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Insulating national hives??

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biglongdarren 

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whats the best way to insulate national hives people?...only one of them has an open mesh floor..........
 

Skyhook 

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Key thing is insulate the crown board- ideally 50mm of celcon or polystyrene, but anything is better than nothing.
 

Rosti 

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My proposal to you is Space Board.
  • A single 50mm thick sheet is claimed to be equiv to 270mm of rock wool.
  • Cheap - A sheet is £4.98, that is enough for 3 hives (if you stick two off cuts together for the third hive).
  • Available at B&Q
  • It is certainly sufficiently strong to be self supporting of a roof without the need for any wooden frame. I have just duck-taped the edges for neatness.
  • Easy to work - You can cut it with either a jig-saw or a stanley knife.
  • Also makes the hive stack significantly lower

First year I have used it, previously used an eke stuffed with bubble wrap! still will in addition when/if I put fondant on at Xmas (fill up the holes around the fondant in the shallow feeding ekes)
 

drstitson 

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52.5mm spaceboard (B&Q offer)

1200x500 so:

perfect for 3 dadant sized pieces as is (399 wide - assuming you are putting it inside an eke).

Likewise, can make 3 sets for national if you are putting inside an eke and use the off-cuts.
 

Otleybee 

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Is it really necessary to insulate a National Hive? If the roof needs to be thicker or have insulation in why does it not come as standard. Is this a flaw with the design of National Hives?

I spoke to one experienced Beek locally who maintained that the done thing in his day in the Wharfedale Valley was to use WBC hives for the additional insulation but modern practice seems to have gone away from this.
 

Otleybee 

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Is it really necessary to insulate a National Hive? If the roof needs to be thicker or have insulation in why does it not come as standard. Is this a flaw with the design of National Hives?

I spoke to one experienced Beek locally who maintained that the done thing in his day in the Wharfedale Valley was to use WBC hives for the additional insulation but modern practice seems to have gone away from this.
 

drstitson 

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hive type

"Is it really necessary to insulate a National Hive? If the roof needs to be thicker or have insulation in why does it not come as standard. Is this a flaw with the design of National Hives? "

The point is that the National (and the various other hives types) are built to agreed specifications/standards, most of which were decided upon many years ago.

The OMF is a new "modification" to the specification which has been widely accepted. Any other modifications which prove effective will likewise no doubt become pervasive but a standard is a standard and minor deviations from spec can lead to problems for buyers/users.

see recent thread re croacian "national" hives offered on ebay.
 

biglongdarren 

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i am just gonna palce a shhet of polystyrene in the hive,its about 1inch thick...should i place it under the roof or on top of the crown board folks?
 

oliver90owner 

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Is it really necessary to insulate a National Hive?

Things have moved on since the 1920s when the hive was specified to pull together a standard from the proliferation of sizes at the time.

We now have OMFs with no need no top ventilation.

Years ago 'quilts' were used as cover and insulation, not simple coverboards. Some used sawdust in a box above the cluster/brood, some used straw in a sack, others doubtlessly used other materials and different implementations.

150mm roofs are much better with respect to adding insulation above. Just that most roofs are bought/supplied, these days, on a 'cost' basis rather than a 'thinking ahead' basis.

Bees to replace winter losses were cheap and easy to obtain, many years ago (but not including the years of the Isle of wight disease!). They are now a deal more expensive so relatively small outlays on insulation, to safeguard what, to some, is a sizeable expenditure is not a bad idea, I would have thought.

We are all encouraged to insulate our homes - think back to the early 1900s and compare building practices to those of modern homes. Some comparisons here for the homes of the bees as well, I think.

WBCs are generally thought of as more cumbersome, less easily moved, slower for inspection manipulations, etc. But they were, and still are, a good hive from the point of view of over-wintering. It is just that modern agricultural practices have changed and beekeeping practices must change as well.

It may be a flaw in many designs/formats, not just Nationals. Hives are used from almost equitorial climates to harsh arctic-like winter climates. Insulation requirements for these different areas is never going to be the same! On the same theme, but with less extremes, the National is really a UK (English, even?) design standard, but there are great differences in the harshness of the winters from the far north to the far south and south west regions.

