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Discussion Starter #1
I have a couple choices to choose from so just wanted to get some opinions
Local beekeeping supply store has
Bee Cozy wrap
Bee dry wrap
And Hogan wrap

I’m leaning more towards the Bee dry wrap as it seems to bee the tightest fitting and comes with a moisture pillow for the top.
The bee cozy seems to be loose fitting and does not fit under the top cover. In my opinion t hi ode loose areas will fill with snow and cause a nightmare.
I plan on putting a feeding shim above the frames and place dry sugar on newspaper for them in case they need it and from what I’ve heard will help absorb a bit of moisture over the winter.
 

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I have done homemade wraps and bee cozies. This year I ordered more bee cozies, as I really like them. Not knocking the others, I have never tried them.

The bee cozy "looseness" has not caused me any problems. They go on loose, and slowly expand to be more snug. Besides, I think a little space under the wrap is not all bad, for moisture control.

I put foamboard on top of my hive (exterior), and this has a bit of overhang, which helps with preventing snow or rain getting between. Additionaly, I staple a 6" strip of reflectix to the sides of my top cover to act as a "skirt" going down over the top of the bee cozy. I leave a 4-6 inch opening in the skirt in the front, because I use a top vent.

Sorry, no photos with the reflectix, but hopefully you can imagine the below image with a reflectix skirt stapled on the top cover. It is all reusable from year to year, and easily installed and removed.

download.jpeg download (1).jpeg
 

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Bee cozies cost too much. The only real benefit is the black color that heats up. But the insulation in the cozy restricts heat transfer to the hive...at least to some extent. Combined with inner cover insulation, 15lb felt paper...tar paper...works better and is far cheaper. A tar paper wrap costs about a dollar, and lasts for several years. Once the black fades, you turn it inside out and use it for a few more years. I’ve seen thermocouple readings under the tarpaper, on a cold winter day, we’ll over 100F
 

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With all respect to Michael Palmer, a master compared to my fumbling around with 20 hives ...

It depends in part on what your goal is - retaining internal heat (which requires more r-value), or allowing solar gain (which generally requires less r-value).

Bee cozies have a higher r-value than tar paper, tar paper has a higher solar gain than bee cozies. Cost is not even close, the tar paper wins hands down.

Choose your poison, I choose the r-value and convenience of bee cozies. From what I see, most commercial bee keepers use tar paper or nothing, and year after year commercial beekeepers generally have better winter survival than hobbyists.

Michael is probably "right," he has forgotten more about bee keeping than I have learned, but I might not be wrong. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Bee cozies cost too much. The only real benefit is the black color that heats up. But the insulation in the cozy restricts heat transfer to the hive...at least to some extent. Combined with inner cover insulation, 15lb felt paper...tar paper...works better and is far cheaper. A tar paper wrap costs about a dollar, and lasts for several years. Once the black fades, you turn it inside out and use it for a few more years. I’ve seen thermocouple readings under the tarpaper, on a cold winter day, we’ll over 100F
Ive actually got quite the stock of black tar paper. Tons of leftover rolls from work. Guess I could finally put them to good use. Never even thought of that.
 

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Has anyone fed propolis substitue to seal for winter? Beeks say to insulate the top more to prevent condensation there. They say hives should be white or black for cold winter. That should be tested. Tyvek is white.
What is propolis substitute?

Top insulation is the most important, just like attic insulation on a house. For both heat loss and condensation control.

Hive color is likely a small factor, if at all, but dark might be better than light. Tyvek, though considered a good product for a house wrap, has no insulative value, and is likely useless for a hive wrap.
 

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I've wrapped with tar paper and 3 inches of straw on the inner cover for well over 30 years with great success.
After a few years the tar paper wears out/tears, in the spring I lay it on the ground to kill the grass and pave the yard in front of the hives.
 

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Well hello MP! Your season must be winding to a close. I hope it was a prosperous year. Ian in Miami Manitoba is enjoying a really nice fall compared to last year.

For my part- I use Bee Cozies and really like them. Yes, they are expensive and not practical for pros, but hobbyists don't mind as much. They slip on at a moments notice and create a decent wind break. More important is the top insulation under and over the tele cover. The other expensive component is a vivaldi board quilt box which I wouldn't be without.
 

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I have wrapped with tar paper, wrapped with insulation foam , and had hives not wrapped at all just with foam insulation under the outer cover.
I have honestly seen no difference in the winter survival between wrapping and not wrapping.
Young queens, good genetics, plenty of feed, adequate ventilation and low mite counts seem far more important at least in my limited experience.
My winter survival has been better each of the 7 winters ive been beekeeping so im guessing that gaining experience and local knowledge from other more experienced beekeepers helps also.
 

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Don't forget that wraps all depend on your location and Winter projection.
What works for Mr. Palmer might not work in Louisiana or even BC.

Since Mr. Palmer is a big north of me, I'll be doing felt paper as well, foam on top
 

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My 2 cents. I live pretty much in the same climate as MP. Most of the continental US doesn't need a heavy wrap. To be honest no wrap at all might even be better. The most important thing to winter is heavy hives that are mite free. Top insulation board is a good idea. Haven't noticed any major difference between using 1" or 2". The last 6 years I think I wrapped once. The bees look the same in spring whether I wrap or not. If my livelihood was bees as is the case for Mr. Palmer I would wrap to protect my investment as best I could. But good northern strain of bees doesn't really have to have the extra pampering they will survive just fine w/o it.
 

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I too am an advocate of 15 lb felt.
Some where on the web is a video of Mike inspecting a colony in spring and you can see a ring of bare earth around the hive where the snow has melted.
I often see bees flying around the S side of the hive on sunny, but cold, windless days because of the warmer microclimate created by the accumulated solar radiation.
 

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Ive actually got quite the stock of black tar paper. Tons of leftover rolls from work. Guess I could finally put them to good use. Never even thought of that.
Anybody ever run a scientific experiment using black paper - 24 hours a day? I remember reading a backyard guy's report, obviously with an engineering background, and he called it a waste of time and a loser at night ( sounds logical). It is good as a black body absorber in the sunlight. I could not work on it when roofing in August - early morning only.

I run white painted foam year -round now. WIth the few crude sensors I have it seems the bees like a constant temperature most of the winter, about 50-60F inside ambient - rising a bit with spring brood rearing. I hope to get more data and go back to read the old USDA report with the 2,000,000 thermocouple readings - plotted.

BTW - one of the best insulators is air. But it performance depends on how you use it.
 
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