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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After reviewing a bunch of ideas, and pricing materials, I'm thinking that I will at least build a prototype sort of hive wrap like I will describe below. Ideally this could help the hive manage severe weather (here in Michigan we get it seemingly often), be easy to store in the off season, easy to apply, and relatively inexpensive.

First off, the lowest cost, easiest availability insulation for me here is just simple kraft-faced "pink", R11 for inside 2x4 stud walls. Normally sold for 16" on-center stud spacing. XPS for 2" is about $36 for a 4'x8' sheet, so that's a bit pricey, and only about R10 at maximum. If you can install the pink stuff in a way that doesn't crush it flat, they claim R11, it can be rolled down and compressed, and the weight is only a fraction of XPS.

Here is the setup:
- Cut one section and one "strip", for a combined 20" width, about 20" long, and tape them together long-ways with masking. Then cut another identical set (one for the left side and one for the right side)
- Cut 2 more sections in a similar way, this time 16.25 + 3.5 + 3.5 = 24.5" width, one 20" long, and the other only 19" long (shorter one for the front)
- Tape together a wrap sheet from 15# felt paper with sides at 20, 20, 24.5, and 24.5" wide, all 20" long. Tape the inside and outside of each seam with aluminum tape
- Create creases where each corner will be, being sure to account for the overlaps of the fiberglass
- Using tile adhesive, rubber cement, hot melt, or some other adhesive to bond the paper kraft facing of the pink to the inside of the felt wrap
- Fold up the bottom 1" of the front of the felt on the front "short side", to create a bit of an overhang for the lower landing board
- Cut out a space for the upper entrance, and line the "inside walls" of the cutout with another piece of felt paper, to form a bit of a "snorkel"

1. Set up with a standard closed bottom board, and either 2 high deeps or 3 high mediums
2. Add a "sugar shim" for a candy board with included 1/2" screen, and preformed hole in the miiddle, so it can be reused for "mountain camp" feeding later on if necessary
3. Add the inner cover, with entrance on the bottom side above the sugar shim
4. Add a medium super set up as a quilt board, with wood shavings or burlap like normal, 1/8" hardware cloth screened 2" hole in the middle
5. Cover the top overall with a section of 2" XPS, big enough that it covers the whole thing by at least an inch or so overhang all around (maybe flush on the side for pushing hives together)
6. Cover the top of the XPS with another sheet of felt paper a little bigger, and fold the edges down, to help protect against UV breakdown over the winter
7. Top the whole deal with a 12" patio block, then a ratchet strap for good measure
8. New wrap should only go up until just below the vents on the quilt box, and the sides should go down all the way to the hive stand and rest on the sides
9. New wrap is held together with a length of aluminum tape, along a back corner
10, A hole can be drilled through the cover near the lower edge, in line with the dowel plugging the OAV port in the bottom board. To treat the hives, just pull the dowel and treat like normal

Sorry for such a long description, but any comments and questions would be welcome. Hopefully I'll start the first prototype in the next few days :)
 

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hockyfan

I would go around the hive 2 laps 1 tape seem be 30 ish inches tall. if needed use 24 inch on center rolls or 1 of each. so 30 36 46 would al be 2 laps of different width.
Up and down has many more seems.

I use 1.5 inch foam board IMO easier to work with

GG
 

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Dont forget to include the cost of the tape and glue. I have tried the glass wool bats and heat joining poly sheeting. The stuff with good UV resistance does not heat bond too well from my limited trials. Red squirrels and field mice may be a problem. The solid foam boards stack up well to store and can be held in place with stretch film wrap. A one piece backing sheet can cover 4 or five hives if they are nicely aligned and a single sheet between each box is captive. Plain flat pollination top covers rather than telescopic do not dictate how thick the shared insulation between hives must be.

Easy of installation and storage is immensely important as is the ability to quickly get into the hives in late winter for inspections and feeding as necessary. Sure is a plus if this can be done and quickly restored for another month or so. If you really need insulation you can benefit by keeping it on thru dandelion flow. If it is a pain to do there is a tendency to take it off prematurely and not get it back on.

This applies most to northern states and canada. If it is labor intensive, expensive, and a storage issue we can easily get lazy about it and pretend that insulation is of little value.
 

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I use 2" XPS because it is much easier to work with. I cut the XPS to four pieces to wrap the box with overlap (end pieces are four inches wider so they overlap the side pieces). I use a Vivaldi board so I can cut the panels at full height without worrying about the hive top.

I secure it with a ratchet strap. I take them off and stack them flat in the garage attic in the summer. I did experiment with using PL300 polystyrene cement to glue 8" long 1/4-20 bolts into the ends of the side pieces so that I could secure the end pieces to them with wing nuts and fender washer. That worked well but it added more work to make and the hardware cost was comparable to a ratchet strap, I'm still using them but TBH the ratchet strap is half the hassle.

