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Winter is a tough season for honey bees. The harsh, cold winds can cause the colony to suffer many losses and grow smaller. Despite this, beekeepers are able to winter their bee colonies and have them emerge with great strength in spring. Insulating the beehive is one of the ways to better ensure that a colony will survive winter. Wraps of various kinds are used around beehives to provide some insulation from the cold. The wraps are made using various materials that do not conduct heat from the beehive. This guide takes you through wrapping beehives to keep them warm through winter, and the best beehive winter wraps currently available on the market.
Insulating a beehive requires all-round covering. Winter wraps and other insulating devices used by beekeepers provide this cover. They may also cover ventilation inlets and outlets of the beehive. After using a winter wrap or other insulation on a beehive, be sure to check the hive for ventilation. Even in winter, airflow is required through the beehive and out of it. However, the size of the ventilation inlets and outlets is greatly reduced in winter. The best beehive winter wraps have taken ventilation into consideration and make it easy for the beehive to breathe.
Benefits of Using a Beehive Winter Wrap
There are many advantages of using a beehive winter wrap. The benefits include:
1. Preventing condensation
Beehives that have condensation forming in winter risk being lost. The honey bee colony in a beehive suffers greater losses over winter than in other seasons. The drops of water from condensation can chill bees and kill them. Preventing condensation is greatly assisted when you use a wrap. It allows water to be removed from the beehive by ventilation.
2. Reducing heat loss
Wrapping the beehive prevents losses of heat from the beehive. More heat held in the beehive keeps water from forming drops and freezing in the cold of winter. With a wrap, the honey bee colony is able to keep the beehive warm without getting too worn out.
3. Warming the hive
In some regions, there is some sunshine in winter. The sunshine is sometimes strong enough to warm the beehive. Out in the sun, dark colored wraps help to warm up the hive on such days. This saves bees from using their energy to keep the beehive warm. They can direct their energies towards other beehive activities and tasks that they need to carry out.
4. Increasing the winter survival rate of the colony
The overall survival rate of the beehive in higher when beekeepers use winter wraps. Colonies in wrapped beehives emerge in spring with higher colony numbers and therefore foraging capabilities. It ensures you start the honey production year with a colony that is able to give you great beehive products yields.
With that said, let us now discuss the best beehive winter wraps.
Best Beehive Winter Wraps
7. Durable Insulating Beehive Cover Cloth
Get these 10 pieces of cloth to use in insulating your beehive during winter. The cloths are made using waterproofed cotton material to keep water and snow from entering the beehive. Each cloth is cut to exact size so that it covers the top of the beehive very well. One piece of cloth from the set of ten is used at the top of the beehive. The cotton material used for these pieces of cloth is a little rigid. It makes the cloth drain water from the top of the beehive with ease. Some small part of the cloth piece covers the upper section of the beehive. It prevents excessive ventilation of the beehive through upper inlets and outlets. The cloth does not interfere with the movement of honey bees into and out of the beehive.
The 10 pieces of cloth you purchase are used separately. A single set of these pieces of cloth is great for the beekeeper with between 1 and 10 beehives. Any unused piece of cloth from the set is kept as a spare piece. The cloth lasts for long, so it is a decent investment for beekeepers in cold regions that have winter weather that can devastate honey bee colonies. Using this cloth helps keep the beehive warm. Condensation does not form in a warm beehive and so the honey bee colony is able to get through winter without many of its members dying. The honey bee colony with more bees starts foraging early enough in spring and ends up giving high yields of beehive products in the year.
This method of insulating beehives over winter is effective. It however fails at insulating the sides of the beehive stack. As a result, this method of insulating beehives in winter is best used in regions where winter is not very cold. You can also use these pieces of cloth for insulating the beehive during the early and late days of winter, when temperatures are not too low. The 10 pieces of cloth come pre-cut and ready to use. These cloths can therefore be easily used to insulate beehives by both beginner and experienced beekeepers.Check Price on Amazon
6. Plan Bee Winter Hive Wrap, Red (8-frame, 2 deeps)
The Plan Bee series of beehive wraps are great products for various beehive sizes and configurations. They are mainly made for Langstroth beehives that are very popular in beekeeping. This Plan Bee winter hive wrap is a nicely made for wintering honey bees. It is made using a compound variant of polyester, which is breathable and gives great performance in insulating the beehive. Being breathable, the honey bees in the wrapped beehive do not suffocate easily. Great craftsmanship is seen in the final assembly and presentation of this beehive wrap. It is strong, durable and does not allow water or wind through it.
This beehive wrap for wintering honey bee colonies comes in a red color. It is suitable for both insulating the beehive from cold and warming the beehive when there is some winter sun. The dark red color absorbs heat and warms the beehive a little in the process. On one corner of the beehive wrap is a Plan Bee Logo in yellow color. The logo is welcome assurance that you are buying quality beekeeping equipment for your beehive. This winter beehive wrap comes in a reusable container for storage. When winter is past or you no longer need to insulate the beehive, just remove the wrap from around the beehive and put it back into the container it came with. It stays protected inside the container until when you need to use it again.
