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Author Topic: Winter Bee House  (Read 7655 times)

Offline Bush_84

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Winter Bee House
« on: October 09, 2014, 06:34:09 pm »
Hello all.  Summer activities are winding down and I now have a little more time to start frequent here more. I moved this summer and the property has a small garden shed I hope to use for housing my hives in winter. I have had a hard time these last two winters with nearly 100% losses.  I hope this shed changes that. I am in the process of insulating.  I have a vent going out that I made out of a dryer vent from an existing hole near the bottom of the shed.  I have not yet made an in vent. My question is about the vent and a fan.  Where do I want to put the in vent and to which vent do I apply a fan?  How often do I run the fan and for how long? 

Fyi I have three hives and this is just a standard sized garden shed. 

Thoughts?
Keeping bees since 2011.

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

Offline jayj200

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2014, 07:52:44 pm »
just leave a smallish sized hole not an open door 3 to 4"  for the bees escape not in the direction of the door.
closer to the bottom of the shed

those sheds are not exactly hermetically sealed air moves in and out all the time.

1-heat rises

2- they should get adequate oxygen ok

3- this would release water vapor
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 02:33:28 pm by jayj200 »

Offline Bush_84

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2014, 09:35:44 pm »
That sounds like a bad idea for a couple of reasons.  First off if light gets into the shed bees will go out the hole and never get back to their hive.  These things need to be devoid of light.  Second all of what i have read says that ventilation is important and a simple hole doesnt seem like enough to transfer the air inside the shed.
Keeping bees since 2011.

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

Offline jvalentour

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2014, 10:03:11 pm »
Why not put your hives in a barn if you have one?  I haven't seen anyone bring it up. Just sheds and hay bales.

Offline GSF

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2014, 10:16:48 pm »
I really can't comment on northern beekeeping. However, I remember reading C.C. Miller's "50 years amonst the bees" he put his hives in the basement during the winter - and he had tons of them.
When the law no longer protects you from the corrupt, but protects the corrupt from you - then you know your nation is doomed.

Offline jvalentour

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2014, 10:44:38 pm »
Well, looks like I have a book to put on my fall reading list.

Offline Bush_84

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2014, 02:05:48 am »
I do have a few barns but nothing that I can ensure that will be queit and dark.  I feel confident that I can insulate, seal light out, and ventilate properly before winter. I am just uncertain of the specifics about ventilation.
Keeping bees since 2011.

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

Offline derekm

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2014, 05:00:29 am »
Hello all.  Summer activities are winding down and I now have a little more time to start frequent here more. I moved this summer and the property has a small garden shed I hope to use for housing my hives in winter. I have had a hard time these last two winters with nearly 100% losses.  I hope this shed changes that. I am in the process of insulating.  I have a vent going out that I made out of a dryer vent from an existing hole near the bottom of the shed.  I have not yet made an in vent. My question is about the vent and a fan.  Where do I want to put the in vent and to which vent do I apply a fan?  How often do I run the fan and for how long? 

Fyi I have three hives and this is just a standard sized garden shed. 

Thoughts?

remove the south facing wall and just put the hives inside facing south. An ordinary shed doesnt insulate but it can keep the wind and snow off
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?

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2014, 06:45:20 am »
Bush,
Why not place the bees in the building up against a wall and add a short tube to the outside as an entrance to each hive.
 Unless that shed is absolutely sealed air tight, it will naturally get plenty of air. If it was full of hives that would be different.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline jayj200

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2014, 10:37:23 am »
That sounds like a bad idea for a couple of reasons.  First off if light gets into the shed bees will go out the hole and never get back to their hive.  These things need to be devoid of light.  Second all of what i have read says that ventilation is important and a simple hole doesnt seem like enough to transfer the air inside the shed.
 

so I stand corrected
Now I am not so sure

your not putting 100 hives in the shed just one or two. Correct?
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 02:36:21 pm by jayj200 »

Offline Bush_84

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2014, 12:14:05 pm »
Hello all.  Summer activities are winding down and I now have a little more time to start frequent here more. I moved this summer and the property has a small garden shed I hope to use for housing my hives in winter. I have had a hard time these last two winters with nearly 100% losses.  I hope this shed changes that. I am in the process of insulating.  I have a vent going out that I made out of a dryer vent from an existing hole near the bottom of the shed.  I have not yet made an in vent. My question is about the vent and a fan.  Where do I want to put the in vent and to which vent do I apply a fan?  How often do I run the fan and for how long? 

Fyi I have three hives and this is just a standard sized garden shed. 

Thoughts?

remove the south facing wall and just put the hives inside facing south. An ordinary shed doesnt insulate but it can keep the wind and snow off

I am about 1/3rd done with insulating the shed.  It's maybe 8ftx10ft and won't be much work to finish insulating and hanging some plywood for walls.  The doors actually open to the south and are double doors about 4 ft wide. Maybe the tube thing will work.  I'll have to give it some thought, but time is running short for to much.
Keeping bees since 2011.

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

Offline jayj200

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2014, 12:27:21 pm »
Well, looks like I have a book to put on my fall reading list.

I really can't comment on northern beekeeping. However, I remember reading C.C. Miller's "50 years amonst the bees" he put his hives in the basement during the winter - and he had tons of them.

this is on our library shel   fhttp://bees.library.cornell.edu/b/bees/browse.html

Offline jvalentour

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2014, 01:40:25 pm »
Thanks Jay, lots to read,

I don't understand the need for dark.  The feral bees do not need dark.  They do not hibernate.

Why not put them in a barn, if you have one?  I suppose the tube is to allow protection for the barn occupants, but, the bees are only doing cleansing flights, not foraging.  Don't they just return to the hive?

