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Author Topic: Heating a hive  (Read 1231 times)

Offline ZuniBee

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Heating a hive
« on: May 01, 2007, 07:17:55 PM »
Ok, I know winter is a long way off .... but I have been thinking about heating an something doesn't seem right.

Does anyone know the effect of heating a hive in the winter? My son has devised a solar heater that could maintain heat in the hive. I'm sure the bees eat less when they are cold and not moving. What would happen if the hive was heated in the winter? The bees would not freeze to death but would they survive jut being in a warm hive without flying outside? I'm not talking about heaing to 70 but if you keep it at 45 or so.

It just seems to me that they would eat more and be more restless if they didn't hibernate.....

Offline thegolfpsycho

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Re: Heating a hive
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2007, 07:41:57 PM »
I think Finski introduced the heater idea a couple years ago.  The weather here is very unsettled in the spring, 89 on Sunday, chance of snow this Friday.  So I tried it with 10 packages a couple years ago.  They did great, so I used it with some small splits last year as well. 

Cold doesn't kill bees.  They may cold starve, but that's a different problem.  I think a lot of people experienced winter losses this year because it was too warm, the bees kept brooding up, and used up their stores when normally they would have been clustered.  The heater is to help them to expand the brood nest and build up faster.  It has been discussed at length so look for threads on terrarium heaters.

Offline Robo

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Re: Heating a hive
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2007, 09:48:06 PM »
I have had good success with (2) 7 watt night lights on the bottom board that turns on below 32F. I'm too cheap to buy the terrarium heaters :-D. This seems to be enough to allow them to move to new stores if needed, but not warm enough to make them fly.  If you get it too warm they will fly to their death on cold days (don't ask me how I know :-P)

As golf suggested, I also turn them on continuously in the Spring as it does help them build up brood faster
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline Finsky

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Re: Heating a hive
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2007, 10:29:46 PM »
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I have known heating 40 years  but 4 years ago I was obliged to try what ever to keep my coffee cup size colonies alive. I lost 60% of my hives. But that catastrophe was plessing to me.

Electrict has high price. It is cheaper to winter with sugar. Too much heating disturbs winter ball.

I have wintered 2-3 frame colonies and they go splended over winter with 3W heater. Such colony is value queen.

Spring heating is very productive. With pollen patty and heating spring build up is 3 times faster than with natural way.
When outer temperature is +17C, heating is not needed. But nights are cold in spring. Heating makes hive corners warm and bees may occupy larger area from frame for brood.

Big hives get biggest advantage from heating. Build up is enormous. Then you may give emerging brood frames to weak colonies and they will be quickly normal foragers.

15 w cabel heaters are best for big hives. They are cheap and easy to use. http://www.reptilica.de/product_info.php/product/Lucky_Reptile_Thermo_Cable

I have now 25 heated hives. I heat them 3 months from March to beginning of June.

The basic of warm economy is insulated brood boxes.


Offline ZuniBee

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Re: Heating a hive
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2007, 11:05:09 PM »
Great information! Thank you all.