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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #1 
Hello, I am new to Simply Solar and this is my first post here.

I was wondering if there are any beekeepers in the forum who would be interested helping to develop and test hot air collectors to treat hives with Varroa destructor and other pests?

The challenge:
Is it possible to heat a 45 litre (1.6 cubic feet) hive (and all its contents) to 106°F/41°C for 2 or 3 hours every couple of months using a small solar collector and a fan?

Let me know if you are interested.

Paul (East Sussex, UK)


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Posts: 143
Reply with quote  #2 
Wrap the hive tightly in a black plastic bag and leave it in full sun. 
Go Solar!

Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #3 
Solar Bagging: https://cool.conservation-us.org/waac/wn/wn23/wn23-2/wn23-207.html

It comes with several risks:

1) suffocating the bees. The oxygen level would depend on the number of bees in the hive. Which makes it difficult to manage. How long it would take to get the interior of the hive to 106°F - the solar bagging page suggests hours, then add 2.5 hours at a constant 106°F... it doesn't seem like a sensible idea.


2) degassing from the black plastic - one advantage of using hot air is that it avoids exposing the bees to unhealthy chemicals

3) temperature control - wax honeycombs melt at 145°F. If the black plastic bag was too successful the bees wax might melt and the bees would get cooked.

I think a solar collector with a fan would give a more direct blast of heat to the interior of the hive. Bees can leave if they don't like it. It seems easier to manage the temperature with a fan.

But I will investigate Solar Bagging. It might be the kind of thing they do in Eastern Europe.

Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #4 
My solar water heater collector is running 160 deg. F internal temperature as we speak. What will be the hard part is not letting it get too hot. Will 106f kill brood and house bees, anytime the temps get close to 100's my bees are all out fanning and bearding. I would be receptive to killing Varroa for sure.

Rick TX

Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #5 
106°F for two or three hours won't kill many of the bees. 

There is a Thermosolar Hive design from Hungary. This costs $600 - $750:


(Hungarian with English subtitles)

My problem with this patented system is that it requires new hives with special windows to be bought. What I want is a low cost DIY system that costs less than $100, is easily adapted to any size bee hive and can be built from easily acquired materials. Very much the Simply Solar philosophy.

This is an interesting $300, electrically heated system from Bee Hive Thermal Industries:


This heater will work in most existing hive designs - but it still seems quite expensive (for a hobby beekeeper), It requires an external energy source (not easy for many beekeepers).

Rick H Parker

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Posts: 809
Reply with quote  #6 
Strap a black plate to the south side of the Hive and monitor the temperature of the wax with a electronics digital thermometer.
If you read the instructions for the Thermosolar Hive, it is not a automated system.

Rick H Parker
Kansas, USA
Electronics Engineering Technologist

Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #7 
Will the wooden wall of the hive conduct enough heat from the plate to heat the air in the hive to 106°F? Seems unlikely (but I don't know for sure)

The metal plate would have to be firmly attached to the wood to allow good thermal conduction. This would prevent the beekeeper from easily moving frames (for example when collecting honey).

An aluminium sided hive (without wood) might be better at raising the temperature. But at night and in winter it would conduct heat out of the hive and the bees would die from starvation (bees use the honey they collect in the summer to keep warm in the winter. When they run out of honey they starve to death because in winter there are not any plants in flower from which they can collect more nectar). This might not be true in warmer parts of the world. But I don't see metal hives being a good thing.

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