated generally?

I use same floors yrear around. I do not need summer and winter furnitures.
All stuff takes lots of store room however.

But if you insulate the bottom, just do it!

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BlueBee
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2013, 02:52:17 PM »

Like Finski, I don’t like separate summer and winter furniture.  Wink

I use the same insulated bottoms year around.  If the surface of the hive/foam/bottom has some sort of protective coating (as noted in the OP), it is usually good enough to keep my Michigan ant's out.  I haven’t had to deal with any carpenter ants yet though. 

You might want to rethink your time frame for insulating your hives, especially if you’re doing nucs this winter.  Early insulation seems to extend the time frame in which they’re laying winter bees.  More winter bees = bigger winter cluster = more viable nuc = a good thing for smaller nucs.
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Oblio13
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2013, 06:19:48 PM »

Now that you mention it, I'll probably slide them in before the first frost, followed by the mouse guards.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 07:02:23 PM by Oblio13 » Logged
Finski
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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2013, 02:02:22 AM »

Now that you mention it, I'll probably slide them in before the first frost, followed by the mouse guards.

When hive is full of winterfood, the weigh is quite big.

To disturb hives "after first frost" is not nice idea. Sometimes first frost goes to December here.
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LindaL
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« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2013, 05:16:02 AM »

Hi everyone first i want to say i'm new here and to bee keeping.    But i have a question or maybe a point.    

Bees have been on the planet for thousands of years.  In the wild bees live in trees and where ever else they can find a nice spot to make a hive.  Nature then ensures that the bees who are able to take care of them selves survive and the ones that cant die off.  There by improving the species.   I realize that we have killed off a lot of the wild bees due to urbanization, pesticides, capturing swarms, probably a few other things.    But are we spoiling our bees?  We give them nice isolated homes to live in.  We protect them from creatures (Bears, mice, mites).   We feed them extra when there are not enough flowers around.   Will this in the end be detrimental to the species.    Are we keeping alive bee families that in nature wouldn't have survived due to bad genes?

Linda

Side note my hives are insulated in the sides, front i will probably add something on the top for winter.  Google "Trugstader" for a picture of the type of hive i have. They are common in Denmark I'm not allowed to post links yet.
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« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2013, 05:33:15 AM »

Welcome LindaL.  You raise some good questions.  I sure don’t have all the answers, but it seems to me that insulated hives are probably more “natural” than the 19mm thick wood hives most American bee keepers use.

I’ve got a section of a tree sitting in my back yard in which bees overwintered last year in Michigan.  It weighs a ton because there is so much wood around the bees.  Far more wood than the 19mm thick walls in most human built hives.  4” thick wood (10cm) has an insulation value equal to about 1” thick (2.5cm) polystyrene.  So in that regards, our plastic hives are more in tune with the bees evolution to date. Smiley 

Around here, if the bees can survive the bee keepers, they’ve got some really good genes! 
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Finski
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« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2013, 08:55:08 AM »

   But are we spoiling our bees?  

No. We are breeding them better. It is domesticated animal, but quite wild.

Wild bee or non selected  is very different animal. It must be nasty, that it can protect its hive. It must swarm, that it reproduce.  It has diseases, and no one heal them

In Austaralia it has bee reasearched that  bees in hives and in surrounding nature have almost same genes.
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LindaL
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« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2013, 08:58:23 AM »


Around here, if the bees can survive the bee keepers, they’ve got some really good genes! 


LOL.   I hope mine make it though my first year of bee keeping.   Only had them a week and my boyfriend is calling me a bee stalker i'm always out watching them Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2013, 04:43:45 PM »

Hi everyone first i want to say i'm new here and to bee keeping.    But i have a question or maybe a point.    

Bees have been on the planet for thousands of years.  


Hello, and nice to meet you on the forum here. you bring up some good points, but you need to adjust your time a bit I think:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/10/061025-oldest-bee.html

"Melittosphex burmensis, which has been trapped in amber for the past hundred million years, is the oldest bee fossil ever discovered. It lived in northern Myanmar (Burma) in Southeast Asia about 35 million to 45 million years earlier than the next oldest specimens known to science."
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LindaL
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« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2013, 09:04:29 AM »

Hi everyone first i want to say i'm new here and to bee keeping.    But i have a question or maybe a point.    

Bees have been on the planet for thousands of years.  


Hello, and nice to meet you on the forum here. you bring up some good points, but you need to adjust your time a bit I think:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/10/061025-oldest-bee.html

"Melittosphex burmensis, which has been trapped in amber for the past hundred million years, is the oldest bee fossil ever discovered. It lived in northern Myanmar (Burma) in Southeast Asia about 35 million to 45 million years earlier than the next oldest specimens known to science."



LOL OK i stand corrected  grin  I should have Google'ed it before posting
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