Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
383 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
looking for your best tips for winterizing hives. ~ thanks!
 

·
in memoriam
Joined
·
12,697 Posts
Make sure they have enough winter food. Have a north and west wind block, so that the wind goes over the hives rather than against them. Tilt the hives so any moisture drains out.

:D Al
 
  • Like
Reactions: beegrowing

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
We wrap our hives with tar paper and put in entrance excluders. I also put a vent board on the top super and homosote on the inside of the cover.
For extreme cold the hives could also be fenced in close and stuffed with hay.
And as Al has said, make sure they have enough food. We don't feed our bees, we just make sure we leave them enough honey.
 

·
in memoriam
Joined
·
12,697 Posts
I forgot to mention MOUSE GUARDS. I make mine out of 1/2 inch hardware cloth.
I no longer reduce the entrances they stay at 6 inches year around.





:D Al
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,537 Posts
The biggest killer of hives in the winter is moisture.

If you insulate your hive (or wrap them) you have to be careful that they aren't wrapped so tight that moisture the bees make during the winter can't escape.

In my opinion, all hives should have at least one ventilated hole near the top - whether it's actually a hole drilled through the hive, or an inner cover that has a small hole in the one end that bees can go in and out - they need a hole that will ventilate the hive. (Think about the bees in the wild that survive the winter - no one goes around plugging all the holes in the hollow log - those holes let air ventilate the log so moisture doesn't build up.)

Cold in the winter isn't your bee killer, it's moisture build up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
301 Posts
We wrap our hives with tar paper and put in entrance excluders. I also put a vent board on the top super and homosote on the inside of the cover.
For extreme cold the hives could also be fenced in close and stuffed with hay.
And as Al has said, make sure they have enough food. We don't feed our bees, we just make sure we leave them enough honey.
I think TLR15 meant entrance Reducers :D I "second" those and having checked for full stores, insulation With venting,having a wind shield, and mouse guards.

The longggg wait has begun for most of us.I eagerly watch for warm day action and listen to my hives by softly rapping them and putting my ear to them once a month.Every time I heard them inside last winter I heaved a happy sigh!
Best wishes on overwintering success to all! :thumb:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
Yesterday was 60 and they were nice and active at the hive, today (and for the next 10 days) it will be 22-38 degrees. I'm in Michigan. Winter is here. It will get Cold.

I've got my hive up on a pallet so its a little higher off the ground and out of snow, and I also have it positioned in the corner of a NW wood line to help block wind. I tilted the hive yesterday by wedging a 2x6 under the back, hopefully that helps the interior moisture stay off them. The hive has an entrance reducer on at the bottom, which I might still add a homemade mouse guard to, and it has the small keyhole slot at the top and under the cover to serve as an additional exit/moisture vent. I left them 2 full deeps of honey.

I do not plan on wrapping them, feeding them extra, or adding any insulation filled supers etc. I MIGHT throw a chunk of insulation board on top to help the top temp from creating moisture, but that would be it. I have also considered drilling another small hole in the top super to assist with venting moisture.

This will be my first winter with my hive, and I truly hope they make it. I try to let the bees do their thing with as little interference from me as possible, I figure they know better than I do about their needs. If there is a nice break in the weather around late Jan or Feb I'll prolly crack the lid and peek on them, otherwise I'll leave them alone until early spring.

Happy BeeKeeping!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
I think TLR15 meant entrance Reducers :D I "second" those and having checked for full stores, insulation With venting,having a wind shield, and mouse guards.
Duh, yeah reducers.

Here's a picture of one of our hives. We're trying something new this year.

That unpainted piece, with the hole drilled in it just below the cover at the top of the hive, is a new vented spacer my BIL came up with for his hives. There is also an inner cover under the spacer, it has a 3" hole in the middle of it. Years past we just put something under one end of the cover to tilt that end up to allow for air flow.
Reduce moisture as others have said. We don't worry about mice proofing our hives. Never had a problem with them. That's what the cats are for.

Beekeeping is funny, want an opinion about something? Ask 12 beekeepers-get 13 answers. :wizard:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
Duh, yeah reducers.

Here's a picture of one of our hives. We're trying something new this year.

That unpainted piece, with the hole drilled in it just below the cover at the top of the hive, is a new vented spacer my BIL came up with for his hives. There is also an inner cover under the spacer, it has a 3" hole in the middle of it. Years past we just put something under one end of the cover to tilt that end up to allow for air flow.
:wizard:
The moisture thing is a serious issue. This is my first year keeping bees, and will be my first winter with them. In preparing them for winter, this past Saturday I cracked the top cover to look inside and to my shock, I found that there was already so much moisture that was rising through the hole in the inner cover, that it was building up right above the opening on the top cover and was creating mold!!!

I already had the hive on an angle so moisture could run forward, but I have now angled the hive even more aggressively, and I flipped the inner cover around (it was on wrong for allowing the moisture to escape). I also drilled 4 small holes near the front of the inner cover to help the moisture escape towards the front of the hive, rather than only through the hole in the middle where it is then accumulating on the inside of the top cover. I then shimmed the top cover up along the front just enough to add further venting. Lastly, I added a square of insulation foam board on top of the hive to hopefully help buffer the temp difference between the interior of the hive and the top cover where the moisture was building up.

I really hope my bees survive the winter, and if I wouldn't have opened up that cover on Saturday and found that problem, they would have surely died this winter. If you have not done some preparing for winter, I would strongly suggest that you at least peak inside and make sure that your not having big issues like I was.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
we normally use sugar as either cakes or dry over the upper deep. moisture hits the sugar and keeps it off the bees below. also, the moisture in the sugar makes it easier for the bees to eat.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top