With the huge percentages of winter losses reported the last few years – It is apparent that research and effort must be made to attempt to reduce those losses! My own recent interest began when I entered my hat back into the beekeeping arena, when a swarm came to my shed in 2012. I captured the swarm and long story short, it didn’t really thrive. However a second swarm entered the same box In late August or early September. With 3 frames of bees that were extremely docile and very actively trying to build up prior to winter, it became apparent to me that there just simply was not enough time for this colony to adequately build, and put away enough stores to survive our Utah winters! Thus began my research into methods and products for warming beehives to attempt to avoid the inevitable. I was immediately disappointed to find very few products, none of which came close to my expectations.
My education and background leave me well suited to this task, so I set out to create what I was looking for. So long story short, the WARMBEES In-Hive Warmer was born, and the successes that we are seeing, are beyond my best expectations! All of the research that I was able to find in the days that I was formulating the specifications of the WARMBEES warmer, were not all that positive. However, most of the studies, that I could find, were done in the 1950s time frame or earlier. I have fairly extensive exposure and experience with modern process control systems and technology, and I am an electronics engineer, so I knew that it would not be that difficult to produce a design that could easily fit INSIDE the living space of a typical beehive and gently add heat to help the bees survive! With a few small revisions along the way, along with the positive responses from the bees that are being observed since the Winter of 2012, I am now very pleased to say that the current model that I have made available for sale is surpassing all of my expectations and working extremely well! Prospects for how this product can change beekeeping are very exciting!
Through the course of my research and beginning to sell WARMBEES In-Hive Warmers, I managed to find a couple of beekeepers in a city named North Pole Alaska, near Fairbanks, that are trying WARMBEES In-Hive warmers in their extreme environment. I learned that beekeeping is possible in that climate, however since winters get to extreme temperatures approaching MINUS 60 (-60 F) Farenheight, they typically purchase packages of bees in the spring, let them build for the 4 or 5 months that are warm enough to thrive, and then they simply kill off the entire colonies, and take all the honey! With packages being double the price of the lower 48 states at $150, and shipping also double, needless to say, honey is expensive and our fine hobby or profession of beekeeping is nearly cost prohibitive there! With WARMBEES In-Hive Warmers currently testing there with success thus far, they will change the way Alaska and other Northern regions do beekeeping! Alaska has already reported temperatures in the MINUS 10 deg (F) with colonies still thriving. I currently have 4 critical hives, here in Utah, that are still alive after last night’s 9 deg (F) temperatures, with 30 to 60mph winds! The windchill shows to have been MINUS 15 (-15 deg F). So against all good practices, good sense, and for the sake of this project, I actually popped the lids today on 2 of my critical hives, and both were still alive! NOW FOR THE KICKER! IF THIS DOESN’T CONVINCE YOU TO TAKE THE WARMBEES IN-HIVE WARMERS SERIOUS – YOU MUST KNOW THAT THESE HIVES ARE UN-INSULATED, UN-SHELTERED AND BOTH HAVE LESS THAN 1 FRAME OF BEES! One has a cluster that is the size of a baseball or smaller! Both are still alive only because of the WARMBEES In-Hive Warmers!
Ok, now for the real purpose of this blog! I believe the WARMBEES In-Hive Warmer to be a game changing appliance and as such – I am very interested in the science and technology and the study of its use with honeybees! So It is my hope that this can be a forum for those currently using this and similar technologies, and those seriously interested in improving the general condition of honeybees and their survival! It is very exciting to set out to make positive contributions, and see them succeed. Hopefully we will see a positive dialog, answering questions, asking new ones, and a collaboration to improve honeybee survival and the success of beekeeping. So with this goal in mind, please feel free to comment and ask questions! Sincerely Ren Holmes firstname.lastname@example.org