Sunday, November 17, 2013

Winterizing the Hive

It's mid-november, and it's time. Time to close up the hives for the winter. To winterize the hives, we exchange the screen board for a wooden bottom board. We take off the honey super. And this year, we decided to do something a little different than last year. Last year, none of our hives survived the winter. I wrote about it here.
First we put a feeder box in, and put a 5 pound bag of granulated sugar in the box. They have lots of honey in the brood boxes, but it doesn't hurt to give them some reserve food in case they need it. Afterall, it's a long winter!

This year, we really want our bees to survive the winter. So we did some research, and found that some beekeepers put in "insulation" to help the bees stay warm. We read about putting an empty honey super above the brood boxes and filling the empty super with cedar chips.
The cedar chips not only helps with windy drafts, it also wicks away any moisture. It also smells really nice! We put this box over the top board, so that no bees can get up in it.
Finally, we put in an entrance reducer and a mouse guard at the front. Then we wrap tar paper around the entire hive, and we cut out holes at the entrance and top for the bees to come and go if it's warm enough to leave the hive. The tar paper will help with resisting moisture and keep the windy drafts out. We also put a large piece of plywood above the top lid of the hive, so that rain and snow slides off the hive box. We are super prepared this year, and hope they survive the winter.


  1. Interesting approach with the cedar chips. I imagine that's a good way to prevent mold.

  2. I have used quilt boxes just like these for the last two years. I think they are essential winter equipment (I am in the Pacific Northwest), and I too leave emergency feed for the bees (fondant cakes). I did very well last year but every year I worry about how many colonies will fail over the winter. I keep my fingers crossed!


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