Hives can benefit from being wrapped to make it easier for the bees to stay warm during the winter. As we have mentioned before in our previous blog, no one solution will fit everyone's needs. You as the beekeeper will need to analyze and customize your approach to winter prep depending on your region and climate. For most of Western and Northern Canada beekeepers benefit from wrapping and insulating their hives as the drops in temperature can be quite significant. The colder it is outside the hive, the more energy the colony will need to expand to keep itself warm. More energy means more food will be consumed, which can raise the possibility that there will not be enough food stores to last through the winter.
Bee Cozies are a great tool for any new or experienced beekeeper. Because the cozies are black, they help with absorbing the heat from the sun. Cozies are also very durable, water resistant and will provide excellent protection against snow, rain, and wind. If used correctly they can be used year after year to make sure your colonies stay nice and toasty.
Inner cover pad or grass/wood chips (in a burlap sack)
Mouse guard (if not on already)
Putting on the bee cozy on the hive is relatively quick task, however you want to make sure you follow the proper steps. Take off your top cover to make sure you are not adding additional bulk to your wrapping. You should only have two supers with an inner cover to slip the bee cozy over. Unroll your bee cozy and position it over top of the hive. With your bee brush make sure to remove any bees that may get rolled underneath the bee cozy. Once all the bees are out of the way slide the cozy over the top. We recommend that you put an empty super on top of your hive. The empty super will hold either the pad or any other type of insulation you decided to put on top. It will help to collect the moisture from the hive in the winter, making sure there’s little chance of your bees getting wet.
Once you have positioned everything, put in a couple of staples to hold the cozy in place. If you have decided to have the empty super on top, you want to make sure you have the top entrance available to your bees. Carefully with your knife insert were the top entrance would be and make a small opening inside the cozy. Make the entrance whole about 1.5”x1.5”. Then Staple in place. This is also the perfect time to put on your mouse guard, if you haven’t done so already. Put the cozy overtop of the mouse guard and it will help to keep it in place. Go to the back of the hive and pull the cozy as snug as you can and staple all along the sides. Repeat on each side of the hive.
Once the cozy is secured replace the telescoping lid, and your hive is set for the winter. We can also recommend this video here for a more detailed version on how to put on a bee cozy.
During the winter beekeepers don’t spend as much time with the colonies as they usually would during the warmer months. This is why preparing your hives for winter is so important and crucial in their survival. With the best tools and knowledge, the hives will have a better chance at surviving the winter.
Comments will be approved before showing up.