This is exactly what I like to see from one of my honey bee colonies as it’s about to go into winter. The top of the hive is a big solid block of honey with the bees clustered so far below that I can’t see them when I look down through the frames.
This will be my first time going into winter with hives made from all medium supers. No deeps, no big boxes. Normally my bees would be living in hives made from at least two deep boxes, if not three, and the top deep at the very least would be packed with honey, enough to keep the bees alive over the winter.
Most of my hives this year have only three medium supers instead of two deeps. But three mediums are about the same size and three deeps, so I think we’re okay.
All the supers that aren’t yet painted black will be painted black before the snow comes. Only the hives that are out in the open being blasted by cold winter winds will get a wrap. The rest of them, nada. Just the black paint.
I need to put 6mm / quarter-inch mesh over the entrances soon because it’s so cold now that the bees are clustering most of the time, and when the bees are clustering, they can’t chase away any mice or shrews that get in, so I want to get the mesh sooner than later. (I don’t want to wait for later and inadvertently trap a rodent in the hive when I put the mesh on.)
I don’t follow a one-size-fits-all wintering programme for my bees. All of my hives will get some kind of ventilation. Some might get moisture quilts. Some might just have a piece of hard insulation over the inner cover with the notch in the inner cover providing the only upper ventilation. Some hives might have an inner cover with a ventilation rim on top and no insulation. We’ll see. I manage my hives to my specific conditions, and I have beehives in three locations, each a little different from the other. Beekeeping for me, especially in the winter, is always a work in progress.