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(not from Minnesota, but . . .)

Although I am sure somebody has done it somehwere, I have never heard of using cardboard as a winter wrap. Seems to me the cardboard would not hold up well to any wettness.

The classic winter wrap material is roofing paper or tar paper. For myself, I have used Bee Cozy ( http://www.nodglobal.com/bee-cozy.html) and Colony Quilt ( http://www.bbhoneyfarms.com/store/p-486-colony-quilt-1--two-deep-colony ) wraps with success, but I am thinking wrapping an otherwise healthy hive is unneccessary in my area.

Did you have a particular wrap product in mind?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Mann lake sells a cardboard box that is coated in wax? We have colder winters than anywhere else in the US. Yes, our average temp is colder than Alaska.
 

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Am in mn also and last winter I did not use such things. But I go by another bee keepers place everyday to work and he uses tar paper to wrap his hives in the winter. I think a good wind break is more valuable than wrapping hives. I did not have a good wind break last winter and lost my hives. I plan on building a much bigger one and also am going to try quilt boxes to help with moisture.
 

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I'm in mid Michigan, over two weeks of -20 last winter. used Mann lake cardboard wraps, open screened bottom boards, and open lids 1/4 inch. All four of my hives made it.
 

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My bees saw thirty five below not counting wind chill three separate periods and were tightly wrapped with an insulated bee wrap acquired from B&B honey in Houston Mn. I use the height designed for three boxes but only run two deeps and have a 3" feeder rim full of granulated white sugar with a sound board cover to protect the 1 1/2" Styrofoam insulation and fold the balance of the wrap under the cover I want to make a tight bubble of warm air at the top of the hive and bore an inch hole thru the upper brood box right below the hand hold that serves as a winter entrance and lets the bees very effectively circulate out excess moisture. NO huge drafty hole in the bottom. I don't purposefully seal the bottom entrance but I do cover it with the wrap. My strong colonies winter very well and come out of winter booming and the weaker splits mostly survive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm definitely no expert, but doesn't heat rise? By putting a hole at the top isn't that letting the hot air rise out of the hive? You are obviously executing it with success, just trying to understand.
 

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I'm definitely no expert, but doesn't heat rise? By putting a hole at the top isn't that letting the hot air rise out of the hive? You are obviously executing it with success, just trying to understand.
Yes, heat rises. But the bees also need to vent the moisture created by metabolizing honey to generate the heat they need to survive. Regardless of how warm they may be, if they get wet they will quickly die. Thus, the beek needs to walk a line between closed up enough to retain heat, but open enough to vent off the moisture.

Myself, here in Denver, I run a top and bottom entrance year round. Last year I monitored the temperature inside my hives without any insulating wrap of any kind, just the bare bee boxes exposed to the elements (I do have a layer of insulation under the telescoping cover, and the weak marginal hives did get wrapped). On even sub-zero days, the inside of my strong hive was close to 80F. This suggests to me that a healthy colony is pretty good at keeping itself warm when it has enough honey without much help from me. But, the bees can't elminate moisture without proper ventilation, so I had better make sure they have the right amount of ventilation.

I know that it gets colder than 0F in The Land of 10,000 Lakes, but my measurements in Denver show how well unwrapped bees keep themselves warm when the cluster is a decent size and they have plenty of honey to metabolize. In other words, a healthy colony's real enemy in the winter is excess moisture, not low temperatures.

JMHO

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?291469-Winter-time-fun&highlight=winter+time+fun
 

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Getting a bit more back on the OP's subject, black is an excellent for absorbing the heat from the sun; however most people don't realize that black is the best radiator of heat. On a cold night a black surface/object will radiate all of it's heat and on a hive, the internal temp will vary tremendously between night and day.

If you are going to use insulation (I do), the cheap 1" foam sheets from HD or Lowe's works fine.
 

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Heat does rise and that is why I make sure the top of my wrap is real tight to the extent of using duct tape to seal it up for the coldest part of the winter from November to February here. The bees vent the moisture out the bored hole beneath the handhold. The sugar absorbs a lot of metabolic moisture and the sound board even more. On a warm day in February I open up the top and peek to see if the sugar is holding out and I have a new dry soundboard available if the one in use is soggy. One in ten is. I don't know what makes those hives different. When things start warming up in March I start putting pollen patties in for the bees and sugar bricks as required if the loose sugar is used up. The loose sugar for the heart of the winter is better because the bees cluster may not hit the top bars under it but off to the side and the bees will starve to death a half an inch from food sometimes. When they hit the sugar, they just say LUNCH! and survive til spring.
I'm definitely no expert, but doesn't heat rise? By putting a hole at the top isn't that letting the hot air rise out of the hive? You are obviously executing it with success, just trying to understand.
 

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Im in mn no I do not wrap my hives , did 1 year and lost the hive ,I do winter prep way different then most , but they pull through winter .. its not the cold that kills ,,,, its moisture that gets to the point of driping on the bees ,, and starvation ......
 
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