An open shed serves the same purpose as a barn.  It just keeps the wind, rain and snow off the hives.  It's still going to be cold.  If moisture is the worst threat, why not use something already built (barn)?  Cellar or basement for that matter.  If you have a small operation or are just beginning, why not? 

Offline Bush_84

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2014, 03:20:36 pm »
My bees don't get much for cleansing flights in winter. There may be a few days in feb but in general the bees that fly from December through February just seem to die, unless you get a real warm and sunny day. So the dark is meant to keep them calm and in the hive.  In a closed shed unless you have a tube connecting them to the outdoors, you don't want them leaving. If there is a place where bees see light they will go right for it.  This will lead them to the outside where they fly around only to realize that they don't know how to get back in.  If they do remember the spot where they got out, they will never make it back to the hive because it's dark.  So if I am going to winter my bees in a shed it'd have to be dark. 

My main concern isn't wet or snow it's cold and wind.  I still don't care what everybody says cold is bad for bees.  Can they survive in cold?  Yes.  Will they thrive in cold?  No.  There is a reason why winter bees live longer than summer bees.  Summer bees work themselves to death and winter bees just hang out.  Now if you have a bee in winter that is in the perfect temp zone where it is not to warm or to cold they don't stress and don't eat much honey.  If you have a bee that is in constant subzero temps all winter, they will have to work hard to keep the cluster warm and consume considerably more honey than the bees in that perfect temp zone.  I had large clusters last year starve in late winter just because it was so cold that they went through three 8 frame deeps. 

If I can keep my hives from 35-45 they will be much better off in the spring.  There will be significantly less winter die off and less honey consumption. This is how I figure it anyways. I remember somebody once saying that a few colonies will keep a small well insulated building warm enough and I may run into more troubles keeping it cool enough as well as ensuring the building is well ventilated.  I can figure out a way to monitor temp but I am thinking more about the ventilation aspect. 
Keeping bees since 2011.

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

Offline Bush_84

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2014, 09:01:29 pm »
Almost done insulating!  I just need to figure out the doors and I'm done with the insulation. One pic has the out vent. My in vent will be over the far back top right. I will have a fan inside a vent along with 90 degree turn. So no light will come from the vents. Things are moving along anyways! 







Keeping bees since 2011.

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

Offline jayj200

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2014, 09:53:21 am »
Looks way overboard to me.
even if i was above the arctic circle. now one has to move each hive every summer and every winter. MORE work.
down here we just tell them go forth and multiply

Offline OldMech

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2014, 11:05:35 am »
Not at all.. its an excellent idea..
   make a slot in the wall and build a small box/adapter to slide the hives against. The bees will come and go from the entrance, but the hive is inside.
   Yes, you want it COLD to keep them clustered, but not SO COLD that they cannot move to reserves. The insulated shed will slow the temp change. Not such a good thing in spring, but an excellent thing in the fall and winter.  35 degrees in there year round would be perfect, but might be hard to accomplish without heating it or cooling it at different times.
   As far as ventilation.. if you decided to have a nap in there you think you would die of asphyxiation? No? Neither will the bees. When spring arrives open the door and let the warmth in. JUST having those hives inside, away from the howling wind, rain and snow will make a big difference.. they will STILL need foam insulation on the top of the inner cover to prevent moisture condensation, but wrapping etc can be bypassed.  i have found that popping the cover on a hive to check reserves and or add sugar/fondant is MUCH more pleasant in a building. There is no wind to chill the bees when you lift the cover etc..
   bees that do escape into the shed?  As mentioned, they will go to the light.. leave the door slightly cracked they will make good their escape. I installed a slid panel. When inspecting in the warmer seasons, i just slide it open. it is amazing. the bees fly up, circle around, and ZOOM through the opening.
   Given a little time, i will have ALL of my hives in buildings. It makes working the hives more comfortable, I have less winterization needs, and the hive temps remain more constant in HOT weather and COLD weather. best of all, my equipment lasts a LOT longer on the hives within the buildings. In the event of a NASTY winter like we had last year, the hives are not exposed to 50 mph winds when it is -25 degrees.. the inside hives wintered SO MUCH nicer than the wrapped outside hives...
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Offline rober

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2014, 11:35:49 am »
I've seen several videos on you tube of European & creation beekeepers using set ups like this. some are actually housed in closed trailers.
Imker-TV: Bienenhaus von Marschall Tito - Jugoslavien
in this one there is a wind up spring powered smoker
Germany: Monsanto leaves beekeepers battling for protection
http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/beehive-18339385.jpg

Offline Bush_84

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2015, 11:44:48 am »
A bit of a grave dig but wanted to update. I have dryer vents on opposing sides of shed. One has a fan attached to a timer. It pulls fresh air in for 15 min three times a day. So that will keep air fresh. I bought a plug in with a thermostat built in. It turns on at 35 and turns off at 45.  That's about perfect.  Have a space heater in there. It's sealed up tight. No light. I checked on my bees a few weeks ago. Just popped the top. At this point in the winter my bees would be really taking big chunks out of my mountain camp sugar,but they hadn't touched much. So far no losses. Havent been able to say that in years. So far this is paying off.

I know some of you in the south, such as jay, think it's a waste, but near 100% losses every winter is a waste. So far I can tell you that my bees are light years ahead of previous winters. If I can get each hive through the winter then this will not have been a waste.
Keeping bees since 2011.

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

Offline GSF

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Re: Winter Bee House
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2015, 12:00:38 pm »
Bush_84; Down South it might be a waste, but where you're at it's probably a must. I've been reading CC Miller's book "Fifty years amongst the bees". He kept his in a basement during the winter.
When the law no longer protects you from the corrupt, but protects the corrupt from you - then you know your nation is doomed.