This Plan Bee winter hive wrap is built to go around 8-frame Langstroth beehive boxes. It comfortably covers 2 deep beehive boxes of a 10-frame size. Its upper edges only come into slight contact with the telescoping cover of a Langstroth beehive. The lower edge of the wrap rests lightly on the bottom board or the base of the beehive. It comes together very nicely and tightly on the beehive. The wrap has Velcro pads that hold it in place against the sides of beehive boxes. It does not come off easily, even when disturbed by animals that might want to access the wrapped beehive.Check Price on eBay
5. Plan Bee Winter Hive Wrap, Blue (10-frame, 2 deeps & 1 medium)
This is a blue winter wrap for beehives that can cover more than one beehive box. It is sold under the Plan Bee winter hive wrap series. Other available options in the color of this wrap are red, yellow, green and purple. They are all dark shades of their respective colors. This makes this beehive wrap able to absorb the little heat that is available in the environment in winter. The overall effect is a warmer beehive throughout winter and better chances of survival for the honey bee colony. Plan Bee is a reliable brand with many products including wraps for wintered beehives. You are sure you are buying from a reliable seller of beekeeping equipment and that you are getting great quality winter wrap for your beehives.
This specific model of Plan Bee winter hive wraps is made to an exact size, so that it works with beehives of the 10-frame configuration. Its height allows it to cover a Langstroth beehive stack of 3 boxes. The 3 boxes should be 2 deep beehive boxes and 1 medium depth beehive box. Such a size of Langstroth beehive and arrangement of beehive boxes, is often the best for wintering a large honey bee colony. It gives the bees enough space, while not leaving too much space unoccupied or unguarded. It also allows for provision of enough honey to the bees; furthermore, some beekeepers might be using the top medium sized beehive box for feeding. All the boxes are insulated by this beehive wrap and kept warm through the cold season.
This blue Plan Bee winter hive wrap promises to keep a wrapped beehive warm. It is able to do this using its breathable polyester insulation material. The wrap itself has a waterproof exterior that keeps everything dry. Cold winds that enter unwrapped beehives in winter and chill brood cannot find their way past this winter beehive wrap. The honey bee colony in the beehive covered using this wrap, remains warm throughout winter and uses up less of the honey they have stored. Make sure to check for ventilation of the beehive after wrapping and make adjustments as needed.Check Price on eBay
4. Plan Bee Winter Hive Wrap, Blue (8-frame, 2 deep)
Here is a great winter wrap for your beehive to help you get the best strength out of honey bee colonies going through winter. This product is made using the same high quality materials used in all Plan Bee winter beehive wraps. A thick layer of polyester derivatives are used in making the wrap to ensure best insulation. The wrap is waterproof and its exterior does not let wind through. This keeps the beehive warm and free of excess humidity. Plan Bee winter wraps like this one are strong and very durable. They are easily used for many seasons before you need to replace the wraps. It makes them a great investment for beekeepers in regions where winter can be harsh on honey bee colonies.
Blue is the main color in which this winter wrap for beehives is sold. Plan Bee promises to give you the same high quality winter beehive wrap in green, red, yellow or green colors if you have such a color preference. This option to choose the color of the wrap makes it possible to buy wraps of the color that is best suited for use in your region. A logo is emblazoned onto one of the outer surfaces of this wrap. The winter hive wrap is made to the exact dimensions needed to cover 2 deep beehive boxes of a 8-frame capacity. Using this Plan Bee winter hive wrap to insulate Langstroth beehives of different size should not be tried.
Using this wrap is easy. It can be done by both beginner beekeepers or the more skilled and experienced beekeepers. Once you take this wrap out of the container it comes in, using it to keep the beehive warm is a simple process. You only need to open the wrap to establish the inner and outer surfaces. One of the ends of the wrap has areas onto which you sew Velcro patches. Wrap the beehive insulating wrap around your beehive such that the Velcro patches rest onto each other with ease. The wrap should be tight against the surfaces of beehive boxes in your stack for best results.Check Price on eBay
3. Plan Bee Winter Hive Wrap, Green (8-frame, 2 deeps)
This is a beehive wrap made for use with 8-frame beehive boxes. It has a height suitable for use with 2 deep boxes. The wrap is made under the Plan Bee brand. It is sold brand new so you are sure of the quality of the beehive insulation wrap. The wrap has no risk of spreading diseases or pests to your honey bee colony. It keeps the beehive warm and dry through winter. This Plan Bee winter hive wrap comes in a green color. When making your purchase, you can request for the wrap to come in blue, yellow, red or purple colors. You can get wraps of the same color when you have more than one beehive to insulate, or go for different colors to help honey bees with better recognition of their respective beehives.
