Winterize Bee Hives Review And More

Honey bees are unique in that their colonies can survive through the winter. For the beekeeper, this means it is important he or she takes into consideration how to protect the bee hive in the cold winter months. Practically, the beekeeper will have to winterize bee hives to keep the members of the colony alive and fully functioning throughout the changes that winter brings. Overwintered colonies also produce more honey than colonies purchased in the spring or summer.

Winterizing a bee hive refers to the steps the beekeeper takes in protecting the bees during the winter. The hazards of winter involve more than just snow and cold, but increased wind, the likelihood of reduced aeration in the hives as the bees are staying inside, and reduced sunlight. In order to winterize bee hives, the beekeeper will have to make certain modifications to create an ideal winter habitat, and there are many products available on the market.

How To Winterize Your Bee Hive

Winterized Bee Hive

Your first thought might be that since the key issues that bees will have in winter include precipitation in the form of snow and colder temperatures, so the natural solution would be to cover the bee hive with a covering that keeps snow out and keeps heat in. 

In fact, a product designed to winterize bee hives will accomplish both of these, but a great product will accomplish this and more.

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right product to prepare your bee hives. Finding the right product requires to understand the many concerns that beekeepers have in the winter and the normal steps it would take that to protect the bee hive and the members of the colony within. Many of these concerns are mainly addressed by a quality winterizing product, but others are steps that the beekeeper should take regardless of which product they choose.

Although it is important to protect the bee hive from the elements, you also need to consider keeping the hive away from intruders, put some thought into reducing colony numbers, and planning how you will feed the colony as the bees will not venture out of the hive in winter. Bees produce honey to feed themselves in the winter, but you would have likely removed the colony's stores of honey before winter comes. Below are a list of some things to consider.

  • Winterize your bee hive ahead of time instead of waiting until the last minute
  • Provide the bee hive with a food source like grease or fondant
  • Diminishing the size of the bee hive
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    Move your bee hive to a location with less traffic
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    Reduce the size of the bee hive entrance
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    Make sure your bee hive has enough ventilation
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    Place your bee hive out of the direct path of wind (behind a tree or inside of a fence)
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    Provide the bee hive with a good quality cover

Winter Beekeeping Products Available

Although there are several important steps to take to help you winterize bee hives, a good cover is one of the easiest and most important steps you can take. There are several products available to help and put some thought into choosing the right one. Although some products may be similar, there are notable differences like whether the cover or wrap is for a one or two story hive and how well the product insulates the hive from the cold compared to other products.

The right manufacturer will offer several products that can help the beekeeper winterize bee hives quickly and efficiently. Their products are made from with layered high-density materials, and customers have found them superior to cardboard products that may not meet the needs of a beekeeper intending to prepare his or her bee hives. Listed below are several product options available.


The 1 Story Bee Cozy Bee Winter Hive Wrap is designed to help you protect your bee hive from heat loss in the winter. They are manufactured from recycled materials that are high density and layered with R8 insulate for protection. Wrapping this lightweight product around your bee hive is simple and straightforward, and can be accomplished by a single person in a reasonable amount of time.


The 1 Story Bee Cozy Bee Winter Hive Wrap fits comfortably around common commercially available bee hives, like the single story Langstroth bee hive. They can accommodate both a 10 frame bee hive and an 8 frame bee hive, with some slight modifications. This product is reusable so they should be stored in a dry location free from dust, debris, and insects in the spring. This product sells for about $20.

Rating:

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Pros

  • Insulated to provide a good amount of warmth in the winter.
  • The materials are easy to handle, wrap, and unwrap.
  • The product is lightweight rendering shipping less expensive than other  products.
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    The beekeeper can check the hives without unwrapping them.
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    The product lasts for 5 years  or more.
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    Affordably priced.

Cons

  • Some modifications may be required to accommodate   tour specific bee hive
  • Accommodates a single story bee hive of eight or ten  frames

Similar to the last product is the 2 Story Bee Cozy Bee Winter Hive Wrap. This product is made of recycled plastic and fiberglass that provide a significant reduction in heat loss. During the winter months, members of the colony cluster around the queen for warmth and hive temperature drops to conserve energy.


Harsh winters have resulted in winter bee hive losses of more than 50% in some areas. The 2 Story Bee Cozy Bee Winter Hive Wrap is designed to properly winterize bee hives and prevent loss.


As with other hive wraps, sound beekeeping practices recommended that this product be applied in early November, a few weeks after Halloween. This is designed to accommodate aspects of the honey bee's behavior, although it also gives the beekeeper enough time to prepare their bee hives in case there are multiple hives that need to be winterized, or if winter sets in a little early. This product is designed for a 2 story hive and can accommodate an 8 or 10 frame Langstroth bee hive, or similar.

