How to Winterize Bee Hives



Remove the hive’s queen excluders.,
Use a vented inner cover.,
Use a polystyrene telescoping top cover.,
Use carpet lining in the coldest climates.,
Wrap the hive with insulated tarp.

Queen excluders keep the queen in the lower brood super of a hive box during swarming season. However, you should remove any queen excluders during colder temperatures. Clusters tend to move upwards through the hive box as they consume their food stores during winter, a queen excluder could leave the queen trapped in the lower super. Without the cluster’s warmth, she’ll die., Your hive’s inner cover should have a hole in the center for bees to exit. It should also have other vents or small holes for moist air to escape. Without a vented inner cover, too much condensation will build up, leading to colony death.On warmer winter days, some bees will fly out to investigate conditions, cleanse themselves, remove dead bees, and perform other tasks. For these reasons, exit holes in your inner cover, in addition to those at the hive box’s base, are desirable.

, A telescoping top cover is a standard part of a hive box that fits over the inner cover. Many beekeepers choose a reflective metal cover for the summer to prevent the hive from overheating. You should replace your metal cover with a polystyrene cover in the winter, since it will provide better ventilation and prevent condensation from forming., In the coldest climates, like Northern Canada, some beekeepers use a carpet-lined inner cover and baseboard, with the shag facing into the hive. This provides extra insulation, but the carpet fibers still let excess moisture out. Make sure the carpet lining has cut outs for the hive’s entrances and exits., If you live in a colder climate, like the northern United States or Canada, you should wrap your hive using an insulated barrier, like black tarp paper. Use a staple gun to attach it to the hive’s exterior. Wrap the hive box from about a half inch (or a centimeter or two) below the top covers to the same distance above the base.Purchase your tarp barrier online or at your local home improvement store.

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