winterizing my beehives

Honey Bees

I’d like to do the best I can to keep my bees alive this winter so I’ve been reading and asking at my local bee club. As they say, ask two beekeepers the same question and you’ll get three answers. On top of that, bees have a mind of their own and you can treat two hives the same way and they’ll still be totally different.

So, here’s what I’ve done for my hives.

– I modified my mouse guard so the bees can get in and out better. I had used 1/4 inch hardware cloth, but dead bees accumulated inside. Rather than going to 1/2 inch (which small mice can sometimes get through), I pointed the tips down into the baseboard and cut out sections in the 1/4 inch material. There’s a photo below. I’ve read about installing mouse guards and other bee things, but it often makes no sense to me unless I see a picture.

– I strapped 1/2 inch R4 insulation to the north and west sides of the hives. These are the sides with the lowest sun exposure.

– I put a stone on top of the hives so any strong wind won’t blow the cover off. There is a board under the stone so it doesn’t freeze to the top, form ice, and slide off.

– I put a basic Home Depot ceiling tile inside the cover for top insulation. The tile is above the inner cover. I left the inner cover escape hole open for venting moisture and to allow access if snow blocks the lower entrance.

– I’ll check honey stores during the winter by feeling how heavy the boxes are. If they get light, I have honey frames waiting for them. I’ll lay them inside the hive at the top for them to empty into their stores.

– Finally, I am thinking positive thoughts and hoping my bees are happy and and well this winter.

bees IMG_6121

bees IMG_6123

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