I live in Pittsburgh area of PA., and it gets pretty cold around here,I'm thinking about wrapping my hives this winter,is there any certain procedures I should follow or special wrap I should use, I never did this before.
I've never done it either and I've had bees in Larmie WY where it often went a month without getting above -10 F. But if I was going to do it, I'd do as Hoosier says. Make sure you don't cover the entrance and you have air coming in the bottom and a little going out the top. Either use 30# roofing felt or one of those black cardboard wraps or scrap cardboard under 15# felt.
Check out this link http://apiculture.ncf.ca/Wintering.htm it got several ideas, personally I tired the tar paper with pink insulation method but I didn't like it since it accumulated moister on the side of the hive also mice love to live in it, I switched to the black carton method, so far I liked because it is so much less work, very easy to take out and put back in (in case you want to check the hive).
I wrap my hives with 30# Roofing felt. I do it not so much for insulation, but wind protection.
I also believe that the hive does pick up some solar gain /heat during sunning days which allows the cluster move around.
Make sure that there is some ventilation to allow moisture out.
unless it gets really really cold i wouldn't bother. The time and money..all for something that sounds great but really isn't neccessary.
I don't know about you, but where I'm from, I've never ever seen a natural bee hive with tar paper around it. Make sure they have lots of honey. Seal any holes or cracks with duct tape and let the bees just "chill out" until spring.
A layer of felt paper does not provide significant insulation value.
What it does provide is protection from the wind / drafts. Which is what sealing all holes, etc does.
I find it easier to put a single wrap of felt paper around the hive and be done with it, then try and seal all of the potential draft points.
Also, the black felt does add warmth to the hive on sunny days, which allows the cluster to relax and get to stores.
But, as with anything there are many opions on this topic. If you have a few hives you may want to expirement for yourself.
Wrap one hive and compare it to an unwrapped hive on sunny days and see if there is a difference in the hive's ablity to move to get stores.
For the $20 a roll cost of felt paper, it is cheap compared to losing just one colony.
[This message has been edited by MountainCamp (edited December 06, 2003).]
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