Best Idea in Beekeeping History! Simple DIY Under $20

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Here is an idea that will prevent and Eliminate Winter Losses. It Will Keep the bees fed, warm, and happy during those cold winter days.


isofaster says:

A very neat concept ! However I am concerned this may act like a humidifier in the hive . In extremely cold climates , cold doesn't kill bees , moisture does . Here in Canada the hives go dormant in deep chills and as long as they are dry they wake up when the temp rises with no ill effects. They also go through very little of their food supplies when dormant . This year and last year 100% of our hives made it through the winter. Moisture may not be as much of a problem in warmer climates , but here ventilation in cold months( -20 to -30C ) to keep humidity low is key . Anyhow , thanks for sharing , a neat invention

Jeff Vreeland says:

Nice approach – i like it – lost 4 of 6 hives for past two winters here in Northern Maine. Losses this past winter were not due to not enough food, nor moisture, nor mites – but 2 older queens dying off in late Fall and 2 not having enough bees going into winter to keep a good cluster – so need to stimulate lots of bee laying in September and removing any honey from lower brood box in August timeframe.

Thee Injun says:

Aww wow, the lengths we go to save our hardworking, suicidal, naked females as they pile on top of each other–we hope, by the thousands–shivering and eating honey all winter long!
+Unusual Bee Works, I admire your creativity and the rationale behind your thought process.
My only real question is, how can you replenish the feed frame without drowning bees or opening the hive on a snowy, blowy day when there will be no "good" days for weeks on end and the feeder will otherwise either run dry or you'll have to give them a chill?
I salute your ingenuity.
Take care and God bless,

David Jastram says:

How are they going to take cleansing flights?

Kevin Brooks says:

Great Idea. The warm sugar water acts as a heater for the hive as well as a food source for the bees. I'll definitely be putting this in my hives in the fall.

Jerry Hogkiller says:

I will try this next winter great idea thanks..

honeybeesinjapan says:

I like this idea and I think ill try it next winter. Thanks for the tip and God bless you sir.

Peaceful Mind says:

BAD IDEA! It's not a good to feed bees liquid during winter. Because they will have to go out for cleansing flights more often. I only feed dry cane sugar during the winter. I place a shim between the deeps and the upper honey super with a hole for placing cane sugar and pollen patty. I can also monitor the size of the cluster by looking in the hole. When they get too small I bring them in and place them in the windows of my house to keep them warm. I use standard deeps for my nucs with R-15 insulated fillers to take up space of five frames. I don't have the hassle of extension cords or having to fill the feeder during the middle of winter. Nice try but you need to keep trying!

dabprod says:

unusual bee works…..great idea, my hives are next to my back yard shed with elect run to it for my elect fence charger. Live in up-state NY, cold long winters usually, but not this year, and lots of bears. I staple 1/4" insulation board to the hive sides. Problem with your idea for me is, I don't dare break open a hive in the winter to add sugar water. Any idea for that problem for my operation? Great idea you have. Also the heated motorcycle hand grips sound interesting.

CoyoteLight says:

Interested in how this works out for you. But I have two yards and neither have electricity, so any ideas on solar power or solar heater would be appreciated.

The Bee Zone says:

We are beekeepers in Sweden with 85 bee societies. We generally loose only one or 2 a winter and the temperature goes down to minus 40 degrees Celsius. I used to have a max/min thermometer in every bee garden (we have 20 or more), as the temperature varied quite a lot lowest minus 43 C heist minus 30 c. We discovered that the outside cold was not so much a problem for the bees. We do use insulated hives boxes made from polyurethane about 25 mm thick. Condensation is more of a problem, along with weak societies. If you add weak societies to strong before the winter the winter losses are much less.

Scott Brower says:

Good Lord I miss my friends from the South. I'm in Arizona now but I grew up in Orlando before the Evil Mouse showed up and we had orange groves so we had to have bees.

I'll try this next year. Thank you.

Ted Dabrowski says:

Bees winter heating estimated 10 Watts per average family .50 W may be little to much.I am using 5W heat tape.I will suggest purchasing it on e bay pair for about $ 3 from China motorcycle hands heaters (pair for $3) .Each 0.5 Amp each. 12V and you will need transformer. It will be more safe.I am using that my second winter.Happy beekeeping

Ted Dabrowski says:

what happens when bees drink it all?

Susan Gallien says:

The only thing that concerns me is the extra condensation, which could be alleviated with a box quilt, so shouldn't be a big issue. We live in MN and I have plenty of spare aquarium heaters around, so might try this idea next winter. Thanks.

Me Craig says:

…….Appreciate this idea. Never thought about a aquarium water heater.

southernexposure123 says:

I think that heater system is a good idea for BK in extremely cold climates.
I can see a real good use for those tubes, too. Making a tube like that about the same diameter as a gallon milk jug opening will save a lot of bees drowning while external feeding. There'll be no need for pouring sugar water every few hours. Just put the filled gallon jug out and leave them to eat as much as they like. COOL man COOL.

Chris Maxson says:

This is actually a very good idea. If someone is concerned about to much heat, there are aquarium heaters for a little more that have a thermostat on them. This way you can choose how warm. Great idea though! I could see this for weak hives going into winter or if you have extended cold snaps. Thanks for the ideas!

Unusual Bee Works says:

Sometimes i have good ideas,Some times i have bad ideas,Sometimes i win ,Sometimes i lose, Good or Bad, Win or Lose i want to share my ideas with you.Im not an educated man, hold no degrees. Just a poor simple man that loves the Lord and has some crazy ideas sometimes. Title meant to say best idea in( our) beekeeping history, didnt mean to sound proud or arrogant. Those words are totally opposite from me and mine. Hope this will be a Blessing to all beekeepers and God Bless!

Atoyota says:

That is a better idea than the heat pad setup you showed.
I worry over my first hives (that I am about to get this spring) wintering at my location. These bees being from Georgia, and my winters here in northern VA (bordering West VA) can be harsh. Further north people have all sorts of tactics like wrapping and insulating their hives. Your idea can make life much easier and insure a hives life by heating it .

But, playing devils advocate here, my few criticisms….
1st the fact that through treatments and manipulations, and now artificially heating a hive and a constant temperature. Are you not weakening the specie? I mean the health of the specie overall, not your hives in particular? That by giving the bees a decent shelter and letting them do the rest is better in the long run because by selection the bees will manage themselves better without artificial support. For example: how would they survive once all this is gone?

I understand that you may not be interested in the health of the entire specie, just your bees. That also your interest is in a harvest and keeping hives through winter. I get that and agree. It's just that I'm also interested in wild bees, and wild bee populations. Mainly because if something does happen to domestic populations we have a way to renew them.

I may use this system for my hives.

I may try to see if rather than an 80f degree set temperature I can set it 20 or so degrees less. Enough to help but not so much that it becomes a crutch. As a way to help my Georgia bees acclimate to my region. Also as a way to help through the roughest parts of winter.

Anyways good job!
Don't mind my criticism please. I mean it only as a general concern for honeybees.

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