Roof Insulation.

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simon kerr 

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I have just finished insulating the roofs of the hives.
Just wondering, is this something that will make a huge difference to the colony. I have never seen any of the bee stores selling a purpose made roof insulator, anyone seen anything being sold that would fit the bill?
 

Cazza 

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Th***** sell an insulated quilt. Never tried it myself. Doesn't look very thick or insulated in the picture but as I've never seen one in real life this may be an unfair comment. Anyone use these?
Cazza
 

wightbees 

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from what i have read it will help alot and they will not use up so much stores as heat rises and is lost.
I think lol
 

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Last year I used white expanded polystyrene sheet over the crown board and this year I have bought Kauf space board from B&Q, which is advertised as extruded polystyrene sheet, is pink and feels slightly more dense/solid than the expanded which was always a little fragile.

At £3.48 for a 52mm x 500mm x 1200mm sheet giving me two 460mm x 460mm sheets and offcuts I feel it is good value. Some have two sheets, the lower one with a rectangle cut out for feeding fondant.

It cut well with a fine bladed saw and will *probably* cut well with a serrated knife or hot wire.

Top insulation is well worth while and should be stored over spring/summer for re-use next year.

I agree whole heartedly with Wightbees who obviously didn't bunk off to make a cup of tea while I was posting.
I have no experience of the Thorne quilt, but they probably come at a premium, attract postage and a wait for delivery. The other establishment is still open until 8pm today if you want to crack on tomorrow with your marker and your saw,
 
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Hombre 

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Believe me, after looking at the price being asked, you can get four complete boards for the price of one quilt, which looks to be less beneficial, even without considering postage.

If impressed by the silver and black side, then you might like to reflect that the insulation on the inside should negate the advertised effect and beside light pink is bound to impress the ladies.

As is always the case. Think about your bee keeping needs and what is within your own capabilities and time available etc. The big emporiums sell a lot of simple ideas at elevated prices and also rubbish devices only because there is a demand for it. If I was making a product that might not sell too well with the well informed, I would mark it up heavily as well, if only to cover the stock that might be left sitting on the shelf if everyone became smart overnight and had time for a bit of DIY, which not everyone has.
 

steve_e 

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I've just put some fibre glass type insulation in today (the stuff that comes in rolls). I had some left over from some other work so I thought I'd try it.

The plus side is that because it's very loose you can push it into the roof space above the crown board and don't have to worry about cutting a precise amount out.

Don't know about the minus side. Hopefully no-one is going to tell me bees are allergic to fibre glass?
 

drstitson 

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glass fibre

this has been mentioned in previous threads - not good as bees will find ways to get glass fragments into the hive.
 

Poly Hive 

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For Crown Board insulation I go to "Sheffield Insulations" who have branches over most of the UK and buy a dense material called or was called "Floormate" or equivalent. I look for the 50mm, or 2" stuff.

PH
 

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Why roof insulation?

During winter the cluster has temp 23 C andthe heat rses up.
In late winter, when bees start brooding, temp is 36 C in brood cells.

How can you help bees to keep their heat and spare food and muscle work?
 

oliver90owner 

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Hombre, the Th*rne ones are only about four quid apiece. I think you may have been looking at the polycarbonate quilt prices.

But still far in excess of a 'more effective' lump of expanded polystyrene or even the Knauf board (where two sheets, for about seven quid, and a little glue will make top insulation for 5 Nationals) options - just over the third of the cost of the fancy quilt, for the knauf board, and less for the jablite, ex Jew**ns.

I reckon 25mm poly is enough, but the option of adding fondant and the fragility of the 25mm thick polystyrene is something to consider, so mine are 50 mm.

But new beeks also need to realise that the standard 100mm roofs may need some extra security of placement, for windy conditions, when the overlap has been reduced by a half.

Regards, RAB
 

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Hombre. The BQ pink poly insulation, (thanks for the recommendation) 'cuts' with a highly smoothed finished edge with a knife heated for a few minutes over the gas hob. Insulation looks better than the knife afterwards, I should add. Worked a treat for me 'n' my bees. Oh beware the fumes - no doubt poisonous and needs proper ventilation.
 

simon kerr 

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I went into Travis Perkins, asked if they had any broken insulation board. I got 2 broken 8x4 sheets for a quid, they are 1" thick each, so I duck taped it together with the 3rd square having a cut out for the fondant tray. so hopefully will help them when it gets colder.
 

nonstandard 

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Hombre. The BQ pink poly insulation, (thanks for the recommendation) 'cuts' with a highly smoothed finished edge with a knife heated for a few minutes over the gas hob. Insulation looks better than the knife afterwards, I should add. Worked a treat for me 'n' my bees. Oh beware the fumes - no doubt poisonous and needs proper ventilation.

