This will be my first overwintering attempt. I have three hives (strictly hobby) and am planning on wrapping them sometime in the next few weeks (apologies to M. Bush whose opinions are greatly respected, but I am just too gutless to try not wrapping in ND for the first time!). The hives were started a bit late (end of June) from 5 frame nucs. Two seem to be in good shape (almost full upper deeps), one is light (only about 1/2 full) - feeding 2:1 medicated syrup for 3 weeks now on all hives. Feeding will continue until they stop taking it down.
My question is this: How tightly should the hives be wrapped? Should they be snug, should their be a small space between the hive wall and the wrap or should they be loose?
Thank you for any help/advice.
"[apologies to M.Bush whose opinions are greatly respected, but I am just too gutless to try not wrapping in ND. for the first time]" -NDnewbeek.
I guess I am a bit apprehensive about this also, so I wrap my hives; four. What are you going to use? I use the black plastic with the thin layer of white insulation. I get it set around the hive and tape it in the back; NOT too tight. There is a hole cut for the upper entrance/ventilation in the top box; your entrance/ventilation may be different. There is a space of about 1/4 to 1/2 inch between the wrapping and the boxes. I use medium rope tied fairly TIGHTLY around the top and bottom of the hive; sometimes middle. This has worked for three years now; same wrapping.
Recently around here, we have had fairly normal winters but in the past [10yrs.] we have had some mild ones. With some space between the boxes and the wrapping, the hive won't get too warm from the sun shining on the black plastic on those 40* F. days in Dec.-Feb., but still moderate those 10*F. and below ZERO days and nights.
I would be concerned about wrapping TOO early. I wait until November to let the cluster form normally as the weather gets colder.
With just a few hives [pick a number,. lol. less than,.. 20-30?] wrapping in cold climates is not too much trouble. With 50-100+ hives, it can be expensive and time consuming for the benefits I suppose. Maybe in Canada and the northern 1/3 of our northern states it's beneficial; I have seen photos of that. Good luck.
Last edited by Oldbee; 09-25-2008 at 05:22 PM.
I still wrap, myself.
I use heavy weight roofing paper. It's cheap, and I have a couple of rolls of it lying around for some unknown reason.
For me, I can't get the wrap too tight. Try as I might, there's always a little "air space" which doesn't seem to hurt the bees any. And, anyways, when I was taught hive wrapping, I was told that it was used like a "dark colored wind breaker jacket". It doesn't really provide much insulating warmth, but on sunny days, it helps. And on windy days, it keeps the wind out of the cracks.
just like big D but i wait until the real cold hits.