Winter Hive Covers
An interesting approach from a member to help the bees over winter. (July 2019)
Obviously not for everyone but in really cold climates ………
First thoughts are that the insulation properties afforded by the Styrofoam covers would be more like a hollow in a tree. Pests between the cover and the hive could be an issue as the bees could not control that space. But it ought to allow the bees to spend far less energy in maintaining hive temperature.
The outcomes may tell us a bit about temperature
The members notes:
….. then I walked pass a stack of surplus Styrofoam at work and had an idea. So I got one of the routers to cut a bunch of igloo type things to drop over the entire hive, leaving it underneath as it was in its summer config. I haven’t checked in the hives yet but they are flying in big numbers every day except for when it rained heavy. So I’m hoping they did ok, The covers are 100% water tight so at least it kept all the timber dry in the rain. I know how much honey was in each before winter so it will be interesting to see what has changed. The garden has heaps of flowers, and I can smell it near the hives. Need to try to get out there if its warm enough this weekend.
…. I think they worked nicely, definitely going to do the same next year. I went through two of the hives and had a peek in the top box of the other two. (it was a pretty warm, still day and the bees seemed unconcerned about me) I got a pleasant surprise, the two smaller hives had consumed no stored honey at all and the two larger ones had increased by about 2 frames each. I had left heaps in there before winter so I’ve got about 8+ frames to come out soon (that would be still leaving about 3 full frames per hive in there). Lots of bees, plenty of brood and stored pollen, plus original queens still in there, so I was happy about that.
… not sure what effect the foam had on their development for spring. Presumably this setup is closer to a tree hollow from a temperature point of view so I’m going to trust they know what to do.
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