Beehives in winter

Insulated bee hives: Keeping bees alive in winter

Winter times are trying times for bees. True, bees are always living life and also preparing for hard times. Regardless of how much bees prepare; a beekeeper is obligated to care for bees in winter; or the whole or majority of the colonies could be lost. In winter, cold can sip into the hives. When it becomes too much, the bees will freeze to death no matter how much they flap their wings or come together to generate heat. For many beekeepers, beehive insulation is a common aspect of their bee rearing job. Still, for beginners, it may seem hard. Although beekeeping in winter is not rocket science, yet if not done right, a beekeeper could kill or inconvenience the bees while trying to save and protect them. Keeping bees warm in winter is achievable following these helpful and simple steps.

How to keep bees warm in winter

Use of beehive cover

Beehive needs to be well insulated during winter. While there are a couple of things to keep bees alive in winter, the use of beehive winter wrap or beehive winter cover is more important. The beehive cover is designed to keep the hive warm. It's usually fixed on the telescoping cover of a beehive. Usually, it's made of foam, wood, and vinyl. When it's fixed on the top of the beehive, heat is trapped from within so that the heat created by the bees remains. The beehive wrap's design covers the beehive from all angles; from the sides and the top. Smart tips when using a wrap:
  • Always create a hole for air to flow through to avoid condensation, which may kill bees.
  • Create a little hole on the wraps around exit zones for the bees to go out and come back freely (bees may still go out despite the cold)
Beehives in the chilly winter

Positioning a beehive

In winter, endeavor to reposition a beehive to a place with less wind disturbance. This is necessary to avoid cold winds disturbing or even killing the bees. If possible, when the sun rises during winter, see if you can get the hives directly on the sun. Do not let snow block the beehive's exits and ventilation channels to prevent the overwintering bees from dying.

Leave some honey behind and feed the bees

Harvesting honey should be in moderation. Do not empty the hive; always leave some honey behind for the winterizing bees to feed on to stay alive. Since it's difficult to tell when the honey will be exhausted, plan to feed them with sugar mixtures or pollen. Eating helps them in staying warm.

The take away

Insulated beehives are havens for overwintering bees. Every beekeeper should care for honey bees in winter in a bid to keep them alive in those chilly and deadly months. Preventing all the bees' death is almost impossible, but the majority of the colonies will survive to experience another warm season if proper steps are taken.

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