Fall means that the oppressive heat of summer has finally let up. While we are all glad to enjoy the beautiful fall days, we must remember that winter will be here soon, and your bees will be cold. Therefore, you want to begin making insulation or windbreaks for your hives. These aren’t necessary when the nights are still above 50 degrees. But once the nights start getting colder, you will need them. Just make sure you wrap the hives before the first day of winter.
Hay bales make a good, natural windbreak for your hives.The photo shown shows a hive at Fox Falls Farm ready for winter. Location is also important. Do you have natural hills, tree lines, or bushes that can act as wind barriers? You also want to make sure to face your hives to the south to take full advantage of the sun. Take any help Mother Nature can offer!
If hay bales aren’t a sensible alternative, try making your own hive wraps. Some wrap options are tar paper, black plastic, Styrofoam or fiberglass. It’s important to use a wrap that is sensible for your climate. A Florida beekeeper isn’t going to need the same wrap as a Wisconsin beekeeper. No matter what you wrap your hive with, just make sure you don’t cover the hive entrance. Ventilation is a must! You also want to make sure that it will be weatherproof and not come apart. We’d love to see your winter wraps -- post them on our facebook page or email them to us!