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Bee hives in the barn

 
pollinator
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So we are getting bees again. This time we think we want to put them in the barn. We've tried the lean-to, and they froze. We tried the tree line and they were covered with snow and suffocated to death. So the barn seems like the next logical place. Is it crazy? There are pigs and chickens in the barn. The bees will be in the track room on spools. So they should be safe from the pigs. The chickens could get in there but I really don't think they'll be a threat. The doors are just wire so plenty of air flow but major wind and snow protection, which I think is important. Will I regret this?
 
steward
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I think it could work. you'll want to make sure they've got an unobstructed flight path in and out that no human or other creature will have to pass through.

one potential downside I see is that they might be permanently shaded. a lot of beekeepers believe that some morning sun on a hive gets them moving earlier in the day. plenty of beehives in hollow trees in shady forests, though, so this isn't likely to be a fatal flaw.
 
elle sagenev
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tel jetson wrote:I think it could work. you'll want to make sure they've got an unobstructed flight path in and out that no human or other creature will have to pass through.

one potential downside I see is that they might be permanently shaded. a lot of beekeepers believe that some morning sun on a hive gets them moving earlier in the day. plenty of beehives in hollow trees in shady forests, though, so this isn't likely to be a fatal flaw.



They'll never see the sun in their. Should I not?

I cut a hole in the wall of the tack room for pigs to get in and out. It's closable in the winter and open able in the summer. So with that open in the summer they'll have a path out no one else can use.
 
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Hi Elle:

I'd recommend against putting them in a building. Instead I would try using a 'quilt-box' on top of the hive (langstroth) to protect them from the snow.

Here's a cut & paste of my post from a similiar thread: https://permies.com/t/135246/Bees-Winter-Cold


It can be done, but shouldn't be necessary if you have a healthy colony.
It may even be detrimental to keep them in a building. If it warms up too much inside the building when it's still cold outside, the bees will leave the hive thinking it's a nice day for a flight.
They go outside, get chilled and won't be able to make it back to the safety of the hive & die. Fewer returning bees result in a weaker hive. A weak hive is more likely to freeze to death.

Best to keep the hive healthy (inspect for diseases), well-fed, sheltered from the wind and be sure to keep them dry (ventilate the hive).
Most of the colonies I lost were due to condensation build-up in the hive. Cold, wet bees = dead bees.

Using screened bottom boards or quilt boxes will help prevent suffocation from snow build-up. They also do wonders to keep the hive dry.
I'm using a screened bottom board on one hive and a quilt box on the other, both are nice and dry.

They are easy to build, here's a few links:

https://www.honeybeesuite.com/how-to-make-a-moisture-quilt-for-a-langstroth-hive/
https://www.tillysnest.com/2014/11/diy-winter-beehive-quilting-box-html/
https://cityboyhens.com/2015/03/06/how-to-make-a-screened-bottom-board-for-your-beehive/
 
elle sagenev
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Pete Podurgiel wrote:Hi Elle:

I'd recommend against putting them in a building. Instead I would try using a 'quilt-box' on top of the hive (langstroth) to protect them from the snow.

Here's a cut & paste of my post from a similiar thread: https://permies.com/t/135246/Bees-Winter-Cold


It can be done, but shouldn't be necessary if you have a healthy colony.
It may even be detrimental to keep them in a building. If it warms up too much inside the building when it's still cold outside, the bees will leave the hive thinking it's a nice day for a flight.
They go outside, get chilled and won't be able to make it back to the safety of the hive & die. Fewer returning bees result in a weaker hive. A weak hive is more likely to freeze to death.

Best to keep the hive healthy (inspect for diseases), well-fed, sheltered from the wind and be sure to keep them dry (ventilate the hive).
Most of the colonies I lost were due to condensation build-up in the hive. Cold, wet bees = dead bees.

Using screened bottom boards or quilt boxes will help prevent suffocation from snow build-up. They also do wonders to keep the hive dry.
I'm using a screened bottom board on one hive and a quilt box on the other, both are nice and dry.

They are easy to build, here's a few links:

https://www.honeybeesuite.com/how-to-make-a-moisture-quilt-for-a-langstroth-hive/
https://www.tillysnest.com/2014/11/diy-winter-beehive-quilting-box-html/
https://cityboyhens.com/2015/03/06/how-to-make-a-screened-bottom-board-for-your-beehive/



I don't know that that would help. The entire hive was covered and it was 4 boxes high. Completely covered. This year we had similar snow. It's not something we used to get, but it seems to be the new normal. The drifting due to wind being the biggest issue.

I hear you and I'm taking it into consideration. Our barn is not insulated at all. Just wood frame with metal siding and it's a run in barn so it's got a massive opening on it. It stays about outside temp but just blocks wind. So I'm not sure that temp will be a huge issue for me. Air flow is sufficient. I am concerned about having them inside the animal shelter for us and for the animals. Little worried the pigs would knock the hives over. But with the door closed I don't think that'll be a big problem.

I've seen the bee shed things. Ours would be different in that the opening to the hive wouldn't be outside. Is that a big game changer? I could not open the hive to the outside where the tack room is located. The wind comes that direction and it would blow straight into the hive at hurricane force all winter. It's a problem!
 
elle sagenev
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We have an add on to the barn, a duck hut. Think we'll put them in there. Still wind blocking and blocking snow but less interior to the barn. Or should I put them in the barn yard and then move them in the winter???
 
tel jetson
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elle sagenev wrote:Or should I put them in the barn yard and then move them in the winter???



moving hives can be complicated. I would say find a good spot and leave them.
 
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