The honey bee does not hibernate in winter. With the onset of cold weather, the life rhythm slows down. Many insects are capable of accumulating up to 20% of nutrients in the body. This gives them the opportunity to “sleep” during the cold season.
Honey plants are not adapted to such “accumulation”. The internal nutritional reserve is only about 2%. Due to the biological peculiarities, bees have to collect food reserves for themselves and save them. A beginner bee keeper should think about how to protect bees in cold weather at the beginning of the season. Saving a family is not easy.
Wintering for bees and its features
In order for the apiary to be profitable, you need not only to know how to take care of families in the summer, but also to be able to keep them healthy and able to work by the beginning of the new season. If insects do not provide safe wintering conditions, then they can lose their families and there will be no one to go out to the beginning of the collection.
Before you start breeding honey plants, you need to prepare a room where they will remain to wait out the cold. The building must meet certain requirements. A wintering house for bees will protect families from drafts, wind, temperature extremes, and dampness.
In regions where the climate is especially harsh, it is quite difficult for insects to survive without Omshanik. In the central regions of our country, specially equipped rooms are needed for keeping heat-loving honey plants. This helps to keep weak families together, creating ideal conditions for survival.
The advantages of using
The use of a special insulated room for wintering bees has several positive aspects.
- Firstly, Omshanik reduces the risk of losing families. Honey plants are reliably protected from sudden temperature changes and severe frosts.
- Secondly, an optimal humidity regime and a constant temperature are constantly maintained in the winter house. Due to this, the physiological processes of insects are not subject to sharp jumps in wakefulness and rest. Less feed is consumed. The metabolism of bees is not disturbed. It is possible to avoid the load on the intestines during a long winter. Honey plants recover much faster.
- Thirdly, the safety of hives from external atmospheric influences can be called a significant advantage. This extends the life of the cabins.
There are three types of bee hibernation rooms:
The choice of construction option depends on the climate, the presence of groundwater and reservoirs nearby, the location of the site, etc.
Underground winter houses are considered the most reliable. The structure is being equipped at a depth of three meters. The ceiling is at ground level. In such a room, it is easier to maintain the desired microclimate with a certain temperature and humidity level.
Semi-underground winter houses are not built so deeply. The walls of the building go into the ground by no more than 1,5 meters. Half of the structure is located on the surface.
Terrestrial Omshaniks are suitable for use in regions with mild climatic conditions. An overground winter house is the most popular type of building, since most often beekeepers adapt yard buildings for it. In this case, you need to provide high-quality thermal insulation and protect the bee houses from small pests – mice.
Basic building requirements
To create optimal conditions, an Omshanik must meet clear parameters:
- A dry place on a hill is suitable for construction.
- The room must keep a certain temperature. Optimal thermal conditions – from 0 to +30… It is not built for two or three families. There must be at least a hundred hives.
- The winter house, designed for 300 houses, is equipped with one doorway. If the area of Omshanik allows you to place a larger number of houses, then a structure with two doors is needed. They are located opposite each other.
- Thermal insulation of the input-output is required.
- The side walls of the structure should be on the south and north sides.
- The optimum floor thickness is at least 20 cm. Experts advise taking clay and crushed stone as the basis for filling. Sand is used for the top layer.
- Air ducts are usually made of wood. External parts of the structure located outside are insulated. The air inlet is located in the wall at floor level. The exhaust structure must be located in the central part of the ceiling.
- To drain melt and rainwater, it is necessary to provide drainage ditches.
- The room must be dry. Summer drying of Omshanik is required.
How to build a winter house
First of all, you need to determine where the future structure will be located. When choosing a place, several points are taken into account:
- the presence of groundwater or a reservoir;
- location on the territory of the apiary;
- dry place on a hill;
- wind protection.
Necessary materials and tools
For the construction of a winter house, experts do not recommend using concrete blocks. They do not retain heat well and give excessive moisture. For the construction of any type of Omshanik, the set of materials and tools is approximately the same. Except for the underground room. Strengthening the walls with a metal structure is necessary here. Let’s list the possible materials:
- log house, boards, slab, timber;
- limestone, stones, cement, brick, sand, crushed stone;
- reed slabs, etc.
- circular saw;
- hammers, nails;
- welding machine, etc.
Construction of omshanika
An approximate plan for the construction of an underground winter house:
- Mark the place.
- Dig a pit. Align surfaces.
- Prepare the base for the stairs.
- Place the formwork for pouring the foundation.
- The walls are covered with bricks. The empty space is filled with clay.
- The metal strapping can be made from pipes or channels.
- We lay out the ceiling tiles, lay roofing material.
- We install the vestibule and the ventilation system.
- We raise the steps. We put the door.
- We build on and insulate the attic.
- We lay the roof.
Insects hibernate in the club. The union begins at temperatures below +80… Heating is carried out due to the breakdown of sugars that insects feed on. At the same time, carbon dioxide is also released. Its concentration in winter can be up to 3%.
Steam is generated during breathing. An increase in humidity levels leads to adverse effects. Therefore, carbon dioxide and water must be removed from the hive.
Honey plants are wise insects. They design the ideal ventilation system inside their home. Leave as many holes and slots as necessary for the flow of fresh air, removal of moisture without loss of heat.
Ventilation in the winter house should be provided by beekeepers. Bees need moisture. They get it from honey and air. With a lack of it, insects begin to feel thirsty. This leads to increased feed intake, indigestion, anxiety, and weakening of the family. Excessive moisture leads to the same result.
Omshanik must keep a certain temperature regime and not be too stuffy. The most effective ventilation method is to use a fan in the hood. The device can have several speed modes. It is placed in the form of a “lid” chimney in the attic. It is advisable to install a screen under the pipe. This will allow air to be drawn not from below, but closer to the ceiling. The air, which collects at the top in winter, is the warmest and wettest, already processed by the bees.
The supply and exhaust ventilation system is quite popular among beekeepers. In this design, one pipe reaches the floor. The second is mounted on the ceiling. The advantage of such a system is that the method works great in winter. The disadvantage of this method is manifested in the spring, when the process of air circulation can stop due to warming outside.
There is another ventilation method. It uses one pipe from the ceiling of the building. Through it, fresh air is supplied and the exhaust air is removed. In conditions of good tightness of the room, the pipe does its job well. However, with the onset of heat, the system does not work.
Transferring the hives
For better wintering, bees need to stay outdoors longer. There is no exact date for setting up families, as it depends on the climatic conditions of a particular area.
Experienced beekeepers are advised to navigate by the thermometer. If the night temperature is stable below zero, and the daytime temperature rises no higher than +4, then the time has come. Some beekeepers expect a dense snow cover or the appearance of a crust of ice on the surface of the reservoir. It is believed that the optimal period of time for wintering bees is from October 25 to November 11.
- Dry the room. Treat the walls with thick slaked lime. Install shelving.
- The wintering area is cooled. This is done to eliminate temperature differences.
- Move the houses carefully so as not to disturb the bees. The holes are kept closed.
- After placing the hives, ventilation is increased to remove moisture and condensation on surfaces.
- Open the holes only after a few days, when the insects have calmed down.
Apart from temperature control, nothing else needs to be done. Experienced beekeepers are guided by noise. When you can’t hear the bees, the temperature is right. Remember the readings and try to maintain them. Insects are noisy, and the degree is below normal, which means we cover the ventilation hole. If it is higher than the required level, then open it. It is not recommended to visit Omshanik often.
To equip a safe place for the wintering of bees with their own hands is quite within the power of anyone. This is necessary to keep insects alive in regions with harsh climates. Healthy bees will recover faster after a long hibernation and will not lose their ability to work.