Using Sheep’s Wool As Insulation

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markb2603

House Bee
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
109
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44
Location
Donegal, Ireland
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
4
I’ve come into possession of a rather large bale of sheep’s wool. Is this any good for insulation in hive roofs instead of PIR boards? I’m also thinking of making a few insulated ekes for fondant feeding over winter and could use some of it for this project.
 
I’ve come into possession of a rather large bale of sheep’s wool. Is this any good for insulation in hive roofs instead of PIR boards? I’m also thinking of making a few insulated ekes for fondant feeding over winter and could use some of it for this project.
I used it when I was apiary manager as one of the committee didn’t like the idea of PIR. It was supplied by @Wilco and worked very well.
 
Great, I’ll give it a go as I don’t have a clue what else to do with it! Thanks
 
Some frozen foods come with wool insulation instead of polystyrene. I've been using that in some hives
 
I feel sure it used to be common to use wool (perhaps in a hessian sack or similar?) to insulate the crownboard over winter.

James
 
Were the sheep ever treated with insecticides? (Sheep dip etc)
Who uses sheep dip these days? A drench gun is used these days which is run down there back and across there hind quarters and not usually administered around shearing time .
Nowhere near as bad as the dip for sheep which can cause cancer and nerve problems in us

Edit: I think sheep dip is band in this country.
Sheep dip
 
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I think sheep dip is band in this country.
don't be silly - of course it isn't, certain 'dips' maybe but sheep are still dipped as a matter of course, even if just to clean the fleeces before shearing
 
Some frozen foods come with wool insulation instead of polystyrene. I've been using that in some hives
Those who trendily feed their dogs raw food always have loads of wool insulation - i've been stockpiling....
 
Who uses sheep dip these days? A drench gun is used these days which is run down there back and across there hind quarters and not usually administered around shearing time .
Nowhere near as bad as the dip for sheep which can cause cancer and nerve problems in us

Edit: I think sheep dip is band in this country.
Sheep dip
Sheep farmer here. The gun down the back is for cypermethrin fly killer. It can definitely be used from late spring onwards through late autumn to combat fly strike, so before shearing July/August. Withdrawal times have to be observed for shearing because you're not allowed to present treated sheep to a shearer in case of skin reaction. We all try to avoid the use of fly strike meds completely before shearing, but with climate change I think this will become more and more difficult.
Cypermethrin kills flying insects that come in contact with it. The various permutations act in different ways on various stages of the insect and have short-to-very long efficacy times. Fly strike is gruesome and often deadly, the fly lays eggs in the wool and within 24 hours the maggots are burrowing into the sheep's skin. Research in Australia and New Zealand has shown that there is a strong genetic component to susceptibility, and there are big efforts now to breed it out of the flock. We certainly don't retain anything that gets fly strike and if a ewe gets struck, her lambs are not kept for breeding either.
Sheep are normally dipped in autumn after shearing. Many people are dipping just now, in spring, last year's lambs mainly. The dip is diazanon. It is OP and not banned. In fact it is the only truly effective means of a 100% kill of sheep scab (a bloodsucking mange mite specific to sheep), a formerly reportable pest which is making a comeback thanks to people not dipping. Dipping used to be mandatory but I believe it was stopped during the foot and mouth at epidemic.

@jenkinsbrynmair dip doesn't clean the fleece, and dipping a sheep in full wool wouldn't be done because the sheep isn't in the bath long enough for the dip to get to the skin. Dye is often put in the dip and that's why you will see a field of sheep that look quite yellow or weirdly grey or brownish. It's's an indicator to a buyer that they have been dipped. Most pedigree breed sales require that the sheep are dipped before sale.

Dipping is a complex affair now, as you say the health risks are well known. Only licensed operators can do it, full hazmat kit etc. It doesn't affect the sheep as the effects have to accumulate over many years.
So yes you may get fleece that is treated. If using wool, check your source! Wool sheared in late summer should be perfectly safe because if the sheep were dipped, it would have been almost 10 months previous. Unless they have used flystrike stuff before shearing!
 
