Wrapping Beehives for Winter

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john1 

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I am in Manchester (UK).
I am preparing the hive for the winter.

My hives are wooden hives.
I am planning to leave - a super for the bees and also I am planning to leave a super, without frames, above the crown board to leave sugar candy.

How do I wrap the hive for winter?
What material should I use to wrap?
Thanks,
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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How do I wrap the hive for winter?
What material should I use to wrap?
Thanks,
You don't need to wrap them - unless you're planning to give them as a Christmas present.
Close all the holes in the crownboard (unless actually feeding) get a piece of 50mm celotex (or similar) the same size as the crownboard and put that on top of the crownboard (or even better glue it permanently inside the roof)
If you are leaving a super of stores for the bees, make sure you remove the queen excluder.
If you are giving them a super of stores - they're not going to need any fondant.
 

pargyle 

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I am in Manchester (UK).
I am preparing the hive for the winter.

My hives are wooden hives.
I am planning to leave - a super for the bees and also I am planning to leave a super, without frames, above the crown board to leave sugar candy.

How do I wrap the hive for winter?
What material should I use to wrap?
Thanks,
You can make a hive cosy out of Kingspan/Celotex - or a lot of people with timber hives just put insulation over the crownboard.

If you feed them up to full weight now before winter there is no need to leave them with fondant - indeed, if you are going to feed them fondant then the way to feed them is either directly on top of the frames in an eke or above the feed hole in the crown board in a container (I've used plastic takeaway cartons with a hole cut in the bottom corresponding to the feed hole in the crownboard). If you use these methods you can fill the super above the crown board with insulation which will keep them nice and toasty.

I consider fondant an emergency feed in the spring if a colony runs out - at present I am feeding Invertbee syrup in 2 ltr rapid feeders .. some colonies are taking down 2 litres every 8 hours.
 

Hebeegeebee 

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Just as in your house, the most important thing is to insulate the loft space and don't leave the loft-hatch open - (crown board feed holes shuct and don't ventillate the top of the hive to allow heat to escape). You may have noticed that the bees will seal up porter bee escapes - for a reason. Some colonies will also reduce the entrance with propolis too.
 

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Just as in your house, the most important thing is to insulate the loft space and don't leave the loft-hatch open - (crown board feed holes shuct and don't ventillate the top of the hive to allow heat to escape). You may have noticed that the bees will seal up porter bee escapes - for a reason. Some colonies will also reduce the entrance with propolis too.
This colony removed the propolis and made a ventilation hole ;)
 

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Poly Hive 

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Wooden hives especially should have insulation over the CB ALL the time to help the bees process honey in the active season and to minimise heat loss over the inactive season. Pretty simple surely?

PH
 

Swarm 

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Wooden hives especially should have insulation over the CB ALL the time to help the bees process honey in the active season and to minimise heat loss over the inactive season. Pretty simple surely?

PH
Tell that to the bees, they opened it up. It was propolised but they chose to create the opening, in fact they removed all the propolis.
I've a number with Abelo poly roofs and also old wooden roofs, I've never seen a difference. The strongest colonies coming out of winter were those with no insulation.
 

Poly Hive 

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Bees do nothing invariably. ITLD may have some stats on what winters best.

PH
 

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In spring my strongest colonies are the ones in poly
 

Swarm 

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Just adding my two penneth as I see beginners panicking that their bees won't make it through our mild winters without PIR shells or crown board covers.
I was leaving that gap to see if they sealed it again but there's a feeder on it now.
 

john1 

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You can make a hive cosy out of Kingspan/Celotex - or a lot of people with timber hives just put insulation over the crownboard.

If you feed them up to full weight now before winter there is no need to leave them with fondant - indeed, if you are going to feed them fondant then the way to feed them is either directly on top of the frames in an eke or above the feed hole in the crown board in a container (I've used plastic takeaway cartons with a hole cut in the bottom corresponding to the feed hole in the crownboard). If you use these methods you can fill the super above the crown board with insulation which will keep them nice and toasty.

I consider fondant an emergency feed in the spring if a colony runs out - at present I am feeding Invertbee syrup in 2 ltr rapid feeders .. some colonies are taking down 2 litres every 8 hours.
I can buy some Kingspan TW50 Insulation Board from probably www.wickes.co.uk or I can get some Superglass Superwall 36 Cavity Wall Insulation.
Is Kingspan TW50 Insulation Board better?

How about wrapping the outside of the hive? I can see there are some products like Bee Cozy sold by www.thorne.co.uk for winter wrapping.

When should I start doing the insulation? It is already October.

I will probably leave a "Hive Alive Fondant, 1kg" in a plastic container with a whole just above the crown board (just in case they want to use it).