I just cut mine with an old (cold) kitchen knife I keep in the garden shed, ! sheet was enough for 2x Smiths and 1x national, I cut it to fit inside the internal roof supporting strips. I must admit the smiths 6" roofs look a lot better than the 4" national one. :)
 

drstitson 

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knauf spaceboard cuts fine with a kitchen devil type breadknife without heating so no spoilt knife afterwards (although my office floor at work is rather a different story - must get the cleanet to hoover if i can make space amongst the bee stuff!!!)
 

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After somebody's recommendation we trotted off to Wickes and got spaceboard. Due to dopey planning we cut it on-site on a very windy day with a Stanley knife.
Precision wasn't good - just a big square to sit on top of the crownboard.
I can say if you need exercise then this approach is for you. Chasing the offcuts across a freshly ploughed field in high winds is a lot cheaper than gym membership or a Wii.
Sam
 

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For Crown Board insulation I go to "Sheffield Insulations" who have branches over most of the UK and buy a dense material called or was called "Floormate" or equivalent. I look for the 50mm, or 2" stuff.

PH
Poly - excuse probably dumb question, but do poly hives need crown board (or indeed any) insulation?
 

RoofTops 

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No, but a sheet of thickish polythene or a clear plastic rigid sheet under the roof is commonly used. The roof then lifts off easily and the sheet peeles back with little disturbance to the bees. Not everyone uses them but I strongly recommend it.
 

oliver90owner 

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a sheet of thickish polythene

And almost a must, I have decided, if a hive is split into two colonies (so easy to do with some polynucs). Roof off and still a choice of which side to open.

Regards, RAB
 

Poly Hive 

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I use a timber crown board for my poly hives, I don't bother for the nucs.

When I was referring to insulation I was meaning for timber Nats.

There was a great deal of research done at Craibstone into wintering, cluster size and so on and they came up with the ventilated floor, (now of course common) and top insulation as the best method of wintering they could find.

All this many years pre to the net so nothing will be on line about it sadly.

PH
 

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Silly old fool?

Overwintering Your Bees: A Warning.
From the Preface of the ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture (1947 Edition).
In the late (18)60’s and early (18)70's, Root* believed that bees needed warm housing during winter. Accordingly, he built a special winter repository building large enough to hold fifty colonies of bees, and yet leave a space for 24 inches of packing between the walls of the building and overhead. In this building he put fifty colonies of bees in the sincere and sure belief that the bees warmly housed would winter successfully. Did they? He had one of the heaviest winter losses ever known in the history of his beekeeping. The floor of the building was covered with dead bees. The colony heat developed a temperature in the room that caused the bees to fly out in the darkness and drop down on the floor to die.
The next winter he decided to give his bees plenty of cool, fresh air from outdoors, so he constructed an underground tile line, running from the outside of the building to the centre of the floor inside the building. He also put in a chimney to let the foul air escape. Again he suffered a heavy loss. Next, he decided to put in a stove in order to create an artificial draft, and on the coldest days he built a fire. While the circulation of air was improved, the temperature rose so high where the bees were, that again the bees flew out and died on the floor.
Undaunted, he tried again, and this time he left the colonies out doors after they had built up into good condition in the fall, on their summer stands. If he had left them uncovered it would have been well. But no, he still believed in artificial heat, and covered the hives with stable manure. The chemical heat generated was too much of a good thing and again he lost very heavily. He could not give up the idea of indoor wintering, so he built a greenhouse, large enough to take in about ten or fifteen colonies of bees. He believed that the bees needed mid-winter flights and that they needed sunshine and brood to replace the loss of old bees. The bees did fly out, but often did not get back to their hives. The bright sun lured them out but they bumped up against the glass. They dropped dead on the floor of the greenhouse, and the loss was as great as ever.
Although the exploitation of new and untried ideas cost him money, he still cherished the hope that bees needed a warm room during the winter. He next built another double-walled building or a house apiary. In this he placed his colonies around the walls with the entrance leading to out-doors so bees could fly on warm days. To keep up the temperature in the building he put in an oil stove. Now he believed he would solve the problem. Well, the warm air inside forced the bees outdoors when the air was too cold. They chilled and died in the snow and the colonies dwindled. He finally found that artificial heat for bees in a building or outdoors was a mistake.
*A.I. Root was the founder of the worlds longest established beekeeping supply company.
 

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