2022 Oct 29 – Hive Covers

Virginia is not so cold that we need to insulate our hives in the winter. I’m sure some folks do, though the temperatures do not get really cold for long stretches typically. A box of honey on top of a regular hive and they are usually good to go. My view is that insulation would probably help, who doesn’t like an extra blanket on those cold winter days? So even though I don’t insulate most of my hives, I do give them an insulated cover.

Basic physics will tell you that moisture from the breath of a hive of bees will gather at the top of the hive, condense into water, and possible drip onto the bees. One solution is to provide a top hive exit for the moisture, although that also provides a path for cold air to enter the hive. My preference is to add some insulation to the top. Water will then condense on the least insulated part of the hive, namely the side walls, where it can drip harmlessly away from the bees.

I covered the last of my hives today, even though these pictures are from last weekend.

For my top bar hives, the bees remain covered by the solid top bars when I remove the cover. A piece of foam insulation cut to fit and the hive is ready to go.
For my Langstroth hives, I again cut a piece of foam insulation to fit. I like the 1 inch foam since it allows the telescoping cover to still fit over the top box. I place a piece of tape where the inner cover hold connects to discourage the bees from chewing on the foam.

May you prosper and find honey.

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