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Author Topic: Insulation  (Read 3527 times)
Mici
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« on: November 03, 2006, 12:16:20 PM »

Ok, winter's here, it really kicked in . from temperatures as high as 20 C, to only 5 C in the afternoon, in less than 2 days.
bees are ready for winter and are in cluster. now, i want to know what insulation should i put in.
a short desription of my situation. Here as i've said a few times before, we keep in AŽ hives, one lower entrance, hive is accesed from the back (the whole back side opens), the hive has two compartments, bees are only in the lower during the winter the upper one is closed, blocked. anyway, most beeks use some sort of rubber foam, two inches thick, to close the back side, while the doors remain opened, just so the moist doesn't stay in the hive. many years ago they used hay.

anyway, i've rearanged the hive in a way, so the bees have lower and upper entrance, since all beeks here advise this for winter, plus i talked to Trot a lot about it. now, what i want to know is, would styro-foam be OK to insulate the back side? since the moist can go out in the front upper entrance?.

i hope you can picture my situation, if you can't look at my gallerie for help, otherwise just say you don't get it, i'll try to describe it better.


PS.: Trot, i've sent you 2 PMs, i opened this topic since i didn't get your reply, if you see this please reply me, you are the most aware of my situation.

thanks to all
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Trot
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2006, 03:34:41 PM »

Sorry Mici, I did not get your mail!?
If I did, you know that I would answer - pronto!

Styrofoam is OK. I use it myself and had used it for about 30 - odd years.
Just use the white kind - it lets out moisture. The others are denser and seem to be waterproof...

Regards,
Frank -Trot
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Mici
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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2006, 03:44:11 PM »

hmm, strange, i sent you a PM on our(Slovenian) forum, about insulation. ah well

humm, your answer puzzles me huh styrofoam lets out moisture???, are you sure about this? or are we talking about two different things, i mean stiropor, the white foamy granules which should hold moist out, that's why i'm asking.
it looks like this
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Finsky
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2006, 12:03:36 AM »

On my beeyard area I have  -15C now. Tomorrow forecast promises +2C. Then I give oxalic trickling.

We had bad storm here and I suppose that many hives have lost  outer cover.

Styrofoam board does not let moisture go through, that is sure. If it does so, it lets rainwater leak in.

I have 150 km to drive to my bee yard. It takes 2 hours and then I must  shovel snow off that I may drive into my cottage yard.

 
« Last Edit: November 05, 2006, 12:08:29 AM by Finsky » Logged
Trot
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2006, 10:33:05 PM »

Mici,

I thought that we discussed this before?  I must have mentioned that on top of inner cover one has to put a "teen-test", a "fibre-board", a homosote panel which will wick the moisture out !
In cold climates that has to be covered with Styrofoam, (the white kind) I was told that the white kind is made for exterior wall application. ( It will breathe - to a degree? )  As blue, green and pink - will not, and are for bellow-grade application. . . . 

Will Styrofoam let moisture out?  Perhaps "moisture" is not a proper word to use here?
I do not know it all, like some!  But I am trying to explain the best I can.
We are concerned about the vapor actually a gas produced by bees "burning " honey as winter heat. When this vapour hits cold surfaces it creates moisture in this condensation creates water droplets, (which can and do, Finsky) often drip on cluster...
The Styrofoam prevents this from occurring...

Regards,
Frank
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2006, 12:21:24 AM »

The word we're looking for is condensation.  The moisture condenses on the underside of the inner top and rains back down on the bees--over and over again during the winter.  The condensation freezes (ice) lowering the internal temperature of the hive forcing the bees to use more stores to stay warm.  If the bees come in contact with the ice they die.  If the queen comes in contact with it the entire hive dies out.
Proper ventilation of moisture from the hive is more important than insulating it.
venting gets rid of the vast majority of the moisture, insulation just slows the condesation/freeze rate.
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Finsky
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2006, 12:52:19 AM »

The moisture condenses on the underside of the inner top and rains back down on the bees.

In this case it must be too much room in the hive. If hive is constricted to the proper size of colony, the heat from bees keep the inner cover so warm that raining do not happens over the ball. But if inner cover does not have enough insulation, it makes droplets over the ball. Yes I have  opened hives several times during frost. Insulation and warmer space  transfers the dew point to longer distance from bee ball.

When I had -8C outside hives had ice crystals in the deep corners. On the bottom board I may se a plate of ice and "ice carrots" hanging in lower parts of frames.

