The following was last updated on Dec. 01, 2016.
I made this quick video as a response to several emails I got from new beekeepers asking me if there were more affordable ways to wrap their hives for winter other than to plonk down $20 to $60 per hive for commercially available hive wraps. There are always cheaper alternatives. A roll of roofing felt is one of them.
I’m not saying roofing felt is better (though I have heard some convincing arguments), but it’s cheap and it’s worked well for me for the past six winters. Keep in mind that the bees don’t need to be warm and toasty during the winter. They just need to be warm enough to break cluster once in a while so they can migrate across the honey frames and not starve to death. (I might expand on this in the comments.)
Slight correction: In the video I mention #15 roofing felt. It’s actually referred to as a “type 15 asphalt felt.”
NOVEMBER 14, 2016: Here are some photos of some of my wrapped and non-wrapped hives to illustrate what I’m talking about in the video (and in my long comment below):
Inserted update (Dec. 01, 2016): It looks to me like it gets enough sun…
End of inserted updated.
All of this is a work in progress, though I’m fairly confident that after six winters of wrapping my hives in this manner (and sometimes not wrapping them), most of my colonies will be in good shape in the spring and won’t need much or any kind of emergency feeding in the winter or spring. To be continued…