The U values of modern insulation boards are far different from the carpet squares used in years gone by. There are other things to consider here too. Disease transmission, for instance.

So, a little thought and a list of pros and cons might have answered the question.

Hope this encourages all to make a list before posting. The question is good, from a point of making some non-thinkers aware of the alternatives of then and now, but is easily answered simply or more substantially.

The above points are not a written 'brainstorming' list followed by expansion of each possible line of thought , but just of a few ot the factors that came to me as I was writing this reponse. I would think there would be several more additions had I thought more deeply on the subject/topic.

Regards, RAB
 

oliver90owner 

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biglongdarren

under the roof or on top of the crown board

Are these not one and the same place? Or am I missing something here?

Regards, RAB
 

biglongdarren 

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sorry i mean directly on top of the crown broad or stuck to right under the roof........surely they'll still be a space between like an attic of a house?
 

Hivemaker. 

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On the same theme, but with less extremes, the National is really a UK (English, even?) design standard, but there are great differences in the harshness of the winters from the far north to the far south and south west regions.
I agree,the word locality about sums up a lot of things. The below copy of a writing from M Bush website.

All Beekeeping is Local

"In my earlier beekeeping years I was often sorely puzzled at the diametrically opposite views often expressed by the different correspondents for the bee journals. In extension of that state of mind I may say that at that time I did not dream of the wonderful differences of locality in its relation to the management of bees. I saw, measured weighted, compared, and considered all things apicutlural by the standard of my own home--Genesee County, Michigan. It was not until I had seen the fields of New York white with buckwheat, admired the luxuriance of sweet-clover growth in the suburbs of Chicago, followed fo r miles the great irrigating ditches of Colorado, where they give lift to the royal purple of the alfalfa bloom, and climbed mountains in California, pulling myself up by grasping the sagebrush, that I fully realized the great amount of apicultural meaning stored up in that one little word--locality." --W.Z. Hutchinson, Advanced Bee Culture

It seems rather obvious that beekeeping in Florida won't be the same as beekeeping in Vermont, but what people don't seem to realize is that even in similar winter climates beekeeping is still local. The flows you have in Vermont are not the same as you have in Nebraska. The issues of things like condensation may be very dependent on local climate. For instance, when I was beekeeping in the panhandle of Nebraska, condensation was never a problem. But beekeeping in southeastern Nebraska it is. It's actually colder in the panhandle, and yet, because of differences in humidity, it is not a problem there. All of this seems rather obvious, and yet people continue to ask advice and give advice and contradict advice based on their local experiences without any consideration that warnings given by a beekeeper that they think are unwarranted may be in some locales and not in others. Of course this also applies to things like how many boxes and how much weight do they need to get through the winter and when to manage for swarming and when to start queens and when to do splits etc.
 

Moggs 

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BLD - the insulation is there to 'trap' the heat - therefore close contact is necessary (i.e. on top of crownboard). If the insulation is thick enough, it will of course be touching CB and roof. If it's very thick, your roof will be sitting on top of it! A point to note - precise trimming is required to get that close contact.
 

Skyhook 

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Is it really necessary to insulate a National Hive?
No- on the basis that a lot of beekeepers don't. But there's a growing consencus that it's a good idea.

In a book I have from the 1940's, crownboards as such weren't used. Quilts were used year round, and in the winter these would have sacks or other stuff piled on top. Somewhere along the way, the insulation got lost.
 

rae 

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I can see no downside with insulating the roof space. I can see a potential downside with sealing the roof ventilation (you're trading thermal efficiency for the risk of condensation), but with an OMF, there should be sufficient ventilation.

I can see potential problems with wrapping outdoor hives in plastic and the like, in that if something gets loose, the wrapping could act as a water trap and make the hive warm and damp.

Qualitatively, we insulated the roof space of one hive last year, and left the other as normal (both Nationals). I could see no difference whatsoever in the colonies in spring, and it was a pretty hard winter.
 

richardbees 

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biglongdarren,

In reply to your question:- if you want to add a slab of polystyrene you must put it on top of the cover board.....the bees will irremovably cement it down with propolis if you put it on top of the frames.

Richard
 

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