On today’s 24-minute walkalong video workshop, I seal up some cracks in the hives with silver tape and add some silver bubble wrap as top insulation.
00:00 — What I call my Giant Hive.
It didn’t get any wrapping last winter and it produced almost 45kg (100 pounds) of honey by the end of July. That kind of result makes me think, “Hmm… maybe it’s the location that counts, not the hive wrap and all that other junk.”
01:25 — Say hello to silver bubble wrap.
02:15 — Bees no longer eating pollen patties.
Still focused on my giant hive here, these bees showed zero interest in the pollen patty I gave them earlier in the fall. Most of my other colonies gobbled them up.
02:35 — A peek inside the hive.
02:45 — The hive with the silver bubble insulation added.
The hive consists of one deep and two mediums, a standard inner cover with a ventilation rim up top and the silver bubble insulation over the inner cover. Silver tape is used to seal in the cracks between the supers.
04:40 — Taping silver bubble wrap over auger holes.
I’ve been experimenting with drilling holes in my supers for the past couple years. My conclusion is: I don’t know if it does anything. Some colonies use the holes and some — like my giant hive — completely ignore them.
I’ve read about how holes in the supers give the bees quicker access to the honey supers so they can make honey faster and make more of it (though apparently building landing pads for the bees helps too). I’ve seen no evidence in my hives yet that holes make any difference in my local climate. I’ve also read that the bees won’t make honey next to the holes in the supers, so the result is actually less honey. I did notice something like that happening in one of my hives this past summer, but, as usual, there could be more than one reason for what I saw, so it’s difficult to arrive at any kind of conclusion.
05:25 — Inner cover hole propolised over.
06:30 — Cracks between supers.
07:05 — Second hive with silver bubble wrap on top.
I was planning to wrap the hive with silver bubble wrap but I wasn’t in the mood.
08:45 — Plans for adding shrew-proofing quarter-inch / 6mm mesh.
09:10 — Idea for removing the top entrance to retain heat.
10:35 — A summary of the hives in my secret location.
10:55 — Can silver tape create dead air space for condensation?
12:00 — How a defective super creates a ledge where water can seep in.
13:10 — Measuring a 3-medium hive for future wrapping.
14:10 — Complications and possible pitfalls of hive wrap.
16:25 — My plan to seal in hive cracks with silver tape.
17:15 — Taping up a hive.
17:45 — Pushing the tape into the crack first.
18:35 — How to keep bees for the bees, not the honey.
In a cold and miserable climate like Flatrock, I suspect a 3-deep hive (or about 5 mediums) would be a self-regulating system that would require minimal hive manipulations for people who want to keep bees just for the bees — not the honey.
23:55 — Say hello to defensive bees, sort of.
The end. See you next time.