Top Bar Hives in the Winter: A Look at Connie and Diane’s Bees!

Connie and Diane are first year beekeepers here in Calgary Alberta, meaning that this is their first winter with their bees, and they are prepared! I asked them to send me some details on how they winterized their bees this year, and here is what they told me!

This is a summary of the steps we went through to winterize our hive:

1. Moved all but one of the capped honey combs in front of the brood complex (ie: between the brood and the entrance)

2. Opened up the bottom board; cleaned and sanded it

3. Wrapped the sides, bottom and ends in reflectix-type insulation

4. Built a wood-chip tray (about 3 inches of chips) and placed it on top of the bars

5. Filled the empty ‘roof’ space with fiberglass insulation and placed the roof on top of the chips

6. Drilled a 3/8 inch ventilation hole at the top of the side of the hive, just in front of the brood complex

7. Covered all but a ¾ inch length of the entrance

8. Wrapped the sides, bottom and ends with fiberglass insulation that had been stuffed in plastic garbage bags (this is held in place with rope wrapped around the entire hive); made sure to leave the entrance accessible and air flow open to the new ventilation hole.

9. We plan to cover with a tarp before the snow flies.

If you are interested in sharing your winterization pictures with us, Diane and Connie started a group on the Community Hive site called “Winterization” inviting people to download photos and comment on their winterization process. The purpose of the group is for people to share their own experiences and photos about hive winterization. In the Spring we can compare notes about how it went. Please participate! I think its going to be a great resource!

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