Rating:

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Pros

  • Affordably priced
  • Compact and light so easy   and inexpensive to ship
  • Easy to wrap and unwrap   from bee hive
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    Insulation provides adequate warmth for bee hive in    winter
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    Lifespan of five years or    more (can be reused)
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    The hive can be checked without the wrap needing to  be removed
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    Made from durable, recycled materials

Cons

  • Accommodates a 2-story, 8   or 10 frame hive
  • Modifications may need to be made for certain bee hives

Temperatures fall in the wintertime so making sure that your hives are properly insulated from the cold is an important component of ensuring the survival of your honey bee colony. The 2 Story Bee Cozy Bee Winter Hive Wrap and Inner Cover Pad Combo consists of a wrap designed to accommodate a 2 story bee hive, as well as an Inner Pad that is designed to provide an extra layer of insulation to aid the beekeeper who wants to winterize bee hives.


In addition to the plastic and fiberglass of the hive wrap, this product also comes with an Inner Cover Pad made from insulating materials. The Inner Cover Pad should be left in the plastic that arrives in, so do not remove it from this insulating plastic. This product is easy to install and reusable so you can have winterized bee hives with large productions of honey year after year. This product sells for about $30.

Rating:

Ease if Use (Easy)

Assembly Time (Quick)

Design Quality (Very Good Quality)

Pros

  • Insulated with plastic and fiberglass for warmth.
  • The materials are easily wrapped and unwrapped.
  • Lightweight product is easy and inexpensive to ship.
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    The product has a lifespan of at least 5 years or more.
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    Price is reasonable.
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    Comes with an additional   layer of insulation that is inexpensive and reusable.
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    Inner Cover Pad Combo provides additional warmth    to the colony.

Cons

  • Designed for a 2 story, 8 or  10 frame hive.
  • Slightly pricier than other products.

The 2 Story Bee Hive Insulation Winter Wrap Kit includes a number of items designed to make your winterized bee hives the most optimized in the neighborhood. In addition to a 2 Story Hive Wrap and Insulation pad, this product also comes with an in-hive frame feeder, moisture board, AP23 winter patty, a 12-foot bee hive tie-down strap, and a wooden bee hive shim.


The In-hive frame feeder will provide your bee hive with nutrition before and after the winter season is through. It is designed with a special system to prevent too much food entering the hive and drowning the bees. The frame feeder should not be used to feed the bee hive in the winter as it will increase moisture in the hive. The moisture board is designed to absorb moisture, which can lead to the growth of fungus in the hive and eventually cause hive loss.


The AP23 winter patty is a food source that is low in protein to discourage production of a new brood in the winter months. The wooden bee hive shim is designed to allow the beekeeper additional access to the hive to provide additional nutrition if needed. The 12-foot high strap will tie the bee hive lid down to the hive box to help winterize bee hives by preventing separation by heavy winter winds. This product can be purchased for 8 or 10 frame bee hives and sells for about $60.

Rating:

Easy of Use (Easy)

Assembly Time (Quick)

Design Quality (Very Good Quality)

Pros

  • Comes with a variety of important features to  optimally winterize bee hives.
  • Reasonably priced   considering many uses.
  • Provides improved insulation  in winter compared to other products.
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    Moisture board reduces moisture.
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    Provides multiple   mechanisms of feeding hive   as well as a hive food   source.
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    Products can be reused.

Cons

  • More expensive than the   other products in this    review.
  • More time is needed to    spend on installing all the components.

Conclusion

It is important to winterize your bee hives so that you can protect the members of the colony from the ravages of winter while also increasing the potential hive output. Winterized bee hives produce more honey than hives obtained in the spring, so it is to the beekeeper's benefit to properly winterize the hives. There are various steps that a beekeeper can take to properly winterize hives, and this includes investing in the right products.

Several products from Lappe's Bee Supply and Honey Farm are available to protect your bee hives from the elements, insulate them from the cold, and encourage a well-functioning and stable winter hive. In addition to steps like protecting your hive from wind forces and moving it to a quiet, secure location, purchasing the right product helps you feed and warm your bees in the winter and avoid the risk of hive loss.

Whether you are a beginner beekeeper or a seasoned pro, you will have to decide which product represents the best investment for you. The 2 Story Bee Cozy Bee Winter Hive Wrap and Inner Cover Pad Combo represents a great investment for many beekeepers, scoring highly in several measures, but because winter beekeeping products are designed to meet the individual needs of the beekeeper, the choice remains yours.

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