Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hives are set for Winter





Having lows in the upper teens or lower 20's and days that don't rise above freezing isn't an uncommon situation around here in November but a stretch that lasts as long as this one is suppose to is a bit unusual. I had just gotten finished with all the late Fall chores when I had to turn around and get the Winter stuff finished.

I stacked all the hay bales around the exposed parts of the foundation yesterday evening and then finished Winterizing the hives today.

As I have mentioned before one of the down sides to keeping bees in North Central Missouri is you pretty much have to deal with both the heat and the cold so it adds to your bottom line and seasonal maintenance costs quite a bit.

Originally I had stacked old hay bales around the hives and I must admit it worked rather well but once I got more than four or five hives scattered around it got a bit pricey, not to mention the Winter of 2012 when finding hay or straw was next to impossible. I didn't wrap my hives that year and suffered some pretty severe losses because of it. Last year I decided to try placing cut sections of foam insulation around the hives. This adds to the overall price as one 4'x8' sheet will cover about three hives. It is basically a one time cost but then the duct tape I use to hold the insulation on the hives isn't cheap either and that is a recurring cost each year.

In the end it still works out quite a bit cheaper than hay bales but in a long term collapse situation it isn't really sustainable either without an endless supply of duct tape.

Does wrapping the hives in this stuff make a difference? Well as I said I didn't wrap my hives during the  2012-13 Winter and lost a number of them but I am still not sure if it was the cold or the after effects of the drought that did them in. Last year I only lost one hive that I thought should have made it with the foam insulation on. I guess I will know more come Spring.

It sure does make the hives kinda ugly though.

I am basically all finished with Winter Hive preps now though. I did notice I forgot to put the Winter feed covers on the two hives I have down at the orchard so it looks like next time I get a warm day I need to go take care of that. When we get a warm day in late December or January I will need to go place some dry sugar on top of all the hives just in case they run low. Otherwise I just get to be a nervous wreck now for the next four and a half months.

Every hive has a small upper entrance in case of deep snow and to allow some ventilation so condensation doesn't drip down on the Winter ball. All new hives have dry sugar and extra honey stores placed on them and as I said even the old hives will get sugar in a month or so. Also in December I will place out hummingbird feeders with sugar water for those rare days the girls can forage or fly a bit.

Every little bit helps.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


20 comments:

  1. How about using bungee cords or a tie down strap or two?? You can get small tie down straps with a ratchet tightener on it. When I was in Catering we had long heavy duty ones to keep all the food & services carts from rolling around and falling over in the truck. I picked up four (to use when we moved back home) at Walmart.

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    1. Rob - A bungy cord type arrangement may work. I have some I have used outside that are still going strong after a few years. Those ratchet straps though I doubt would be any good they end to have issues with the tight corners and square design of the hives and I can never get them down actually tight enough to hold something like the foam insulation in place.

      So far the insulation seems to be holding up I may need to think on how to keep it in place a bit more.

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  2. I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

    American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

    This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

    BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN!

    www.boycottamericanwomen.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya know normally I would delete your comment and forget about it but not today. While I absolutely despise American or Western Feminist Women I would never encourage anyone to boycott American Women. A true, Christian, hardworking Female partner can only be found in a few areas of this Earth and one of them happens to be the good ol US of A.

      You should be saying "Boycott all Feminist Bitches" not American Women.

      Delete
    2. With all your anti-feminist rants, why did he pick this post? I realize that your bees are all girls, and they do have a bit of a sting. But I don't think they sting worse than the African-hybrids.

      If you look at his specific complaints, many of them apply to many American men as well. So it would make sense if he said that ALL Americans are annoying pains (my personal pet peeve is what a bunch of public slobs we have become), so it makes sense if they got involved with peoples from other cultures who are less annoying. But again, I don't think that is where he is going.

