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I'm from upper northern California near the Oregon border. Sometimes we'll get a couple weeks of near zero weather thru the winter. I was wondering about wrapping my hives with large clear bubble wrap, thinking that the 1 inch bubbles would trap warmth from the sun. But what if it's not sunny for a couple of weeks or more. Thanks, drmrjen
 

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I avoid plastic wraps. Tried that one winter and the trapped moisture was hard on the bees. If they have enough food a couple weeks of cold weather won't hurt them. Last winter I tried just insulating the tops. I put a super on top filled with fiberglass insulation with a sugar block under the insulation. The bees huddled up under the sugar block and survived quite well.
 

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I'm from upper northern California near the Oregon border. Sometimes we'll get a couple weeks of near zero weather thru the winter. I was wondering about wrapping my hives with large clear bubble wrap, thinking that the 1 inch bubbles would trap warmth from the sun. But what if it's not sunny for a couple of weeks or more. Thanks, drmrjen
Do they bubble wrap houses? Why not? I have to think about this one as it is not obvious other than rapid decay of the plastic material. Could it actually makes areas to hot ( above 115F)? If you do it, measure the temperatures and RH inside the hive to evaluate the approach.
 

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Plastic will make your woodenware hold moisture. This won't let it breathe naturally for the hive to manage moisture properly. It will also cause your wood to rot. Avoid plastic.

The insulating properties of air wrapped in thin plastic is nearly nothing anyway. If your hives get good sun wrap them in tar paper which breathes and will heat up in the sun.

Bees can handle cold just fine, they are from Europe after all...
 

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I use heavy duty 1/2" bubble wrap. I wrap it around the hive twice and hold it on with straps and duck tape. I love it. No moisture problems. I place the bottom above the entrance and keep the top open. I made home made outer covers which have insulation between the plywood and aluminum. The insulation keeps the wood from being excessively cold, so I rarely get any condensation. I live in VA where we have fierce cold winds during the winter. Bubble wrap cushions the hive against the wind.
 

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I use heavy duty 1/2" bubble wrap. I wrap it around the hive twice and hold it on with straps and duck tape. I love it. No moisture problems. I place the bottom above the entrance and keep the top open. I made home made outer covers which have insulation between the plywood and aluminum. The insulation keeps the wood from being excessively cold, so I rarely get any condensation. I live in VA where we have fierce cold winds during the winter. Bubble wrap cushions the hive against the wind.
spieker "The insulation keeps the wood from being excessively cold, so I rarely get any condensation" You got the meaning of dew point - keep the temperatures above the dew point - no condensation.
 

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If you are near the CA-OR state line then you are probably in a USDA zone 8. I have already had a couple of weeks of weather that is colder than your winter will get, and I won't be putting wraps on for another three weeks or so. I use 2" XPS foam boards held on with a ratchet strap, but I also use a Vivaldi board to keep the hive ventilated, foam alone seals it up too much.

You probably don't need anything, but if it helps your peace of mind you could get coroplast (plastic cardboard) and make some hive wraps. There is a youtuber that shows how he made simple wraps with coroplast and gorilla tape. The big orange home improvement store has 4x8 sheets for $23. We just had an election you might be able to pick up old political campaign signs somewhere, those are made from coroplast, and paint them black. Black coroplast would help your solar gain.

It is way more important that your bees were treated for mites before they started raising winter bees, healthy bee colonies can handle much colder weather than your bees will see.

Its important that a hive can ventilate. For every kilogram of honey that your bees consume in the winter they will exhale .68 liters of water as water vapor. That works out to between four and five gallons of water that the bees have vent from the hive over the course of a winter. If you wrap it up too tight then the wood can breathe, humidity gets high, condensation happens on the hive ceiling and cold water drips down on the bees, and they die.
 
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