Sheltering Bees In The Winter

It didn’t take long to change my mind about the canvas hole covers idea. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad idea. Thick but porous fabric over the inner cover hole of a hive with a ventilation rim might still work to let excess moisture out of the hive while keeping the heat in. But I like being able to peek down the hole and see what the bees are doing. I’ll probably just dump a hive pillow in instead.



In this video, I also set up more bottom hive entrance shelters and wrap two more hives in silver bubble wrap, among other things.

00:00 — No to canvas over inner cover holes.

02:30 — Bottom entrance shelters.

Bottom entrance shelter made from old plastic foundation, but corrugated plastic or any kind of scrap (and cheap) material should work. (Feb. 06, 2022.)

04:30 — Cutting more foil bubble wrap.

~75 inches / ~190 cm is enough to wrap around a standard 10-frame Langstroth hive (with about 1 inch of overlap).

05:20 — 20 x 75 inches = wrap for ~3 medium supers.

05:45 — Hive wrap put on crooked.

Wrapping the hive of another weak colony. Let’s see if it makes any difference.

06:30 — Reasons for wrapping.

07:30 — Two more wrapped hives.

09:30 — Bottom entrance shelter working.

11:00 — The end.

This is how I described the photo of the wrapped hive on Facebook:

I wrapped another hive with silver bubble wrap today because the advertisement for it states: “It helps keep the air at a constant temperature inside the hive by reflecting 97% of the radiant heat of bees back to the cluster, at the same time reflecting 97% of the outside temperatures away from the hive.”

I don’t know how factual that is, but like many hive wraps, I suspect the main benefit to the bees is as a windbreak. Still, I’m curious to see if it makes any difference for my weaker colonies like this one. I want to see if they can break cluster and if the queen will have the warmth and room to lay earlier than she would in a smaller cluster / colder hive.

I’m not worried about my stronger colonies with large clusters that are still clustering in the bottom of their hives. But if it makes a difference for the weak ones, I’m sold.

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