      In general, many, other cultures understand how to behave better in public than we do. They tend to act with the formalism and manner appropriate to public actions. That could easily think that people from these cultures would be better marrying partners. However, having been around many cultural groups, I can assure you that what goes on in private is often the same level of lunacy that we Americans experience. Possibly worse if there is extended family involved. Some of the funniest stories I know of involve the paid for brides once they have settled in. There is no fount of perfect people just waiting for us to come and meet them when we cross the border.

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    3. Russ - I think perhaps the number one problem that the person mentioned is the Western Feminized Woman's tendency towards serial monogamy. Almost 90% of the divorce cases in the US are initiated by the Wife and that is because family law is so biased towards Women it makes it easy. If the playing field was leveled in that regard I think a lot of these problems would go away.

      Delete
  3. He pasted the same comment on my blog. I deleted it. I doubt he will be back to read any comments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MV - Ya I saw that comment on a couple of other sites like Bubba's and Wirecutters too.

      Delete
  4. PP,

    Have you tried using para cord to tie and hold things together on your bee houses?
    Can you use insulation and tar paper (I read this off of another blog) to wrap around the hives as long as you provide ventilation?

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    1. Sandy - The tar paper wasn't really that much less expensive and tended to rip. I actually have some here I was going to use but it was more of a pain when I tried it that I abandoned that thought and went with the hard foam sheet. As far as tying it that works for a while but the cord always stretches and I am not the best knot person around I guess.

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  5. What about using cord like mentioned above instead of tape and doing a truckers hitch on it.
    http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fi913.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fac333%2FBlakesLife%2FTruckerHitch_zpsf550c2bb.png&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fbushcraftoz.com%2Fforums%2Farchive%2Findex.php%2Ft-6117.html&h=601&w=1000&tbnid=oWAstR4xsIEiZM%3A&zoom=1&docid=-y0EoyS-m8tB-M&ei=WrdlVP28IsneapLegMgE&tbm=isch&ved=0CC8QMygOMA4&iact=rc&uact=3&dur=1696&page=1&start=0&ndsp=24
    Long link but shows a good picture! Thats how dad used to rope bales onto trailers before he got lots of ratchet straps.

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    Replies
    1. Kev - Would that knot work with the two ends coming together or does it need the solid base like the picture shows. I admit I am not the most knowledgeable knot person around. The trouble is even the slightest bit of play lets light foam sag and the wind makes it worse within a few hours.

      Wind here is a serious problem.

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  6. Check the furniture stores in your town..they usually have foam from new furniture and just throw it away. saves buying it.

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    Replies
    1. Anon - The packing foam they use is really flimsy. The cost of the foam insulation is really pretty negligible compared to everything else. One sheet at like 10 bucks covers three hives. It's just keeping it in position for four or five months of Winter winds that costs.

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  7. This might be alot of work, but couldn't you build a wall system? A type of shell to encase the insulation that would be removable? It would have to be a light weight frame, everything cut thin. Maybe 2x2's with cheap paneling?

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    Replies
    1. I thought about that kind of arrangement. It might come to that too. I am thinking at this point perhaps just cutting grooves into the foam and using wire or twine. Maybe with the groove I can get it tight enough to hold?

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    2. I would think the twine would eventually cut too deep in to the foam, damaging it. But I thinking about the weight, at the arts & craft stores they sell corrugated plastic sheets (for signage). What if you just glued that to the foam? It would be light enough that you could staple on velcro stripping (heavy duty type, lot's of it) to hold it together. Just brainstorming here lol
      Also another way to source some of that sheeting free, is after elections, the politicians use that same stuff for their signs.

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    3. Anon - Ya know you might be on to something there. Perhaps I could almost make permanent hard backed covering by actually gluing strips to the sheeting. I could make like a cover that just slips over the top. It would require me to cut holes in it for the upper entrances but then would need no ties outside at all. The only draw back I am seeing is they would take up a lot of storage space the rest of the year...

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    4. That's why I suggested velcro, they could be broken down to store flat when not in use. Just an idea, good luck.

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    5. If I made long enough velcro strips I could leave em as separate sheets and still stack em flat with the velcro holding em together. I need to go price some velcro strip material.... hmmmm. Good idea ya have there!!!

      Delete

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