Silver Bubble Insulation – Round 2

In today’s 27-minute walkalong workshop, well, I pretty much do what I did last time, just more of it, and I still — spoiler alert — haven’t wrapped the hives.

In this video, I check to see if the silver tape I used about 4 days earlier is holding up (it is). I add a piece of silver bubble insulation to all the hives. I should have added mice and shrew proofing 6mm / quarter-inch mesh, but I didn’t feel like it. I thought I might wrap one or two hives in the silver bubble wrap. I didn’t do that either. I check the moisture inside the hives by sticking my finger underneath the inner cover. None of my hives have any wrap or much insulation yet, but I’ll probably do that in my next video, along with adding the mesh. As usual, I talk about a lot of other things while the camera is rolling.

00:00 — Checking on how well the silver tape sticks.
00:50 — Plans for adding silver insulation over inner covers.
01:55 — Bees clustering in top box.
02:20 — Cutting hole in silver insulation over inner cover.
03:30 — Bees under insulated inner cover.
04:20 — Is one roll of silver bubble wrap enough?
04:40 — Silver bubble wrap in another hive.
05:10 — Idea for wrapping hives in clear wrap.
04:40 — Meanwhile back in Flatrock.
06:00 — A dry hive with bees clustering low.
06:15 — Checking hive for moisture.
06:25 — Review of hive set up.
06:50 — Dropping in more insulation.
07:10 — Questioning the wisdom of silver insulation.
08:00 — Heavy duty wax-dipped telescoping top cover.
09:25 — A defective homemade inner cover.
09:55 — The propolis seal.
10:45 — Replacing defective inner cover.
11:40 — Pain in the neck homemade top cover.
12:50 — Top cover is too tight.
13:55 — Crack and gap filler for beehives.
15:05 — Bee poops just before entering hive.
15:20 — Mice getting into hive?
15:40 — Not much ventilation.
16:06 — Silver tape / paper cuts.
16:20 — Cutting hole in centre of silver insulation.
16:30 — Inner cover hole filled in with comb.
17:05 — Adding silver insulation again.
17:35 — Lifting the lid of another hive.
18:30 — Using finger to check for moisture.
18:45 — Do the physics of this set even make sense?
19:35 — Old warped top cover.
20:30 — Temporary set up for 3-medium hive.
20:55 — Bees clustering down below.
22:15 — Do these bees get enough sun?
23:55 — Will silver wrap help them out?
24:40 — Problems with hive wrap.
25:05 — Too many factors to consider.
25:20 — All beekeeping is local beekeeping.
26:00 — Insulated bottom boards.

4 thoughts on “Silver Bubble Insulation – Round 2

  1. Have you tried the condensing hive method of overwintering? In Michigan, I don’t use top entrances in winter, only heavily insulate the top & sides. Moisture will go down sides of super so bees ca access during winter.

    • Some of the best results came from what I used to do when I started in 2010. I used to wrap the hives in black roofing felt in pairs, two hives as close together as I could get them (even though they didn’t touch). I had a piece of hard insulation over the inner cover with a notched top entrance, with the bottom entrance more or less wide open. Never really had any issues with that.

      Then I moved to a new location and it totally changed. The hives got soaking wet in the winter. I switched to moisture quilts or ventilated quilt boxes, which worked beautifully, though they seem to release a lot of heat from the hive. I’ve been experimenting with other methods since then — including no wrapping or insulation, just a ventilation rim over the inner cover, which seems to work really well in some locations.

      All that being said, I’ve never tried the method you describe. I used to get similar results with hard insulation up top. Moisture would condense on the sides of the hive and drip down to the bottom. But that didn’t work in every location.

      However, I have enough hives to experiment and I have enough hard insulation too. I know exactly what I hive I can try that on. I’ll give it a shot and we’ll see what happens.

  2. I’m glad that you’re going to try the condensing hive method. The Yukon beekeeper (forgot his name) uses this method exclusively & it works for him in the REAL cold. Good luck, tell us how it goes.

  3. I know Etienne, the beekeeper in the Yukon, has received a lot of attention lately because he’s got the gear for taking detailed measurements. He’s doing excellent work in that regard, and there’s a lot to be learned from his measurements and experiments.

    But what he does in the Yukon doesn’t necessarily translate to places like Newfoundland where the winter conditions aren’t nearly as extreme. We get cold spells, but Newfoundland’s climate is relatively temperate compared to the Yukon.

    I don’t know about Michigan weather, but it’s probably warmer than the Yukon.

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