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Author Topic: Over Wintering Top Bar Hives in Canada  (Read 1101 times)
td182b
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« on: September 28, 2013, 04:59:14 PM »

Anyone from Canada having success over-wintering top-bar hives in Canada? Will they be able to move horizontally? I am in the north end of the Okanogan, lowest winter temperatures in the -30 C, -20 F range.
I'm really interested in these, I have a few Langstroth hives, but am really interested in letting the bee's do their own thing, and I would rather not have to use the chemical treatments if I can avoid it. Too many years of farming with agricultural chemicals caused me to have to sell the farm and move off the prairie's.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2013, 11:07:39 AM »

I get -27 F sometimes for a few weeks and it hasn't killed my top bar hives.  Any hive, of course, can die.  I think the important thing with a top bar hive is that the bees are at one end the the stores in front (or behind if you see it that way) of them so they can eat their way to one end and not leave stores behind them.  When I have lost a horizontal hive it is usually because the cluster was in the middle and ate its way to one end leaving stores at the other end that they couldn't move to.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
td182b
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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2013, 01:10:11 AM »

Thanks, makes me feel better. I really want to try the top bar hives, and your low temps are colder than anything we should experience here (unless we're going into Global Cooling again....)
I have a band saw mill, so was thinking of making the outside boards of the hive at least 2 inches thick to help with the hot/cold insulation factor. Thoughts?
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td182b
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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2013, 01:35:28 AM »

I get -27 F sometimes for a few weeks and it hasn't killed my top bar hives.  Any hive, of course, can die.  I think the important thing with a top bar hive is that the bees are at one end the the stores in front (or behind if you see it that way) of them so they can eat their way to one end and not leave stores behind them.  When I have lost a horizontal hive it is usually because the cluster was in the middle and ate its way to one end leaving stores at the other end that they couldn't move to.

Just a note of interest; I have your book, 'The Practical Beekeeper'. Extremely interesting reading.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2013, 08:50:57 PM »

More insulation won't hurt, of course.  Some insulation on the roof will help more than any place else.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Mannanan
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« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2013, 03:37:17 AM »

Wow! That's cold. We don't get it that low here, probably only down to +10F at worst. Had 2 TBH's in the back yard for the past 5 years and not lost a colony to winter yet. As Michael suggests, insulation on top of the roof is I think, the best place to put it. That's all I do, nothing else inside the hives. As is often quoted, its not the cold that kills bee, its the damp and the mould.
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