If you have proper ventilation between inner and outer cover, vapor condenses to outer cover and drops back into insulation. Sometime I have water like poured into insulation. 

So, we say that inner cover respires = it moves moisture from inside through the cover and it's insulation. The heat of bee ball keeps moisture moving in material. The main water course outside is the air flow from upper entrance.

We may see often bees ventilating in the middle of winter  in the upper entrance even if it is frost outside. They make air to move if it is uncomfortable in winter ball.

Times ago  I regret to professional beekeepers that I have mold in hives after winter. They said that reason is that I leave too much room for colony. After that I tried to restrict colonies into one deep but I lost some best hives. They run too hot during winter.  But still, it is important to evaluate how much bees need during winter. Even if bees are in good condition, moisture makes mold in periphery frames.

I have not seen that water makes harms to bees but in moist condition nosema makes. When it is a lot of snow and it is wet, colonies are in worse condition after winter than in situation that lower entrance is above snow surface. 





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Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2006, 04:02:49 AM »

Human house insulation

To understand the insulation construction we may look at human house wall. Order is here this:

1) Inner wall = room wall
2)   horisontal frames + ligt isulating and steam stop (hinds the dew point to go into wall)
3) vertical frames + main insulator like glass wool or stone wool.
4) Wind stop = broad board, tar paper or paper which have mirror like aluminium folio inwards. It reflects heat radiation back.
5) Air gap for  ventilation
6) Outer wall or cover against wind and rain. It may be board, brick etc.

Stryrox is used agaist the ground and it blocks the ground moisture and cold. Styrox has bad fire load, so it is not nice in house walls.

Since energy crisis 1975 Finland have reseached a lot insulation and moisture problems in houses.  30 years and we still have big problems.  It seems that it is not easy even to experts. One problem is that we handle a  water in mnay sites in houses.  A little leak somewhere and mold problems are ahead.

http://www.isover.fi/fi/Pienrakentaja/?intDataObjectID=11403&wide=true&wide=true&intProductID=18686&Rakenne=1

.

« Last Edit: November 06, 2006, 04:07:54 AM by Finsky » Logged
Mici
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2006, 10:20:05 AM »

yes, we've  discused this before, but i rather duble check than loosing my bees.
the thing is, i am the only one around here, that uses 2 entrances drugin winter, i made some modifications, so bees have the upper entrance also. the entrances are on the same side. here, a picture,. i know i'm no artist but i hope you'll be able to understand it.  with green i drawed my modifications, a tunel that provides them the extra upper entrance. now, what i want to know is, the pink colous, does the insulating material have to breathe?? my guess is no, since the fresh air intake is at the lower entrance, the moisty air can get out at the top?
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Trot
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2006, 11:05:06 AM »

Mici,

you have done a good job in providing the upper entrance in AZ hives - which originally lack this.
By looking at the drawing I noticed that the pink, (insulation) stops at the back corner? 
Is this just a glitch in the drawing?
Just checking Mici...  Got to make sure that the insulation is continuous over the back of the brood-chamber!?  Cause if not, condensation might form in/on the back corner.

And your theory is right.  Moist air will exit from the top entrance. But, like Finsky said it well, the top, breathable, insulation will draw the "dew-point" somewhat further from the cluster.  .  .  .

Well done Mici!  Now you are the first with top entrance in an AZ hive in whole Europe... Wink


What about "penasta guma?" (foam)  Beekeepers in your country real like that stuff and claim that works excellently for them. I am not aware that anybody would use it here?(Canada)

Regards,
Frank
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Finsky
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2006, 11:17:29 AM »


In inner cover I use used foam plastic mattress piece. It is very handy and I get from here and there new stuff.

Inner cover is in front of picture http://bees.freesuperhost.com/yabbfiles/Attachments/Kuva_049.jpg
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Trot
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2006, 11:27:20 AM »

Thank you Finsky!

If it works in Finland, I will give it a try next year...

Regards,
Frank
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Mici
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2006, 12:29:24 PM »

hummm, i thought that if i have proper ventilation, i don't need to insulate the back side, i mean, if we don't insulate them from sides, why insulate the back side. i thought that closing the net on feeders would be enough, so the air wouldn't escape at the back.

why would one need breathing insulation if one has proper ventilation. doesn't breathable material have low insulating capabilitys? if the insulation and ventilation works, the insulation does not need to breath.

the rubber foam is very popular from many reasons. cheap, easy to store, reusable, and the best of all for keepers, it insulates while it still breathes a bit. as i've said, why would i need breathable insulation if i have ventilation?
the rubber foam is usually placed only at the back, while back doors remain opened, so the moist can escape at the back. but we've discoused tzhis before, it isn't very good since ventilation occurs directly throu cluster.
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Finsky
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« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2006, 12:44:38 PM »

why would one need breathing insulation if one has proper ventilation.

