Closing off SBB for Winter

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Hobie, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yesterday I closed off the SBBs, after having them open all summer. After a while, on one hive,I noticed the girls were out fanning - I think they did not like the reduction in ventilation. (I would have pulled it back out, but that particular hive is older equipment, and closing the SBB means unstacking the entire hive and installing a solid bottom board on the stand, and I did not want to do it again.)

    Does anyone in the northern realms leave the SBB open all winter? I've read articles, but still can't bring myself to do it.

    Maybe I'll ask for a proper SBB for Christmas. Does anyone recommend a particular kind? I have one of Countryrubes SBBs, and it seems nice. No angled landing board, and it does have nooks and crannies for earwigs and spiders, but is very well built and functional. Any other opinions?
     
  2. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I closed mine up last winter, and whether by coincidence or not, my hive single died over the winter. I did notice a lot of soggy moisture inside the dead hive in the Spring, and some grey damp mold covering the combs. Not sure if that was simply because the bees were dead or not.

    This winter I have two new hives and am trying a different approach, with leaving the screen bottom wide open all winter. I have a small top entrance, and a well insulated inner cover. I'll wrap a little tarpaper just around the sides as a wind protector. There are already some good windbreaks of spruces and 6' bamboo fencing on the cold windy sides of the hives.

    I do know there are BK's in the northeast who both leave screens open and who close them for winter. Everyone naturally feels their method works best. But I do know there are people who leave their SBB open all winter around here successfully.
    I'm trying the wide open bottom screen this winter since what I did last year didn't turn out well.
    So, that's just my own limited experience.
     

  3. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I've been leaving mine open the last 5 years with very minimal winter losses until last winter, which was significantly colder than typical, especially January & February. Normally we get a warm thaw sometime in Jan/Feb when the bees can get some emergency feed, but last winter it stayed very cold.

    Considering that you're well north of me, plus I'm guessing you get considerable cold, moist air off the lake, I'd probably close them up.
     
  4. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    We get a lot of wind, too.

    Well, they are going to be closed this year, especially the one I had to unstack to put the bottom board on. I may try to come up with other options over the winter... something that allows ventilation but has baffles or something to keep the wind and blowing snow out.