Our winters tend to last from November through the beginning of April. High winds are very common, and wind chills can be very, very low. Last year we had -30F+ wind chills.
The price (and effort involved with) of putting the 2 inch insulation foam around all 4 sides of the hive, or wrapping each hive with the insulation material and covering it with black bags risks getting the insulation wet and having the insulation material fall apart.
What I'm thinking is to figure out some sort of configuration where the hives are all pushed next to eachother, and the entire block of them wrapped together.
The idea is to push all the hives right next to eachother to the point that they're all directly touching. Currently I have a row of 4 hives separated by 3+ feet each.
1. If I push 4 hives all next to eachother, directly touching, in a line. Is that going to confuse the bees trying to find their way back to their parent hive in the winter?
2. The plan is to just wrap the block of hives in tar paper as a whole, rather than individually, to make it one large block (to help with wind and maybe this will help with heat loss from the sides?)??
3. I think if 8 hives were all pushed next to each-other in one giant block 2 hives thick, front row facing one direction, back row facing another - it would be best. But that's a lot of work and a lot of hives (the back row) would change their entrance directions, which could cause more trouble than its worth?
Currently all the hives are separate by 3 or 4 feet, and I'm just trying to think of ways to avoid having to wrap all the hives with thick 2 inch insulation foam, and not needing to individually wrap every hive with tar paper.