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It's almost time for me to decide whether or not to wrap the hive. Here's the details.

North Central Massachusetts. Single hive consisting of two deeps and a medium. Fully open bottom entrance covered with a mouse guard. Front of the hive is facing southeast. Back of the hive is 20 feet or so from a windbreak of trees. Hive itself is 18" above the ground on cinder blocks.

For ventilation, I was thinking of keeping the entrance open but I was wondering what everyone's thoughts are about reducing it again. Also, if wrapping is suggested, how can I peek in on them from time to time? Should I just staple up some wrap on the faces of the supers and leave the top unwrapped so that I can pop it open?

Finally, I added the medium in a panic when I was feeding and became concerned about the girls running out of space. Due to the late freeze, I have a little honey and a lot of wax drawn so I was thinking of leaving it on. I figured that drawn wax is always good but I don't want them in too much space.

I'm all ears!
 

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I'd reduce the entrance, but have either a notched inner cover or shim the outer lid a bit (1/4" or less) for ventilation. With a fully open entrance, I'd think cold gusts would get in there. Don't wrap the top. I just wrapped from above the lower entrance to just below the upper entrance. My hives are stained dark this year so I'll probably skip the wrap unless it gets really cold, but then you probably get a good bit colder there. If it is, you won't have much reason to "peek"; try lifting the back of the hive to heft the weight without disturbing the girls and busting up their caulking job (though I'm not very good at the weight-estimating yet myself).

Don't worry overmuch about too much space, too little food is way more dangerous. The winter cluster doesn't heat the whole hive interior (well, only secondarily) but rather keeps the cluster itself warm.
 

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I wouldn't worry too much about wrapping or not. I've only wrapped mine once. I suppose if I had hives that faced South or at least had a south facing wall, I might consider it. As it is mine are lined up wall to wall with only an east and west facing wall showing. When I wrapped them that way last year I didn't like all the condensation. I won't do it again. I've not wrapped most of the time I've had bees with fine results. I didn't wrap when I had them in Laramie, WY at 7200 feet and they did fine also.
 

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Ironically there is a little mini-study in this months ABJ about Wrapping and it took place in Mass.!

Their basic finding- Wrapping with insulated cardboard and not wrapped used considerably more honey stores. Cardboard Wrap had the larger spring cluster. Felt Wrap used notably less food.

Not a real scientific study but intersting results.

If you take some time research looking for Mountain Camps post regarding this. He is pretty much the resident expert on hive wrapping and has some meaningful results in the Adirondacks over a 10 or so year period. Worth looking up and reading.

[ October 22, 2006, 10:51 AM: Message edited by: Joel ]
 

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I remember that study Joel. If memory serves
it basically said. A little plain wrap is a
good thing. None and lots of insulation were
not good. If you insulated it could be a good
thing if you provided ample stores as they will
consume much more. Simplified for sure but that
is what I remember of it.
 
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