@jenkinsbrynmair dip doesn't clean the fleece, and dipping a sheep in full wool wouldn't be done because the sheep isn't in the bath long enough for the dip to get to the skin.
many around here will dip in clean water (usually run them through a river) before shearing - it's not meant to get to the skin and I doubt it has a great cleaning effect but it's just following a tradition in the hills around here, with the price of fleeces nowadays, most don't bother.
 
@Beth it’s been some years since I looked after sheep I help with lambing at home and my eldest with his flock but that’s as far as it goes, like @jenkinsbrynmair we use to run them through the dore river
So why say dipping is banned if you didn’t really know? Thank you @Beth for some sanity on the subject.
 
Sheep farmer here. The gun down the back is for cypermethrin fly killer. It can definitely be used from late spring onwards through late autumn to combat fly strike, so before shearing July/August. Withdrawal times have to be observed for shearing because you're not allowed to present treated sheep to a shearer in case of skin reaction. We all try to avoid the use of fly strike meds completely before shearing, but with climate change I think this will become more and more difficult.
Cypermethrin kills flying insects that come in contact with it. The various permutations act in different ways on various stages of the insect and have short-to-very long efficacy times. Fly strike is gruesome and often deadly, the fly lays eggs in the wool and within 24 hours the maggots are burrowing into the sheep's skin. Research in Australia and New Zealand has shown that there is a strong genetic component to susceptibility, and there are big efforts now to breed it out of the flock. We certainly don't retain anything that gets fly strike and if a ewe gets struck, her lambs are not kept for breeding either.
Sheep are normally dipped in autumn after shearing. Many people are dipping just now, in spring, last year's lambs mainly. The dip is diazanon. It is OP and not banned. In fact it is the only truly effective means of a 100% kill of sheep scab (a bloodsucking mange mite specific to sheep), a formerly reportable pest which is making a comeback thanks to people not dipping. Dipping used to be mandatory but I believe it was stopped during the foot

Dipping is a complex affair now, as you say the health risks are well known. I used to be an Animal Health Inspector and spent many hours beside sheep dips enforcing sheep scab legislation. All those organo phosphates for two 6 week periods a year. Still remember the smell. I even had to arrange my wedding to avoid dipping season.
 
Dipping used to be mandatory
I have a photograph here actually, taken not too far from Brynmair, a sheep gathering and dipping, probably around the start of the last century, as you say, even back then it was mandatory and you had the local police present to ensure it was done properly
sheep gathering.jpg
Dipping is a complex affair now, as you say the health risks are well known. Only licensed operators can do it, full hazmat kit etc. It doesn't affect the sheep as the effects have to accumulate over many years.
I was watching a farming programme on S4C a few weeks ago - following some lads just over the mountain who now have a mobile sheep dip and dipping service, so no need even any more to have a ffald and sheep dip on your farm, they just roll up on to your farmyard and the sheep are just guided from the stockyard up onto the trailer and off the other side.
 
Input from another sheep farmer-

Sheep may be treated from now on to avoid flystrike, particularly in the south of England. Body fluids and muck left on the fleece can become a veritable feast for flies if we have a mild spring. On our farm, these treatments would be a cypermethrin based product.

All our lambs are treated with dicyclanil at shearing (mid-late June here), with ewes treated in July. Dicyclanil is an insect growth regulator - probably not ideal to have around a hive.

I would, and do, use wool- but as Beth said above, be sure of your sources!
 
I’ve come into possession of a rather large bale of sheep’s wool. Is this any good for insulation in hive roofs instead of PIR boards? I’m also thinking of making a few insulated ekes for fondant feeding over winter and could use some of it for this project.
In view of the warnings above ( real and imaginary, knowledgeable and misguided) I think it would be perfectly safe to use sheeps wool for insulation but I would put it in a couple of layers of black bin liners and seal it in. Obviously, it is going to be in a super above the crownboard so that there is going to be no interaction with your bees so should have no detrimental effect on them at all.

Good to get some well thought out posts from a couple of sheep farmers though.
 
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