|Here are some pics of this years idea for wintering the bees.
I built a floor joist arrangement using 2X6's, and used 2X4's for the uprights, and rafters.
There is an opening low on the north side for some ventilation, and the joists are filled with straw to keep the air flow low.
Boxes are stacked 3 on each side, total of 6. Hive has 3 boxes each, 2 are brood boxes, and the lowest box is empty
of frames, and a screened bottom board. Inner cover front vent has grass in it to keep the bees contained, and some
ventilation allowed. I used 2" blue board insulation, and designed a telescoping top cover.
So far, the bees keep the interior temp 20 degrees warmer than outside air temp.
Here's hoping, and keeping the fingers crossed, knocking on wood, holding the 4 leaf clover, rubbing the lucky horseshoe,
rubbing the Billiken, and anything else that might help Dan Bale, Beekeeper, Anchorage
|Southcentral Alaska Beekeepers Association
|Below are Ben Johnston's winter hives in Palmer
Each box contains two deep supers and a feeder,
insulated with 1" blueboard.
|Are you a SABA Beekeeper with winter beekeeping photos to contribute to this page?
Do you have wintering ideas that have or have not worked out for you?
We would like to hear from you!
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|Click on picture for a
|From: Neil Wagner, Beekeeper in Homer
I gave an AK presentation to the Permaculture group in MN
and used this bee house picture to show what we did
about our bear traffic. I installed some 5.5 inch concrete
reinforcing wire across the front of the building and tied
5/8 rebar on to that to keep the bears out. So far they have
bit and scratched the wood around the front but haven't
gone beyond that. Otherwise the building is standard 8x8
plywood shed with 3" of foam shelling the inside. -We got
the foam free from a job site.
Each hive is sitting on a 2x6 base with a 1/2" mesh screen bottom board to allow dead bees to hopefully fall out as they die.
There is 2" blue board around each hive but the blue board has a 1/2" air buffer between the hive bodies. I am using 2 deeps
to overwinter in and the inner cover is topped with a piece of blue board as well. I did not leave any top entrances for the
bees, but each top brood chamber has a screened 1/4" hole that is partially blocked for ventilation purposes. The main
entrance is fully open but shielded to decrease drafts.
I also included a link for the simple fondant recipe that I used last year. The bees ate this very well last year and I will be
placing it on the hives in the next few weeks. Here is a link showing different ways of feeding the fondant --
http://www.tonitoni.org/060130_visit_wilde1.html -- as well as the basic recipe link -- http://www.tonitoni.org/photos17.html.
We (she!) used the following recipe for "Bee Candy" which started with Bill Morong, morharn@KYND.NET
Measure your sugar, and then measure out 1/4 as much water (in other words, a 4:1 ratio of sugar to water);
Measure out 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar per pound of sugar;
Pour all ingredients into a big pot, mix together, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly;
Insert a thermometer (the digital ones work best — you can see the probe from one in the upper right picture — and boil the
syrup uncovered until the mixture reaches 234 degrees F;
Remove from heat, and cool it to 200 degrees F (you can see that Mary Ellen put it in a water bath in her sink);
Whisk or beat the mixture until it turns white;
Immediately pour onto either a frame (check first to be sure your foundation can handle the heat/load) or onto waxed paper
(to make a cake); and
After the fondant has cooled, store it in plastic in a dry location.
I used the most simple fondant recipe as it avoided the use of cream of tartar or any HFCS, which seem to be arguably
problematic for the bees. Nor did I add any pollen substitute, but that is an option as well. It seems that one major key in
preparation of the fondant is not to overheat it as if it begins to caramelize the chemical properties of the mixture change
and it actually becomes deadly for the bees. I have seen temperature ranges from 210º to 243ºF, but I used 234º last year
and did not have any problems with carmelization.
I chose to use an inner cover feeder so that I did not really have to disturb the bees when it was placed. I put the standard
inner cover opening in the feeder cover to allow for more "normal" ventilation and to allow for a way to check on the bees if
needed without disturbing them, but this did complicate pouring the fondant into the frame. The feeder cover is 1 and 1/4"
deep to allow for a lot of fondant if needed. The stainless steel screws add support for the fondant. Other feeding options
are just to lay pieces on top of the top bars or to place it on the frames themselves through a variety of means. The bees
produce enough moisture through their respiration to allow them to eat this semi hard fondant candyboard.
Bob Gengler, Beekeeper in Eagle River
PS: Here are the sugar cookies that I made
with the cutters that I won a few months ago at the meeting!
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The pipe you see in the shed is to circulate the warmer ceiling air down. I have a 750 watt heater in there and a bathroom
exhaust fan on a timer set for 30 minutes 4 times a day. Some of the boxes are empty; there are 49 colonies in there now.
Most are single deeps, with some in doubles.
The building is 8' X 8' outside dimensions.
Mark Couch, Beekeeper in Palmer
|Here is a picture of my over
I wrapped the hives with reflectix and
gave them a upper entrance with a
So far they are still thriving!
Beekeeper, Eagle River