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Winter dehydration in insulated hives

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Erichalfbee 

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With their rectal pads.
So bees can conserve water by concentrating their faeces? Do they not do that anyway in the normal course of events?
 

fiat500bee 

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Global warming. Antarctica is melting too. The more we burn fossil fuels to make cosy things, the warmer the earth becomes.
True, if we stick with wooden hives, the raw material has soaked up carbon dioxide first. But all finished materials require processing and transportation. both off which use fossil fuels.
My biggest issue with polystyrene and PIR is that shaping and cutting it makes micro-particles which always become incorporated into the soil, water and atmosphere.
 

Finman 

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Problem is that there is no problem of dehydration. Bees go over winter without human knowledge. In my country they do not drink condensated water during coldest winter in 5 months.

There are some rules, what you must obey, and a first year beekeeper get hives alive to Spring.

There is a danger that a beginner start to read scientific beekeeping and after a month he is wiser than all old farts together.

Bees do better in Insulated warm hives. Especially in Spring insulation is good for brooding.
 
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Finman 

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My biggest issue with polystyrene and PIR is that shaping and cutting it makes micro-particles which always become incorporated into the soil, water and atmosphere.
You are right. Beekeeping is very dangerous Job. In wrong hands it is a catastrophe to the globe.

Try to look, how much polystyrene your car has. But do not break the car.

I think that beekeeping is not suitable for you. You see too much problems in all ordinary things.

Do not try to climb from top to root
 
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MuswellMetro 

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Sounds like another Wedmoreite to me. Wading through his book at the moment which seems to be mainly made up pseudoscience to support his own flawed theories and much of it smells of what has been mentioned in this thread.
My originally beekeeping experiance was at a village school in 1958 at ten years old, and the hives were WBCs, They had thick 6" quilt of army blankets and carpet above a solid crown board, in autum the WBC lifts were stuffed with straw and to feed syrup a metal 3pint feeder was place direct on the frame top surround by sacking packed in an empty super, Winter feed was a one lb packet of tate & lyle slashed a dunked in water, when i started beekeeping 50 years later i was surprised to see every one was ventilting their hives and their bees clustered because there was no insulation , In the WBC the main problems was the bees were active not clustered when you fed them in winter
 

beeno 

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So bees can conserve water by concentrating their faeces? Do they not do that anyway in the normal course of events?
Yes, of course, they do, but they only need to collect water when brood rearing commences in earnest last few days of February onwards in my locale as brood food is 67% water. I fill the "cups" in our manhole covers with water for them which warms nicely in sunshine in preference to the cold pond.
 

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I have two poly hives but have insulated my wooden hives for many years believing that keeping the hive that little bit warmer in extreme weather contributes to the hive maintaining adequate food stocks for when they really need it. Which led me to using poly hives.
Because the poly hive is so well sealed I found quite a big condensation build up especially on the transparent cover board. An increase in top insulation (the Maisemore lid is too thin) as well as removal of the insert cured that and the bees fared well.
A skirt around the stand legs this winter will allow plenty of ventilation but cancel out draught and the bees can control their own ventilation.
Moisture shortage is not a problem.
 

Erichalfbee 

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So what does the collective think about this?

Work was done on this by Brother Adam and Mr Gale when people were wrapping their hives. They worked over several winters with groups of hives, and here is their report Brother Adam. PROTECTION DURING THE WINTER Although we now and again have to put up with exceptionally severe winters even here in the south-west, we do not provide our colonies with any additional protection. We know that cold, even severe cold, does not harm colonies that are in good health. Indeed, cold seems to have a decided beneficial effect on bees.
About sixty years ago Dr E. F. Philips and G. S. Demuth, who were at that time in charge of the USA experimental work on bees, advocated a special type of protective wintering case for the accommodation of four colonies. Four hives were set side by side in these cases, forming a cubical block, and enveloped in 4in. of packing under the hives, 6in. on the outer sides, and 8in. or more on top above the crown boards. The claims put forward for this form of wintering seemed to call for a practical test on our part. We accordingly constructed two of these wintering cases, and awaited the results full of high hope.
On the first examination in spring the eight hives were found to be bone-dry and without a trace of mould on any of the combs. So far all expectations were fulfilled, but a great disappointment awaited us. These colonies, without exception, failed to build up. The normal brood-rearing urge, manifested by the other colonies not thus protected, as well as the upsurge of energy and industry, was completely lacking. The colonies wintered in the makeshift hives with little or no special protection, made rapid strides in the spring build-up.
Notwithstanding these disappointing results we gave these winter cases a further trial the following winter, but with no better luck.
A few years later Mr A. W. Gale felt likewise compelled to give this form of wintering a trial. Notwithstanding the dissuasion on my part, he had forty cases made. We simultaneously put ours in use again. The trial was now conducted on a total of 168 colonies and in two divergent localities. The outcome proved absolutely identical to the tests made in the first instance. In short: this form of wintering did not only prove a complete failure, but in actual fact had a detrimental effect on the well-being of the colonies. It might well be assumed that in much colder parts of the world this form of protection would prove really satisfactory. This is seemingly not so, for in the course of time this form of wintering was gradually abandoned in the USA as well as in Canada.
Notwithstanding the abject outcome of these trials, we did not regret having made them, for they revealed important and far-reaching considerations of a kind diametrically at variance to the commonly accepted views and assumptions held on the value of winter protection. The results secured here in Devon as well as in Wiltshire palpably demonstrated that undue protection has a positive harmful effect and that cold — even severe cold — exerts a beneficial influence
on the well-being of a colony. As a matter of fact, bee-keepers on the Continent, where extra winter protection was until recently considered essential, have gradually come to the same conclusion as our findings made half a century ago. We have to admit, we are here up against physiological reactions and influences, of which we have little or no knowledge, but which have a decisive bearing on the seasonal development and well-being of a colony. Winter losses are not the direct result of exposure to low temperature, but are generally due to a lack of timely cleansing flights, unsatisfactory stores queenlessness, disease, etc.
A sunny aspect and shelter from prevailing winds are undoubtedly most desirable and beneficial, not only in winter but at all times of the year. Extra protection from cold may be of advantage in March and April, during the critical period of the build-up in spring. But strong, healthy colonies will manage perfectly well even in adverse climatic conditions. The honeybee is doubtless a creature of the sun, but one that does not need any pampering.
 
