overwintering indoors

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by d.magnitude, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    I know this is an out-of-season question at this point, but I've been thinking about trying to overwinter a nuc or two in the house next winter (maybe in an Ulster-type OB hive setup).

    I really have little idea what goes on in a hive that stays in an environment well above 60F straight through the winter. They would have a tube running outside of course, and I know they wouldn't be flying any more than my other hives.

    I imagine that they wouldn't really cluster at all. Is that correct? Would they consume more, or less food reserves in that situation? Would the queen slow, stop, and restart brood rearing in the usual time frame? Would they need continual feeding in a 5-frame nuc, or would they be so inactive as to not consume very much? Maybe someone that's maintained an OB hive overwinter has some insight.

    I think it would be fun to walk past my buzzing box of bees daily, and maybe even have some extra-robust nucs in the spring.

    Thanks for any input,
    -Dan
     
  2. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    No takers, huh? I hope this wasn't a dumb question. I'd still like to learn a little more about wintering indoors.

    -Dan
     

  3. Murrell

    Murrell New Member

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    I can't answer your question so, silence is golden !

    I'd say you need to find someone who has a indoor, year round obsevation hive, perhaps they could answer with facts.

    Murrell
     
  4. camero7

    camero7 Member

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  5. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I have questioned the idea of an observation hive being kept warm (well above 60F). If the hive remained active, would not the bees simply fly out thinking that it was warm enough and promptly meet their doom? I would think that it would have to be kept cold enough to slow them down. Most of the big time keeps that winter indoors keep their temps way down but steady in order to stop the bees from becoming too active.
    Good question.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I think if that were a problem, no hive would survive the winter in the wall or ceiling of an inhabited house. Many survive for years, seemingly better than in a hive. I think the bees have enough sense to stick their heads out and test the weather before flying out.
     
  7. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    I had several nucs in a insulated cover on a heat tape set to 40°F. The hives survived quite well and are building up ok this spring. Bees never flew when it was too cold. Flew at about the same rate as nucs/hives not on the heat tape.
     
  8. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Thanks, there is some interesting info there. I guess since my bees would be in the house, they would not cluster at all, but not fly either. Camero, did your "heated bees" go through more reserves than others?

    That's fine with me if they do, I don't mind feeding a little ol' nuc that's in the house. I just don't want them to become honeybound in there, and don't necessarily want to encourage brood rearing(would 2:1 be in order here?). It would be a little different than keeping an OB hive since I couldn't see what's going on inside (and I won't likely take it outside for an inspection much in the winter). It'll be an experiment for sure.

    Any other tips still appreciated.
    -Dan
     
  9. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    >did your "heated bees" go through more reserves than others?

    About the same