Our weather is turning cooler, so as you can see, I need to start protecting the beehives. Bees do not hibernate during winter. They work just like you and I to stay at one temperature, somewhere between 89 – 96 degrees F. They eat in the hive. They excrete their waste outside on mild winter days. Here I am, finishing a cut of pink foam insulation. The foam fits into the lid on top and will add warmth to a hive when the temps drop more.
I placed entrance reducers early last week. The normal entrance to the hive is the gap between the bottom board and the bottom-most box. It runs the width of the box. A bee can enter anywhere along the width.
But when the reducer is in place, the gap is maybe half an inch across. When temps drop down to the 50’s, critters like mice and voles start looking for a warm place to stay. The reducer keeps them out. The reducer also helps keeps the air inside the hive warm. A warm hive allows the bees to keep working on honey making rather than hive warming.
In the summer season, you see bearding, which again is the bees working to keep the hive in the optimal temperature range. Bearding is the way honeybees fan and cool the air inside. A keeper can also vent the lid. (The insulation is usually removed in May.)