I don't know. Beekeepers have tens of good ideas which they think that they are only ones in the world. Some are mad with their constructions.

We have awfully much structures which are used in hives. And they are in different climates.

To me such a structure is good which works 30 years.  Another thing to me is that if structure or construction does not bring honey from field, it is same what it is if it works.

It sure, that in my climate insultaion is very important and it is important for spring build up and for early yield. Stryfoam deeps were very expencive but colonies developed so fast that boxes brought they price soon back, almost in same year.

.
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Trot
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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2006, 03:27:24 PM »

Mici,

before AZ hive did not have top entrance - that is why breathable insulation was a must! It was the only way to get rid of some condensation - not all !

Now you have top entrance...  Some kind of insulation is still needed to stop the humidity from condensing on the contact with the cold surfaces which in AZ hive are the back and top on queen excluder which in winter time acts as the top of the hive.
This will all occur before the humidity will have a chance to get out through the top hole. Mind you, this will now be less severe  then before - without the top hole...

The sides you don't insulate cause hives are stacked - touching one another and thus keep on another worm.
The backs of the Hives are open and are in the bee house which is not heated - there fore in the bee house is in winter time colder than outside cause the interior does not get any heat. The interior of the bee house gets as cold, or colder than what was the coldest previous temperature.
In other words:  When you get periods when temp is 30 below, the interior Will be say, 30 below!  But when temps outside warm up, the interior stays at 30 and will only warm up through time, or faster if it is in use - which bee house is not.

Regards,
Frank
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Mici
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« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2006, 04:05:26 PM »

hmmm, i still don't know, rubber foam or styrofoam???, i already bought the styrofoam but nevertheless. but when i start thinking...if LR hives have only 2 entrances and other sides are close, why should i use breathable insulation. hell, i'll go with the styrofoam and hope for the best, 2 inches thick styrofoam is surelly more than enough. but i must add, the bees didn't have the time to get used to using the upper entrance, should this concerne me?
hell, he who dares wins Undecided

hehe, i have only five hives and they're outside so..
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2006, 04:57:43 PM »

For the sake of clarity think of breathable insultation as a blanket.  It provides/traps warmth but still allows air & moisture through. 
For moisture escape I find it best to have the upper vent/entrance as high in the hive as possible.  Any space between the top and the upper entrance/vent can still trap moisture.
For Finsky: here in the States a lot of beekeepers use a migratory top that does not utilize an inner top.  It does not "telescope" over the edge of the hive but is more like a board made to the exact dementions as the box with cleats on each end to keep it on the hive. 
This skews conversations on vents and moisture as that application must be considered here. 
Migratory tops are called that because it allows the hives to be stacked with out gaps between them, which is vital for load stability when transporting 100's of hives on trucks from North Dakota to California for Almond pollination.  Most hives arranged on pallets use migratory tops and almost all commercial beekeepers use them.
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Trot
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« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2006, 07:24:38 PM »

Don't worry about bees getting used to them?!
They already know it is there. 
When time comes they will happily use it!   grin

Regards,
Frank
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Finsky
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« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2006, 08:42:47 PM »

hmmm, .. why should i use breathable insulation.

I made those solid wood boxes. Then I added later the insulation plates. Very quickly wood start to rotten.

You have construction where part absorbs water and some do not let it out.  hmmm... you have almost aquarium for bees.
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Mici
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« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2006, 10:04:29 AM »

You have construction where part absorbs water and some do not let it out.  hmmm... you have almost aquarium for bees.

hmm, very true, so, the upper insulation MUST be breathable ( rubber foam) while the side isn't so very important (styrofoam)
so so many pros and cons for breathable insulation...coz on the other hand, we humans also use styrofoam, it is true that we ventilate our living quarters, but bees to have a passive way of ventilation, two entrances.
hell, what can i use those 5 styrofoam bords for now... huh rubber foam it is



Trot, i'm still very worried, what if i wait for a sunny (warm) day and close the lower entrance, to see if they'll use the upper one? or is it to late now?

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