This Plan Bee winter hive wrap is made using polyester as the main material. It is encloses in a waterproof outer cover that also prevents winds from blowing through the insulating wrap. The thick layer of polyester keeps the beehive warm since it does not conduct heat from within the hive. The wrap covers the sides of the beehive very well and easily takes the shape of the flat surfaces for maximum contact and insulation of the beehive boxes. It also wraps easily around corners of the beehive boxes so that none of the wrap is wasted. This tightness leaves no space between the wrap and the beehive boxes for cold air to enter and cool the beehive.
The Plan Bee winter hive wrap works with your telescoping cover for the Langstroth beehive and the bottom board to keep the elements from causing destruction in wintering beehives. Its upper edge is just under the telescoping cover. Make sure to check that the beehive you have wrapped has adequate ventilation to avoid suffocating the honey bee colony. This wrap provides great insulation for your beehive in winter. It also doubles up as security equipment by protecting the beehive from small animals that might want to enter the hive or attack honey bees inside the beehive.Check Price on eBay
2. Plan Bee Winter Hive Wrap, Purple (8-frame, 2 deeps & 1 medium)
This Plan Bee winter hive wrap is a consideration for beekeepers with special needs with wintering their 8-frame beehives. The wrap accommodates 2 deep beehive boxes and 1 medium depth beehive box underneath it. All the beehive boxes must be of the 8-frame size for best results. If you use a different size of beehive box or more boxes than recommended, you will get poor results. This winter beehive wrap is great for beekeepers with a large honey bee colony going into winter. The larger colony needs more space and stored honey. You can also be required to feed the wintering honey bees or apply treatments to the beehive. The medium depth box at the top of the beehive allows you to carry out these necessary beehive maintenance activities and keep everything insulated using this winter beehive wrap.
Polyester is used to make Plan Bee winter beehive wraps such as this one. The polyester is under a layer of water-resistant material. The wrap does not get wet and also prevents the beehive from getting wet. Polyester is good in its use insulating beehives with this cover. It also bends easily. This allows the beehive wrap to tightly hug the sides of the beehive boxes in the stack. No spaces are left along the outer surfaces of beehive boxes or at the corners. This tight hug between the winter beehive wrap and the beehive boxes is important for the best results in insulation of the beehive. After wrapping a beehive with this wrap, check that the beehive is ventilated so that the honey bees inside it do not suffocate.
This model of the Plan Bee winter hive wrap is made in a purple color. However, you can ask for yellow, blue, red or purple color when making your purchase. The wrap is made by a reputable company and does its job well. It keeps the beehive warm through winter so that your honey bee colonies emerge strong in spring. Warmth makes bees more likely to break the winter cluster. This allows for bees to feed and carry out other beehive activities without which the colony can die off.Check Price on eBay
1. The Rustic Chic Boutique Overwintering Beehive Protective Cover
This is a winter beehive cover that has been used by many beekeepers for many years. The protective cover is made in the USA. It has been in use for more than 15 years and has helped many beekeepers increase the survival rates of honey bee colonies in winter. The cover is made using plastic. It covers a Langstroth beehive on the outer surfaces that from the sides of a beehive. The top and bottom of the beehive are covered using the usual telescoping cover and bottom board respectively. This overwintering beehive protective cover fits up to 3 10-frame beehive boxes. The boxes can even be deep boxes and they will fit into this cover. You may also cut the cover down to the height you want to that it covers fewer boxes.
This overwintering beehive protective cover is made and sold by Rustic Chic Boutique. It is a company with a good reputation for quality products and excellent customer service. Being that the protective cover is made using plastic, it is durable while being light in weight. This protective cover for wintering shields beehives from wind, falling snow, water from melting snow and loss of heat. The beehive enclosed in this cover remains warmer than the environment during winter. This protective cover can be used together with a quilt box for best results in moisture management in the beehive. The quilt absorbs humidity from the beehive and releases the moisture to the air outside the beehive. The quilt box can be made by the beekeeper or bought together with the overwintering beehive protective color.
The Rustic Chic Boutique’s overwintering beehive protective cover is made in a black color. It absorbs the little heat that may be available in the environment to keep the beehive warm with greater ease. This cover might require you to make holes for beehive ventilation inside it after you fit it over your beehive boxes. The holes on the cover should align with those on the beehive. This cover is big, and somewhat bulky. It is not collapsible. These size and bulk challenges make this protective cover sometimes difficult to work with. It is however a great beehive cover that does its job well and is very durable.Check Price on Amazon
A Final Word
Wrapping beehives in winter is a great way to help boost the survival chances of the honey bee colony. The beehive wrapped in an insulating cover should be ventilated as well. Using a winter beehive wrap helps the bees stay warmer and expend less energy in keeping the beehive warm. They also consume less of the honey stored in the beehive. Use these best beehive winter wraps in your beekeeping operation for strong colonies emerging from winter. They are great for getting the best yields of beehive products.
Have you ever used any of the beehive winter wraps mentioned in this article? Leave a comment below and let us know what you thought of it.