heating a beehive in cold weather

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by dejswa, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. dejswa

    dejswa New Member

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    We are having a cold day and night here in Dallas, around 20F tonight. Maybe not so cold by other standards. I have an urban beehive that is going through its first winter and has a good supply of bees and honey with a 3 hive body stack and top feeder with winter mixture of sugar syrup. It is on cinder blocks about 8" off a mulched garden. I have put cardboard around the 'openings' between the cinder blocks to reduce wind chill effect. There is still lots of ventilation around the cardboard. And I have thrown a few thick towels over the top and sides of the hive as well.

    Would there be any benefit or harm in putting about a 200W resistive heating element on the ground below the hive? I placed one there and tried it for a bit and I suspect the air just above the heating element might be 60F after about 30 minutes of use. I realize I don't want to fool them into thinking it is OK to leave the hive. I suspect it might raise the temp inside by 20F.

    I can't find much reference to heating bee hives except for a patent from the 70's.
     
  2. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    maybe not a good idea to heat the hive up to Spring temps when the rest of the world around it is in winter temps. You're in Texas, it doesn't even get that cold. :confused:
     

  3. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    Do not try to artificially heat your beehive. The bees keep themselves warm by clustering. Something they have been doing for millions of years.

    VT Beekeeper Mike Palmer is known to say,"Bees make better beekeepers than beekeepers make bees." To me that means, the bees know what they need to do and we need to let them do it.

    They'll be just fine. Cold doesn't kill bees.
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Listen to the above. Even at -40 a 10 0r 12 watt heater will keep them warm. At 20 above, they are just enjoying the AC.
     
  5. dejswa

    dejswa New Member

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    OK, thanks. I figured the reason I couldn't find much about it was . . . that it probably wasn't needed.
     
  6. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Just don't love you bees to DEATH.
     
  7. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    wow.... now I really feel like I neglect the bees. We don't even put solid bottoms on under the screen bottom board here!

    You are one dedicated beekeeper!
     
  8. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    The warmer the bees are in winter, the more they eat. The more they eat in winter, the more likely they are to starve before spring or enter the buildup to the spring flow with no stores to build up with.

    The less venthilation there is the more humidity there is in the hive, humidity that condensates on the cold of the inside top cover of the hive and drips down onto the cluster. Wet bees in winter are dead bees by spring.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I think John Conner mentioned at one time that one of his 'lesser know' students* placed 60 watt bulbs under hives (in Florida I think) and this encourage the hive to begin brooding up about a week early. so there is some benefit (and the warning have mostly been posted above).

    *this unknow fellow would go on to be a large presence in keeping bee in France and go on to coin the Bond strategy of rearing bee also known as "live and let die".