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Author Topic: Insulated feeding in cool weather  (Read 478 times)

Offline tjc1

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Insulated feeding in cool weather
« on: April 14, 2017, 05:53:38 PM »
I hit on this idea for spring feeding from a pail feeder. When the temps get around 40-50 during the day and you want to start feeding, feeding doesn't work because the syrup gets too cold overnight.  This is an adaptation from my winter insulating procedure: an empty box on top of the inner cover which has had its center hole sealed off. A bat of insulation is then placed on top, which keeps the top of the hive and the inner cover nice and warm so that condensation doesn't form and drip on the bees. I realized that in early spring, I could open the inner cover hole, place the feed bucket on top as usual, and then surround the pail with insulation. The warmth of the bees in the hive keeps the syrup warm and the insulation keeps both the syrup warm as well as the top of the hive. It has worked great for me. Sorry I couldn't get the photos to embed...

https://goo.gl/photos/jwgoeSDZrFaSTTLn9

https://goo.gl/photos/BRwX44ZYvMKxJCGL6

https://goo.gl/photos/tTuFbRyaAC2pfDJf7

Offline Jim 134

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2017, 07:12:16 PM »
This is for stimulating brood rearing.
https://goo.gl/photos/bWZwE5v8Y4GJRqiaA

       BEE HAPPY Jim 134  :smile:
"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2017, 08:11:22 PM »
The warmth of the bees in the hive keeps the syrup warm and the insulation keeps both the syrup warm as well as the top of the hive.

Depending on local conditions I think this can be a disaster.  You are putting a thermal mass in the center of the hive.  When the syrup is cooler than ambient then condensation will occur as the day gets warmer.  It might work for you but I wouldn't put faith in it that it works for everyone.
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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2017, 09:08:02 PM »
I agree, adding 1:1 in cold weather could bee disastrous.
Even down here where our winters are pretty warm I am careful about how much they get. I only put 2 tiny holes in the feeders. Just enough to feed them but not enough to store.
Jim
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Online Bush_84

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2017, 11:47:29 AM »
I've got frame feeders in my hives. Not sure of your temps but I'd venture Minnesota is pretty comparable. If they need it feed them. I wouldn't worry about finding a way to warm the feed this time of year.
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Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline tjc1

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2017, 01:04:05 PM »
Quote
Depending on local conditions I think this can be a disaster.  You are putting a thermal mass in the center of the hive.  When the syrup is cooler than ambient then condensation will occur as the day gets warmer.  It might work for you but I wouldn't put faith in it that it works for everyone.

Acebird - do you mean condensation inside the hive (ie on the inner cover) due to there being 1:1 in the combs? Also, by early spring I mean end of March / beginning of April up here in Mass.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 01:15:55 AM by tjc1 »

Offline tjc1

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2017, 01:11:51 PM »
Yes, Jim 134 - that's the same idea, and for the same reason of stimulating brood. Sawdust Jim - do you limit the quantity due to moisture in the hive concerns? If so, I guess the question is, when is spring feeding of use and safe, and how much? I'm thinking a couple of weeks headstart before there is nectar for them to gather, not when it's still really cold out.

Online Bush_84

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2017, 04:24:25 PM »
I had this whole post typed up and the internet sucked it up lol. Anyways...as has been said it's all weather dependent and at least in Minnesota no two March and Aprils will be the same. I have seen lakes frozen for walleye opener and 70s in March. This spring has been fairly mild. Either way when it's cold feed dry sugar. I generally mountain camp heavily in the fall. So I don't have to worry about it until it warms up. The extra sugar can then be turned into syrup. When it warms up you can feed syrup and pollen sub. In my handful of years keeping bees it seems to me that hives with lots of extra honey don't always take syrup but the large ones that have burned through their stores take it like crazy.

Edit-also if it's warm enough for syrup I wouldn't worry about moisture.
Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2017, 06:24:33 AM »
Sawdust Jim - do you limit the quantity due to moisture in the hive concerns? If so, I guess the question is, when is spring feeding of use and safe, and how much? I'm thinking a couple of weeks headstart before there is nectar for them to gather, not when it's still really cold out.
I'm feeding for 2 reasons:
1. Once it is warm enough for the bees to fly, I am feeding to make them think there is nectar in the area. I kept losing a lot of hives during the spring dearth to absconding. It worked real well this spring.
2. I am feeding to start heavy build up earlier than normal to have the bees ready for the gallberry/palmetto flow which is just about to start now. This also worked very well this year.