How often do people open the hive in winter? Is it once in a month to check whether the bees are ok?

Thanks
 

understanding_bees 

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How often do people open the hive in winter? Is it once in a month to check whether the bees are ok?
If you want to check on the bees during winter, I have found it helpful to use a clear crown board. This method uses a sheet of clear acrylic or polycarbonate plastic, rather than plywood for the crown board. It is then very easy to get a "top side view" of the bees without disturbing them, or exposing them to cold air.
 

Erichalfbee 

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I can buy some Kingspan TW50 Insulation Board from probably www.wickes.co.uk or I can get some Superglass Superwall 36 Cavity Wall Insulation.
Is Kingspan TW50 Insulation Board better?

How about wrapping the outside of the hive? I can see there are some products like Bee Cozy sold by www.thorne.co.uk for winter wrapping.

When should I start doing the insulation? It is already October.

I will probably leave a "Hive Alive Fondant, 1kg" in a plastic container with a whole just above the crown board (just in case they want to use it).

How often do people open the hive in winter? Is it once in a month to check whether the bees are ok?

Thanks
I have my cosies on already. They go in as soon as feeding us done.
I don’t look into my colonies now till end of March beginning of April. Just heft or weigh after January.
If you must peek and peek only UB has the answer
 

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I can buy some Kingspan TW50 Insulation Board from probably www.wickes.co.uk or I can get some Superglass Superwall 36 Cavity Wall Insulation.
Is Kingspan TW50 Insulation Board better?

How about wrapping the outside of the hive? I can see there are some products like Bee Cozy sold by www.thorne.co.uk for winter wrapping.

When should I start doing the insulation? It is already October.

I will probably leave a "Hive Alive Fondant, 1kg" in a plastic container with a whole just above the crown board (just in case they want to use it).

How often do people open the hive in winter? Is it once in a month to check whether the bees are ok?

Thanks
Kingspan has signifcantly better insulation properties than the Superglass (0.018 - 0.023, vs 0.036W/mK ). It also does not get soggy when wet.

Beecozy claims an R value of 8 which (assuming it to be in US not SI units) is signifcantly worse than 50mm of Kinspan, and is much more expensive.

Thorne have acrylic crownboards in their sale, but collection only: National Clear Acrylic Quilt - SALE - COLLECTION ONLY FROM BRANCH SALE DAYS AND NATIONAL HONEY SHOW They are easy enough to make, especially if you get the acrylic / polycarbonate precut. Perspex crownboards - The Apiarist
 

Poly Hive 

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What is wrong with insulation over the CB Swarm? Back in the day the Glen hives and WBC's all had straw or blanket "cosies" on top of the frames, certainly in my neck of the woods in the NE of Scotland. Mobus found over years of experimenting that bottom ventilation and top insulation was the best configuration for over wintering and with a bit of thought is that not very close to a hollow tree?

PH
 

hemo 

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All my winter broods are either single or double Poly, hive cosies out of PIR are bulky so needs somewhere to store them after winter. Ok if you have spare storage room for them.
 

Murox 

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What is wrong with insulation over the CB Swarm? Back in the day the Glen hives and WBC's all had straw or blanket "cosies" on top of the frames, certainly in my neck of the woods in the NE of Scotland. Mobus found over years of experimenting that bottom ventilation and top insulation was the best configuration for over wintering and with a bit of thought is that not very close to a hollow tree?
PH
That jogged a memory of beekeeping with my grandfather in the late '50's - '60's, straw around the sides of WBC's but always a folded to size woollen blanket in a hessian sack on the top - that was way down south on the essex coast.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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That jogged a memory of beekeeping with my grandfather in the late '50's - '60's, straw around the sides of WBC's but always a folded to size woollen blanket in a hessian sack on the top - that was way down south on the essex coast.
It was the way everywhere until 1947 - when that clown Wedmore wrote that great work of fiction 'on the ventilation of beehives'
And then the gullible and ones of little imagination followed his dogma and made it almost a sin to insulate hives.

It's surprising to think they made him president of the BBKA - or is it? :unsure: ...............................
 

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Compounding errors into multiple errors that stem from one single source beggars belief really.
Similar story of the belief that Varroa destructor feeds on haemolymph. A poor / incomplete translation of an abstract of a paper written in Cyrillic / Russian in the 1970s, and everybody stuck with the idea for nigh on half a century before along came Samuel Ramsey and showed it to be nonsense

“Using these problematic results, they stated ‘Varroa are feeding on hemolymph.’ Many saw only that statement. When a paper is written in a language that isn’t translated into English often, sometimes the abstract [only] is translated: this particular abstract did not include enough detail to tell that the methods used were not solid.”

In sticking with Wedmore, the "poor / incomplete translation" excuse does not work quite so well
 
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