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Winterizing and Insulating Your Hive

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Winterizing Your Top Bar Hive for the Colder Months

There are significant steps to take to help your bees to make it through the winter. Below is a checklist to prepare your beehive for the cold, winter months.

Most of the capacity in this article is directed toward those who live in cold winter climates. Insulating the beehive, and keeping a full beehive of honey is crucial in areas where you will experience below-freezing temperatures for many days at a clock time. obviously, if you live in a very strong climate like Florida it will not be necessity to winterize your beehive. Understand that you may need to adjust this information for your particular climate and area.

Leave Honey Stores for the Bees to Overwinter

Because of how the bees use honey over the winter, we find that it is more supportive of the bees to harvest honey in the spring alternatively of in the precipitate in cold climates because the bees will need the honey for warmheartedness. not only do the bees eat the beloved over the winter, but they besides take advantage of the honeys ’ incredible heat storing properties as thermal aggregate. During the winter days, the honey absorb warmheartedness from the radiating sunday, stores it, and lento releases that warmth binding into the hive throughout the coolness of the even and nox. That being the case, we feel the concluding honey reap in the fall should only be to prevent the bees from attaching their comb to the fake back. Do not remove more than 1-2 honey comb. Labor Day is a good character date to keep in heed as around the last time you want to harvest honey. This besides leaves enough prison term in the fall for the bees to re-propolize any break seals from opening up the hive.

Insulate and Leave Honey for your Bees to Overwinter – Thermal Mass

Insulating hives has two significant effects. First, if a beehive has marginal honey stores, insulating greatly increases its chances of overwintering. second, because the bees create warmth by eating honey and using this fuel to generate heat by flexing their wing muscles, a hive that is insulated will have many more honey comb to harvest in the spring. The thermal multitude of the honeycombs greatly reduces the fluctuation of the nest temperature because the honeycomb act like “ thermal batteries ” and can store heat during the day and gradually release it at night. The insulating material Beehive Cozy Covers well add to this effect by buffering both hot and cold outside temperatures

Insulation helps balance out the ever increasing weather anomalies

The most dangerous upwind anomaly for the bees is when there are several unusually hot days in the fall and the bees have collected water to cool the hive, only to have the temperature on the spur of the moment plummet to freezing in a single day. This situation leaves the bees with moisture in the hive and no way of fanning that moisture out. Our beehive Cozy Cover will help keep the beehive at a more reproducible temperature, which is beneficial when the temperatures fluctuate from a temperature like 60 degrees down to 25 degrees in a sidereal day .

Checklist to prepare your hive for the winter:

1 ) Assess Honey Stores – Feel the weight unit of your beehive. Install a feeder cup if your bees don ’ t have enough beloved stored to make it through the winter
2 ) Move the false back forward
3 ) Reducing down the entrance of the beehive if the bees have not
4 ) Insulate the beehive – the most important step for winterizing

For Winter, Move the False Back Forward 

falseback-winterize-move-behind-last-comb
This is a September or October job .

The false back is included with all of our hives, the Golden Mean, Original BackYardHive and Cathedral Hives. It is a peak bar with a thin sail of wood suspended below it. The false back is kept in the back of the hive in the summer to gain access into the hive easier and is then moved ahead up against the last comb for the winter months in regulate to create a smaller outer space in the beehive that the bees have to keep warm.

Ideally you would want to move the faithlessly spinal column before the first snow or carry period below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The faithlessly spinal column should be moved forward on a day that is warmer than 50 degrees Fahrenheit so that the hive doesn ’ triiodothyronine lose besides a lot heat. besides the bees have propolized and sealed up their hive for winter. normally they start this process in September, so opening the beehive to move the falseback will break these seals so it is better to move the falseback ahead when the sources of nectar refuse in your region. For address, in Colorado along the front crop the end of October would be the absolute latest that one should put the false spinal column in position.
falseback-winterize-move-behind-last-comb
To install the fake back, look through the window and determine where the final of the combs have been drawn out. normally this is near the back of the hive. Remove the top bar at this location and insert the false back snug against the last crown cake with comb on it. The following step is to gently loosen all the top bars at the back of the hive from the border of the beehive body. Try to keep them as one unit as you slide them ahead against the false second. Keeping the empty top bars together as one unit will ensure that the propolis cachet between them is left integral .
If you haven ’ thyroxine already, you may need to move your bees forth in the hive. Moving the bees advancing is only necessity if the bees have created their brood combs in the center field of the beehive and have left empty space in the front man of the beehive ( i.e. no comb draw on the exceed bars at the front of the hive ). Moving the bees forward decreases the hive volume and is an extra protective measure in cold climates. It is quite important that this is lone done during a prison term that is warm enough to see many bees flying from the entrance. This is an extra dance step and is more involve, requiring that you are comfortable with your bees and your skill level is developed. In a climate like Colorado, mid-september is the last time that one should move the bees forward in the hive .
To move the bees advancing, start by removing the empty top bars at the front of the hive until you get to the foremost draw comb. You will begin moving each comb forward, detaching the comb from the sides of the hive as necessary to enable them to be moved .

hive-tool-pry-top-bars-apart-loosen
Prying the top bars apart with the Hive Tool
Continue moving the comb ahead one by one, like a filing cabinet, until you have successfully moved all the comb to the front of the beehive. When the concluding comb is repositioned insert the fake back behind it. then take the remaining vacate clear bars that you removed from the front of the beehive and put them behind the delusive back. “ Robbing ” may be a problem in the capitulation, so it is crucial that all the spaces and gaps are sealed in the top of the beehive .

