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hello...this upcoming winter will be my first with bees...I live in Maine and have one hive...it will likely be 3 deep boxes, 1 is the brood box, and 2 with honey (I say 'likely' because the top deep is a brood box from a weak hive that I combined with the strong, which they are now filling with honey)...what are your opinions re: insulating cover vs. a box with screening filled with shavings for winter moisture control?...thanks
 

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hello...this upcoming winter will be my first with bees...I live in Maine and have one hive...it will likely be 3 deep boxes, 1 is the brood box, and 2 with honey (I say 'likely' because the top deep is a brood box from a weak hive that I combined with the strong, which they are now filling with honey)...what are your opinions re: insulating cover vs. a box with screening filled with shavings for winter moisture control?...thanks

Someone from Maine may be better to answer this. I've never had a moisture problem but I always have some kind of ventilation in the top. I've never insulated. If you want to put shaving in the top I think it will work fine. It will allow some moisture to have somewhere to go while providing some insulation.
 

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I would have to say ask someone who is local to where you are. The winter setup along the coast will be significately different than inland.
I had a problem last winter when I setup my hives that were down in the valley by the river vs. my hives at home in the mountains. The moisture level by the river, which I did not take into consideration, is significately higher and I did not allow enough ventilation and lost (3) of (6) hives.
When I talked with a friend who keeps bees down there, he know right off the bat, what the problem was.
 

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Hi Peg,

I live in Maine and I have asked an "old-timer" how he has prepared his hives for the past several years. He said that sometimes he wraps his hives and sometimes he does nothing at all.

Here is what I have done: First, I set the inner cover on top of the 2 deep brood chambers and then place either a piece of cut homosote (to fit the box) or a piece of screen on top of the inner cover. Next, I half fill the empty super box with wood shavings. This will allow moisture to rise out of the brood chambers and be absorbed by the shavings just above the screen or by the homosote board. If the bees need to reclaim any of the moisture during the winter, they can lick the shavings or homosote directly above the brood chambers. As I am told, moisture in the hives during the winter is the biggest killer of colonies. The loose shavings will help keep some heat in while allowing the vapor to pass out of the box.

While this is only a suggestion and not "the only way" to winterize a colony, I hope that this helps you.

If you are near the Brigton area, e-mail me and I'd be happy to talk with you and show you what I have done.

Paul
 
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