I'm having a hard time picturing how what you propose isn't going to take a lot of storage space and it seems that it will involve a lot of futzing around, both to make and to install or reinstall after a spring inspection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for comments guys! Definitely the job of securing the pink insulation to the backer is the thing that gives me the most pause regarding how fiddly it may be, so we shall see hopefully this weekend. The 2" XPS wins hands down regarding how much work they may be, and probably overall durability, so I should probably try making one like that too so I can compare them side-by-side. But the XPS is like $36 bucks a sheet, and the pink I already have several rolls just sitting in a bag. Sure I am just a hobbyist, but I have 6 hives to set up for wintering this year, and hopefully many more eventually, so I'm trying to think in a budget-friendly way. If I had hundreds like some you of the folks here, it seems like the cost could be outrageous to try to manage. Perhaps at some point a "wintering barn" may be the way to go instead. Thanks again, I'll post some pictures once I put together the prototypes.
 

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....... The 2" XPS wins hands down ....... But the XPS is like $36 bucks a sheet, ........
You just need to be more resourceful and pay attention to your surroundings.

If I want to pay, it takes me 1 minute to nail 2" XPS for $12 buck a sheet:
https://madison.craigslist.org/mad/d/madison-discount-insulation-foam-board/7179845814.html
Surely you can find similar deals in your area.

But since I am not willing to pay anything, I simply fish for the free stuff and always get it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You just need to be more resourceful and pay attention to your surroundings.

If I want to pay, it takes me 1 minute to nail 2" XPS for $12 buck a sheet:
https://madison.craigslist.org/mad/d/madison-discount-insulation-foam-board/7179845814.html
Surely you can find similar deals in your area.

But since I am not willing to pay anything, I simply fish for the free stuff and always get it.
Unbelievable! I look for stuff on CL all the time, and I never even thought to check for insulation. As it turns out there is quite a bit around locally for much cheaper prices than what you'd find at the BORG, so I'll definitely look into it. Thanks for the suggestion. I really appreciate the tip from another "frugal" member to another :)
 

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Sure I am just a hobbyist, but I have 6 hives to set up for wintering this year, and hopefully many more eventually, so I'm trying to think in a budget-friendly way. If I had hundreds like some you of the folks here, it seems like the cost could be outrageous to try to manage. Perhaps at some point a "wintering barn" may be the way to go instead.
There is one possible solution halfway between soft wraps and a barn - overwintering crates - it's what the guys in your area used to use a hundred years ago.

Basically, hives either in pairs or fours are positioned together on top of purpose-made pallets, then 4 wooden sides are erected around them and a roof placed on top. Back in those days they filled any spaces with chaff (leaves, hay, sawdust etc) - but I guess a few slabs of modern insulating material would do the same job even better. I can dig out photos of them being used if you're interested.
LJ
 

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Good Idea Greg

if you are in Michigan

I see http://www.discountmichigan.com/index.html

I'll be spinning up there shortly, they also have foam board on hand.

GG
Yep.
We got similar discount stores for used building materials as well.
Using the "used" for bee equipment is perfect use-case.

Fishing for the free stuff is an extreme case.
But I enjoy the "fishing" part and it pays for itself.
LOL.

Thinking of it - need to drive by the construction dumpsters nearby; been a while.
I pulled tons of XPS out of construction dumpsters (usually damaged some, but plenty good for my needs).
Right now I have enough XPS to wrap as many hives as I have, and then some.

Also remembered the pain when someone raided my own construction dumpster - the idiot builder of my own house tossed the unused cider 4x4 timbers into the dumpster. Someone got them before I got to pull them myself.
Still boil over when I remember this.
Good - someone got the material and good for them. No fuss from me.
Bad - the builder should NOT be tossing good material I was charged for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
There is one possible solution halfway between soft wraps and a barn - overwintering crates - it's what the guys in your area used to use a hundred years ago.

Basically, hives either in pairs or fours are positioned together on top of purpose-made pallets, then 4 wooden sides are erected around them and a roof placed on top. Back in those days they filled any spaces with chaff (leaves, hay, sawdust etc) - but I guess a few slabs of modern insulating material would do the same job even better. I can dig out photos of them being used if you're interested.
LJ
Little John if you have some picture handy that could be something to consider as well, would be great to see.

But, I dropped by a local salvage place here today after the inspiration from GregV and picked up 3 full sheets of "old" green XPS = dirty (DOW green not the pink stuff) for $40, 6 huge sheets or coreplast for $5, and 2 rolls of rock-surface rolled roofing for another $5, so it was nearly like stealing! He told me if it was not green he would have sold it already but apparently nobody wants the green stuff? Their loss is a win for our bees!
 
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