Installing a Feeder Cup if Your Bees Don’t Have Enough Honey Stored

Feeding your bees can be bad, chiefly ascribable to electric potential overcharge. Make sure that your bees need to be fed to avoid undue tension to the beehive necessitate to defend off invaders.
The cosmopolitan rule is that if your beehive has less than 7 honey combs you may need to offer honey to your bees over the winter.

Lift your hive to know how much honey is stored
Another direction to test for the amount of beloved in the beehive is to lift the back end your hive. If your hive feels fairly big, like a 35 pound sack of frump food, there are credibly adequate honey stores. Get consumption to the weight in your beehive thus in the descend and give you know if your bees are short on honey and necessitate to be fed.
We recommend feeding the bees honey rather of sugar syrup or sugar water, as carbohydrate is not a lifelike food for the bees. If your beehive is in its first year you can use shop bought honey, but ideally you would want to use honey you have collected from that beehive .
install a feeder cup inside your hive for winter feeding
If you have a comb with vacate cells you can fill those cells with honey water. Use a 5:1 honey to water mix and fill the cells. A turkey baster works bang-up to squirt the concoction into the empty cells .
Another option is to use a shallow bowl or container – it can be a plastic container reused from a grocery store purchase. It is important that it is shallow enough to slide under a comb or 3, but deep adequate so that you will not have to fill it besides much ( opening the beehive in the winter may perilously cool the bees ). Slide your container under 1-3 comb. This is significant, because when the bees are cold they can not move very fast or far, so their food source needs to be close. place sticks in the container so that when the bees visit the eater they will not fall in or drown. Besides the comb that the feeder is under, the feeder should stick out 1-2 empty bars or overtone combs in the back of the hive .
Place your fake back as close to the feeder as you can. Mark on the top of the evacuate or partially-combed top bar that is above where your bird feeder is located thus that during the cold months of the winter if your bees need more honey you can promptly pull off good that one bar, and pour honey into the hive. Remember, you should install the self-feeder in the fall on a warm day. If the bees are warm adequate to be flying from the hive – about 50 degrees – then it is a good time to do the install. Be certain to move promptly so the beehive temperature doesn ’ metric ton drop excessively a lot .
Wait to pour honey in the hive until the end of the day or a few hours before dusk as there will be fewer neighbor bees out and about foraging for robbing opportunities. 
Wait to pour honey in the hive until the end of the day or a few hours earlier dusk as there will be fewer neighbor bees out and about foraging for robbing opportunities.

Reducing down the entrance of the hive

Bees that know how to close up the beehive entrance will have closed up their entrance with propolis, leaving a few little openings. If the bees have the genetic ability or memory they will best know how much they will need to close their entrance. And they will reopen ( chew off the propolis ) when necessary .
Bee hive propolized entrnace by the bees
Bees have propolized down the entrance for winter
Reducing down the entrance helps to keep cold winds from entering the beehive and it besides reduces the total of robbing your beehive may be experiencing. It is best to watch the bees to see if they naturally begin to reduce the entrance on their own with propolis.

If the bees have reduced down their entrance with propolis there is no want
to do anything with the entrance !

If by the goal of October you have not observed the bees closing up the hive, you will need to help them by putting some humble twigs, straw, or denounce over share ( about one-half ) of the capture. With materials like these, the bees can push out the twigs or straw on their own when they need to. Learn more about Entrance Reducing your beehive


Why is there fighting going on at the front of the hive?

Toward the end of the gather temper, weakened hives may experience a problem with “ robbing ”. Robbing is when bees from another hive charge through the entrance, pass the guards, and begin to steal honey. Having an open container of honey in a weaken hive may attract this behavior. You can determine robbing behavior by looking in the window. Robbing bees will be seen scurrying along the sides of the glass, moving promptly to the honey stores. There is normally fighting or bees hanging on the leg of intruder bees to remove them. so to prevent this we suggest that you do two things. First, expect to pour honey in the hive until the day before a cold snap since robbing behavior normally stops after the beginning frost. second, place some twigs or sticks over separate of the capture to reduce the area the bees will have to defend .
But be careful, the temperature warms up besides much, the bees will have a hard meter ventilating the hive so you may need to remove some of the twigs or sticks. If this happens, your hive may acquire excessively much moisture, which can stress the beehive as the temperature drops below freezing. For winter feed, pour a bantam sting of hot water into the honey to make it less gluey so it pours well. To get the honey into the hive, we suggest using a turkey baster .
We nobelium longer send entrance reducers with the hives. With weather anomalies and drastically fluctuate temperatures, putting in an capture reducer can over heat the beehive. When the temperatures rise to 70 degrees in November or December, and the bees need to cool the beehive they can not push out this entrance reducing agent, resulting in over heating the hive and this over heating system may kill the colony .