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So what does the collective think about this?

Work was done on this by Brother Adam and Mr Gale when people were wrapping their hives. They worked over several winters with groups of hives, and here is their report Brother Adam. PROTECTION DURING THE WINTER ......... The honeybee is doubtless a creature of the sun, but one that does not need any pampering.
Flies completely in the face of:
a) Physics
b) Modern beekeeping practice
c) Bill Bielby's research in the late 1960's
d) My personal experience of both overwintering and spring build up
e) Common sense.

One does wonder whether, at the time, they were propping crownboards up with matchsticks, and whether there were any other influences in play ?
 

Antipodes 

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"So what does the collective think about this?"

Their findings are what I would have expected.
 

madasafish 

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Times and beekeeping practises change.

And some people when they do tests, somehow manage the test to prove their own prejudices.
 

Murox 

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The concluding sentences say it all really, the point about shelter suggests to me that stability of climate is important and doing all you can to ensure strong healthy colonies is of equal importance .
" Winter losses are not the direct result of exposure to low temperature, but are generally due to a lack of timely cleansing flights, unsatisfactory stores queenlessness, disease, etc.
A sunny aspect and shelter from prevailing winds are undoubtedly most desirable and beneficial, not only in winter but at all times of the year. Extra protection from cold may be of advantage in March and April, during the critical period of the build-up in spring. But strong, healthy colonies will manage perfectly well even in adverse climatic conditions. The honeybee is doubtless a creature of the sun, but one that does not need any pampering."
 

Finman 

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In Finland one Basic thing is the winter adapted strain of bees. The most popular bee in Finland is Italian. But some strains of Italian are adapted to our seasons and some are not.
Carniolan strains do well here.

Like italians from Australia die often in first winter.
 

fiat500bee 

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Times and beekeeping practises change.

And some people when they do tests, somehow manage the test to prove their own prejudices.
That's right. I think that's what was happening to allow Ben Harden to "prove" the "facts" of the original premise of this thread.

Where there is a lot of written theory and factual scientific research results on a subject you can cherry-pick those which support your point of view and come to a very convincing confirmation of your theory.

I prefer to cherry-pick the actual experience of contemporary, real-world beekeepers and there are quite a few, very wise and experienced beeks who have contributed here an opposing view to Bro. Adam's as described above.
 

Antipodes 

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I prefer to cherry-pick the actual experience of contemporary, real-world beekeepers and there are quite a few, very wise and experienced beeks who have contributed here an opposing view to Bro. Adam's as described above.
That's fair enough of course, but only about 7 per cent of all those who have ever lived on earth are alive today. So much has already been done in the world of beekeeping, long before all the current beekeepers, experienced or inexperienced were even thought of, let alone became interested in bees. So much experience and research left by those before us to learn from.
 

madasafish 

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That's fair enough of course, but only about 7 per cent of all those who have ever lived on earth are alive today. So much has already been done in the world of beekeeping, long before all the current beekeepers, experienced or inexperienced were even thought of, let alone became interested in bees. So much experience and research left by those before us to learn from.

And a lot of it has been lost, distorted or is frankly lies. (See Wedmore on ventilation)
 

Murox 

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snip..............I prefer to cherry-pick the actual experience of contemporary, real-world beekeepers and there are quite a few, very wise and experienced beeks who have contributed here an opposing view to Bro. Adam's as described above.
tend to agree with you there - I try to keep abreast of modern scientific thinking that has the backing of sound real world experience - inevitably I fail of course and find myself seduced by cogent argument.
 

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