I only want enough feed for the build up and keeping the bees in the hive, not for storage. If you feed them too much, not only do the store it, they back fill the brood nest.
Jim
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Offline tjc1

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2017, 11:04:38 PM »
thanks, Jim - those are my goals as well. I want to build the hive up but don't want them to swarm and don't want to split the hive. they seem to be building fast, but no sign of backfilling even with steady feeding. I also opened up the brood nest with a few empty frames to discourage swarming , per Michael Bush.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2017, 08:34:14 AM »
Acebird - do you mean condensation inside the hive (ie on the inner cover) due to there being 1:1 in the combs?
Yes, condensation around the feeder container which is centered right over the cluster.
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Offline tjc1

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2017, 02:09:42 PM »
Hi Ace - what makes this work is that the insulated deep ( with the pail surrounded by fiberglass bat) keeps the top of the inner cover warm as toast as well as the syrup, with heat provided by the cluster.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2017, 05:51:51 PM »
... keeps the top of the inner cover warm as toast as well as the syrup, with heat provided by the cluster.

I know you said that but I also have a good feel for how many btu's it would take to do what you say if the nights get real cool.  To me it would be quite a load on the cluster to accomplish that task if that container had a good amount of fluid in it.  I am not saying you are wrong and it doesn't work.  I am saying it would make me uncomfortable in my area and cooler regions.  Have you placed a thermometer in the syrup early in the morning after a cool night?
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Offline tjc1

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2017, 08:09:52 PM »
It hasn't gone below 40 since I've had it on, but it was warm to the touch  in the morning when I put my hand on it. I also warmed the syrup to about 85 before putting it on the hive, but it seems to stay warm once it's on. It will get about 40 tonight so I'll try to measure it tomorrow.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2017, 09:07:36 PM »
It will get about 40 tonight so I'll try to measure it tomorrow.

If you can give us an idea of how much fluid is in the container in the morning.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline tjc1

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2017, 10:59:03 PM »
Couldn't find a thermometer this morning, but checking by hand the pail was nice and warm top to bottom, but especially at the bottom - This morning there was only about 1 1/2 quarts left in the pail. It's amazing how much heat they generate that rises to the inner cover, and you can really feel it when you trap it with the insulation. This is true in winter, too, when I go into that insulated deep and remove the insulation - you put your hand on the inner cover and it is 90 degrees I would guess.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2017, 08:30:15 AM »
It is hard to tell temperature by feel because what you feel is dependent on the environment your hand was in before you touch.  For instance if it was 40 degrees out 50 would feel quite warm, likewise if it was 60 degrees out 50 would feel cool.  However the idea of insulating around the feed container is a good one.
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Offline tjc1

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2017, 01:43:23 PM »
Down to 38 last night - this morning I put a thermometer in the box next to the pail and it read 80.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2017, 01:48:34 PM »
That is great.
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Online Bush_84

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2017, 08:25:02 PM »
I'd be more curious to know the temp when it gets cold. Correct me if I am wrong but I think your original question was also about feeding in February/march. It may be warmer in your area but here it's not unusual to get significantly below zero at those times. I would say this setup will work well when it warms up a bit, which is different every season. So to me this will work when it is to cold for other feeders but not when snow is still on the ground.
Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline Jim 134

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2017, 02:46:24 AM »
I did put up reply #1. I feed like this. After freezing temperatures in the fall if needed. To about Christmas time. Stop in January and February. Will start  doing this again around the first week or second week in March if needed . If I need to feed in January and February I will feed candy. My hives are in Southeastern Vermont.

                     BEE HAPPY Jim 134  :smile:
"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

Offline tjc1

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Re: Insulated feeding in cool weather
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2017, 10:32:58 PM »
I figure this is good for spring feeding once the temp gets to about low 40's or higher during the day. This is to stimulate brood rearing - if I was concerned with them running out of food in February I would feed dry sugar. Similarly, I wouldn't use it past say, mid-October up here, so as to avoid a lot of uncapped syrup and moisture in the hive going into cold weather.