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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    826

    Default Question about inner cover positions for those that have to winterize....

    I know...wrong season...but...

    What position do you put your inner covers on your hives when buttoning up for winter?

    Groove up? Groove Down? To the front? To the back?

    My Mom, who is a new beek (2nd season) is visiting me from Boston. She managed to get one of two hives through the absolutely brutal NE winter this year. We were pulling some honey here today, and doing some inspections, and the positioning of inner covers came up in discussion. I don't want to "plant any seeds" so to speak...but would love input! I know plenty about bees, but mostly just in Florida conditions.

    So...what say you, Northern Beeks? Inner cover position going into winter please? Do you change it come spring?

    Thanks so much for your input. I am feeling she may have been misinformed, and I want to get her the right answer(s). Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,960

    Default Re: Question about inner cover positions for those that have to winterize....

    For winter, I have the inner cover notch facing down. I cover the inner hole with duct tape, place 1.5" insulation (blue foam) on top of the cover, and the outer telescoping cover goes on top of the insulation. The practical effect of this is to create an exposed upper entrance, one which is not cover by the telescoping cover. My observation is that the bees make good and frequent use of this entrance.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,080

    Default Re: Question about inner cover positions for those that have to winterize....

    On top and under the telescoping outer cover. It hardly matters which side is facing up or down.

    All of my covers are solid and unreverseable. Just a sheet of plywood.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,441

    Default Re: Question about inner cover positions for those that have to winterize....

    As Mark said, up or down doesn't really matter. Most put the notch at the back of the hive during the summer, and in the front for winter. Just be sure the outer cover is slid away from the notch to allow ventilation.

    Being in Boston, I would try to talk her into removing the inner covers for winter and adding a feeder rim instead. Dry sugar or sugar blocks can be placed inside the rim on the top bars for insurance feed. For ventilation drill a 1/2" hole on one end of the rim and staple screen over it.
    To everything there is a season....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    695

    Default Re: Question about inner cover positions for those that have to winterize....

    I'm in northern NY and I take my inner covers off during the winter and add a feeding shim (which also has a small top entrance, perhaps 1/2" in diameter - of course I also have a reduced front entrance down below) with a 4.5" high quilt-box above that. And above the quilt box is a shim with two 1.25" holes (one each on front and back) that are wide open all winter to move the consderable amount of moisture that arises from the bees and passes through the insulating material in the quilt box to leave the hive. On the top of it all, I have my wooden telecover with an inch or so of insulating foam tuck up inside it.

    From my single winter's experience the combination of small top entrance + feeding space + fabric-bottomed quilt box filled with wood shavings + large ventilation holes above that + insulated telecover did the trick, as I had 100% survival, despite having at least one undersider-sized (due to my error) colony and scarcely enough stores because this was a first year.

    I also insulated the hive walls with 2-4" of foam insulation (some actually inside the hives, protected from the bees my wooden follower boards) and because my hives were moved in December, they were wrapped in blankets, as well.

    Wall insulation is important (and I will do it again, next winter) but the the most critical thing IMO was the ventilated feeding rim/quilt box/open ventilation above that assembly. It kept the hive, dry and warmer than it would have been without that. This lowered the energy costs to the bees to maintain their cluster temps.

    My sister lives in Boston (Newton) and her winter climate is not as cold, though snowier, than mine here north of Albany.

    Enj.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,020

    Default Re: Question about inner cover positions for those that have to winterize....

    It doesn't matter in summer so I put the notch down and toward the front all the time. If it is a solid cover notch up doesn't vent. If it is not a solid cover notch up will vent through the center of the hive which will not be good as the bees move up to the cover in the spring. With the notch down and forward the air coming in at the bottom vents up the front side of the hive (warm side facing south). That gives the hive the benefit of a vent without the possibility of chilling brood. In the south I suppose it doesn't matter what you do until you get a freak cold spell. I have had as many as three upper entrances in wintering hives and could not tell any difference between hives that only had the vent at the top. However, I only have 3 hives and that is not statistically valid for making claims.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    826

    Default Re: Question about inner cover positions for those that have to winterize....

    Thanks everyone! Why am I not surprised...lol...I have always known "ask 10 beeks the same question and get 12 different answers"...lol. I am glad a couple of you validated the entrance to the front thing in the winter...it really made no sense to me. I will discuss this whole thread with her, including the insulation ideas and such. Thanks again! All input is weighed, and appreciated!

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