Winter protection?

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Jordy 

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I am coming up to my first winter as a beekeeper and have read the books, magazines, tee shirts, forums & listened to other beekeepers about their methods of helping their bees through the North east winter. Snow doesn't seem to be the enemy rather than wind, rain & damp. Now that most builders merchants deliver heavy loads of sand, gravel, etc in those non-returnable 'biffo' bags, I was wondering if one of these could not be used as a sort of tent, placed over the hive, pinned down securely, front panel opened up a bit to allow bees to enter & exit and some additionl cuts around to aid ventilation. The hive should then be pretty rain & melting snow proof!!
I look forward to reading the merits for and against this idea guys & gals. Apart from the bees noticing the look of the hive is different at first I can't think of anything that would be detrimental to the hive & occupants.
Whadya think?
 

Finman 

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The most simple solution is poly brood box. Then you need no extra cover.

Wind is very bad, and if you have a hive on windy place and with mesh floor, it does not help when wind blow heat away from hive. I write from Finland.
I do not understand UK special weather, but here bees do well. Last night we got snow cover to south Finland.

The most important is spring of bees. I suppose that yopur spring is longer than your so called winter.

I have a tent like cover in front of hive during snor time from December to start of Marsh. But cold season is much more longer. It is here about 8-9 month.
 

RoofTops 

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I agree with Finman but another factor is your tent is likely to raise the humidity around the hives which is bad for the bees.
 

hedgerow pete 

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one of those bags should be ok as they are not air tight just sand tight , so one of them with a stick places four foot apart over the top goes the bag and leave a foot clear off the ground with the neterance clear as well , it should help them out
 

Skyhook 

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I would be concerned about humidity, and also about increasing the windage of the hive and having it blow over! I would suggest put in some good stakes (think trees blowing over here), then cut the bag to make either a simple windbreak, or something more like an open-fronted carport (open side downwind, obviously.

Your hive should be pretty waterproof anyway. My cedar hive's a bit old and spongy so I painted it with linseed oil and wax, now the rain runs straight off. My homemade pine bits are paintde with water based stain.
 

Midland Beek 

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My bees have the luxury of newish, premium-grade cedar wood hives with fancy metal-covered roofs. I do not think that bees in the UK need much else, but protecting hives further can give the beekeeper the nice feeling that he is 'caring' for the creatures in his ownership.
 

drstitson 

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i'd agree that these bags are probably best used to produce windbreaks to protect hives from cold easterly winds.
 

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