Winter, wind and the mesh floor

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oxonbee 

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beehaus
Hi all,

Well, the first few months as a new beekeeper seem to have gone well, and the last few weeks of feeding seem to have enabled the bees to build up lots of supplies - about 7 frames have stores - they were quite a small colony to start with.

So, I'm thinking about final preparations for the winter.

I live in a fairly exposed area, and while the Beehaus is behind a hedge, that won't offer too much protection when the leaves have all gone. So, I'm a bit worried about the mesh floor - probably unnecessarily.

The instruction book/guide makes vague mention of putting a board inside but, equally, ventilation must still be important - I'm just worried that without some restriction there'll be rather too much ventilation. What did everybody else do last year?

Would appreciate some advice from others.

Thanks
 

jimbeekeeper 

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I saw no issue with it last winter, and my hives are fully exposed to the west wind.. in fact I would say the beehaus hive was ahead in spring compared to the other hives, all of which I keep as single nation on OMF's as well.
 

Essexgary 

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Hi all,

Well, the first few months as a new beekeeper seem to have gone well, and the last few weeks of feeding seem to have enabled the bees to build up lots of supplies - about 7 frames have stores - they were quite a small colony to start with.

So, I'm thinking about final preparations for the winter.

I live in a fairly exposed area, and while the Beehaus is behind a hedge, that won't offer too much protection when the leaves have all gone. So, I'm a bit worried about the mesh floor - probably unnecessarily.

The instruction book/guide makes vague mention of putting a board inside but, equally, ventilation must still be important - I'm just worried that without some restriction there'll be rather too much ventilation. What did everybody else do last year?

Would appreciate some advice from others.

Thanks

Hi my beehaus is tucked in a corner of the garden, behind a hedge, but like you, when the leaves are gone, may be a bit exposed - but I will be leaving the mesh floor as is, my thinking is that it's the only ventilation they've got. I will be putting an old duvet in the unused part of the beehaus (may provide a bit of warmth) and will be leaving a clearer board over the brood with super in case I need to put fondant on. Before hand though, I'll put an empty tupperware over it and cover with a pillow. There'll be 7 frames in all on one side of the beehaus, and I'm going to move them towards the divider board so that they are not right up against the entrace, with a dummy board at the other end. This will leave maybe 6 inches between frame 1 and the entrance. will see how all of that goes.
Gary
 

MuswellMetro 

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Hi a
Would appreciate some advice from others.

Thanks

i have not used a plastic beehaus but on nationals the killer of bees is not cold but condensation in the brood,

if you notice when your varroa board is in at this time of year it will often get covered in condensation when they are evaporating syrup, now that's ok, what you don't want is condensation in the brood box in winter, so i leave mine board out from october to february, except for winter varroa treatment, but my stand has a ply skirt to help with the wind
 

Mike a 

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I will be putting an old duvet in the unused part of the beehaus (may provide a bit of warmth) and will be leaving a clearer board over the brood with super in case I need to put fondant on. Before hand though, I'll put an empty tupperware over it and cover with a pillow. There'll be 7 frames in all on one side of the beehaus, and I'm going to move them towards the divider board so that they are not right up against the entrace, with a dummy board at the other end. This will leave maybe 6 inches between frame 1 and the entrance. will see how all of that goes.
Gary
Hi Gary

I would of thought a duvet would soak up moisture when its misty and damp and turn mouldy. If I had a colony in my dartington hive this year I would use a space blanket (loft insulation) which is cheap and won't soak up any moisture and hold it in the hive.

 

Essexgary 

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Hi Gary

I would of thought a duvet would soak up moisture when its misty and damp and turn mouldy. If I had a colony in my dartington hive this year I would use a space blanket (loft insulation) which is cheap and won't soak up any moisture and hold it in the hive.

Thanks Mike, I've never heard of a space blanket - is it just the regular loft insulation stuff? what do you think about my other over-wintering plans?
Gary
 

Shakd 

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Beekeeping Advice

Hey everybody! I am a beekeeping professional by occupation. I am here to advise to you all about my information website that I currently just set up live for beekeepers all over the world. I am trying to share my wealth of knowledge on this topic, so any help in sharing my website amongst people you know would enjoy it, would be greatly appreciated! I have advice on beekeeping hives, to understanding of honey bees and workers, including the extraction of the honey! come take a look at my website at the following link: Beekeeping Informationbee-smillie

Happy Beekeeping!
 

Mike a 

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Thanks Mike, I've never heard of a space blanket - is it just the regular loft insulation stuff? what do you think about my other over-wintering plans?
Gary
I will be leaving the mesh floor as is, my thinking is that it's the only ventilation they've got. I will be putting an old duvet in the unused part of the beehaus (may provide a bit of warmth) and will be leaving a clearer board over the brood with super in case I need to put fondant on. Before hand though, I'll put an empty tupperware over it and cover with a pillow. There'll be 7 frames in all on one side of the beehaus, and I'm going to move them towards the divider board so that they are not right up against the entrace, with a dummy board at the other end. This will leave maybe 6 inches between frame 1 and the entrance. will see how all of that goes.
Gary
Gary, sorry for the delay in replying to your post.

From memory reading Robin Dartingtons book a couple of years ago - New Beekeeping in a long deep hive printed in 1985.