Insulate Your Hive with our Beehive Cozy Cover

The Beehive Cozy Cover
The newly Beehive Cozy Cover

There are actually many different materials you can use to winterize your hive. You can be pretty creative with this summons and find the perfect solution for your climate and position. however, here at BackYardHive we typically use our new Beehive Cozy Cover. The Cozy fits the Golden Mean Hive, the Original BackYardHive, the Cathedral Hive and most popular exceed bars hives our there. We like to give the bees the best insulation protection we can ; we find that it gives them a real boost when jump comes .
For climates exchangeable to Colorado, you will want to have the Beehive Cozy Cover other in topographic point by the conclusion of October .
Insulating the beehive can add to your jump harvest because the bees will not need as much of their honey for fuel or affectionateness to get them through the winter. Another advantage to insulating the hive is that the bees will be able to start their brood earlier in the form, so there will be larger numbers of bees ready to head out for the spring nectar flows .
You may wonder why we need to insulate our hive when in nature they do not need insulation. Well, actually they do. Wild bees that survive in a harsh winter climate tend to live inside hollow braid with thick walls ( insulation ) protecting the bees from the harsh winter elements .
Make sure that the entrance to the hive is opened all winter to allow the bees to come and go. During the winter the bees may need to leave the hive on ardent days to gather body of water, or to go on a cleansing flight. then after grave snowfalls, check your hive entrance to make indisputable it is receptive for the bees.

We consider winterizing the hive a crucial part of the bee defender method acting. This elementary and fun maneuver insures that our partnership and exchange with the bees continues into the future year. In the form you may congratulate yourself for assisting the bees as you once again witness your environment come alive with the delightful hum of the honey bee .

Does using insulation heat up my hive?

Insulation does not inflame up the hive, it insulates at heart temperatures from outside temperatures.

Because the bees generate heat by flexing their fly muscles, they are the fastball. If we were in a camp that had no insulation a fastball would be pretty useless in sub-zero or cold temperatures. Say we put the same heater in a cabin with great insulating material, we would probably have to turn off the heater soon because we would “ capture ” the inflame within the dwelling due to the insulation keeping the “ estrus ” or warmheartedness inside the cabin.

Same with cooling system, the bees are cooling their beehive with urine vapor and fanning their wings, i.e. creating “ air condition ”. This is the like principle as breeze discipline in our mod homes that are insulated. If we put an air conditioner in a tent with no insulating material on a hot day we would have to run the tune conditioner on high all day to keep the temperature comfortable. If we put big panels of insulation around the camp, now we have insulated the inwardly cool atmosphere from the outside hot air, so the less we have to run the breeze conditioner.

Warm winter days will not overheat the hive. If it is cold out, it will get cold in the beehive and the bees will warm the hive. The insulation helps keep in this heat. If it is cold weather for respective days or weeks and then the temperatures suddenly warm up and the sun is out beating down on the hive, the insulating material will keep the hive from getting excessively warmly. And in the winter when the days are short by the clock time it warms up a bite it is already starting to cool down.

In cold climates you can keep the Cozy Cover on from October through March, as we sometimes still get temperature drops and coke in March ( sometimes into April ) .

How about using straw bales set around the hive in the winter?

well, kind of a good theme, but there are some big issues. The biggest problem with pale yellow bales is keeping them dry. a soon as the strew gets wet, there are model issues and a hive surrounded by moldy strew bales is not a good estimate. The second trouble is that the bales attract mice and by the time jump rolls around the bales are normally full of mouse. So one better have a mouse precaution on their beehive for the winter .
hive-cozy-with-straw-bales Straw Bales – not such a good idea, the bales cast and attract mouse
Speaking of mice, in the winter months you can place a mouse guard on the front of your hive using 1/4 ” metal hardware fabric staples on the front.
mouse-guard-on-front-of-hive Mouse Guard on Bee Hive – 1/4 ” hardware fabric over the entrance therefore bees can get in and out but mice can not.

What if I have the Insulation Panels?

We no longer use the Insulation Panels or any blasphemous or pink foam circuit board insulating material. The winter studies at Cornell University and several apiaries with our Cozy Cover we find the breathability of the wool and analyze make it ideal. The foam can be damaging in some climates and is not breathable

Related Articles

Bees Robbing a Hive
Winter Feeding in a Top Bar Hive

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