Prep for winter.
Once the feed has been given and feeder removed it was recommended to move the colony towards the central area of the hive leaving a gap of 2-3 frames to the entrance and put in another dummy board so come spring the front dummy can be removed and the space filled with fresh frames. This makes good sense to me as I've found the queen will rarely lay in the cells of a frame on the outside face of a frame which is next to the (wooden) hive wall when the temperatures are below 10-12'c as it would take more effort for the colony to regulate the temperatures.

My only minor concern moving a colony towards the centre would be the colony may well decide to build natural comb on the entrance side of the dummy board to try and fill the gap in spring if left unchecked if they have access to an early flow. I would leave undrawn frames in the gap.

Please correct me if I'm wrong but I think the entrance into a beehaus is under the second frame so unlike my home made version you may find a dummy board will give perfectly good insulation if placed against the hive end wall or it may not even be required as the beehaus has better insulating properties compared to my wooden version so this may not be an issue. Either way I would try and keep the colony condensed as much as possible so would not use a super on top unless it was full of stores but with 14x12 frames you shouldn't need supers on for winter stores and I would also remove any undrawn frames to the outside of a dummy board.

For added insurance I put fondant in the bottom of a zip lock bag and flatten the bag out so it would fit under the roof on top of a crown board with a central hole in it and cut a 15-20mm hole in the bottom of the plastic bag. This method keeps the bag from collapsing down on itself and helps to hold its shape a little better so the bees can get to all the fondant if required and also helps keep the fondant from drying out or turning into a sludgy mess, but only if the colony is light on capped stores below.

I know this may sound a little brutal but there is only one person to blame if a colony starves to death and I haven't forgiven myself for allowing it to happen a couple of years ago.
 

MuswellMetro 

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Hey everybody! I am a beekeeping professional by occupation. I am here to advise to you all about my information website that I currently just set up live for beekeepers all over the world. I am trying to share my wealth of knowledge on this topic, so any help in sharing my website amongst people you know would enjoy it, would be greatly appreciated! I have advice on beekeeping hives, to understanding of honey bees and workers, including the extraction of the honey! come take a look at my website at the following link:

Happy Beekeeping!
:spam: and chips please
 

Shakd 

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This is truly an awesome forum everybody! Keep up the great information swapping!
 

Essexgary 

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Gary, sorry for the delay in replying to your post.

From memory reading Robin Dartingtons book a couple of years ago - New Beekeeping in a long deep hive printed in 1985.

Prep for winter.
Once the feed has been given and feeder removed it was recommended to move the colony towards the central area of the hive leaving a gap of 2-3 frames to the entrance and put in another dummy board so come spring the front dummy can be removed and the space filled with fresh frames. This makes good sense to me as I've found the queen will rarely lay in the cells of a frame on the outside face of a frame which is next to the (wooden) hive wall when the temperatures are below 10-12'c as it would take more effort for the colony to regulate the temperatures.

My only minor concern moving a colony towards the centre would be the colony may well decide to build natural comb on the entrance side of the dummy board to try and fill the gap in spring if left unchecked if they have access to an early flow. I would leave undrawn frames in the gap.

Please correct me if I'm wrong but I think the entrance into a beehaus is under the second frame so unlike my home made version you may find a dummy board will give perfectly good insulation if placed against the hive end wall or it may not even be required as the beehaus has better insulating properties compared to my wooden version so this may not be an issue. Either way I would try and keep the colony condensed as much as possible so would not use a super on top unless it was full of stores but with 14x12 frames you shouldn't need supers on for winter stores and I would also remove any undrawn frames to the outside of a dummy board.

For added insurance I put fondant in the bottom of a zip lock bag and flatten the bag out so it would fit under the roof on top of a crown board with a central hole in it and cut a 15-20mm hole in the bottom of the plastic bag. This method keeps the bag from collapsing down on itself and helps to hold its shape a little better so the bees can get to all the fondant if required and also helps keep the fondant from drying out or turning into a sludgy mess, but only if the colony is light on capped stores below.

I know this may sound a little brutal but there is only one person to blame if a colony starves to death and I haven't forgiven myself for allowing it to happen a couple of years ago.

My apologies this time Mike, not been looking at the board for a few days. You are absolutely right.. when I looked 1 week after moving the frames to the centre; they had built lots of comb from the front wall to the newly placed dummy board! I decided to leave it and in March have a clear out as one of my first jobs. it's too cold now anyway to go in and start hacking away at comb. you live and learn!

my only concern with having the frames towards the middle of the hive is that they will have a bit of a trot if they want to get out to go to the toilet, or get water.. but for some reason, it did feel like the right thing to do.

I'll keep you posted!
Gary
 

wannaBkeeper 

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Ill have mine battered

Hey everybody! I am a beekeeping professional by occupation. I am here to advise to you all about my information website that I currently just set up live for beekeepers all over the world. I am trying to share my wealth of knowledge on this topic, so any help in sharing my website amongst people you know would enjoy it, would be greatly appreciated! I have advice on beekeeping hives, to understanding of honey bees and workers, including the extraction of the honey! come take a look at my website at the following link:

Happy Beekeeping!
:spam::spam::spam::spam::spam::spam::spam::spam::spam::spam::spam:

Why should anyone pay when there is more information on this forum.


Dave Lamont
 
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