The purpose of wrapping a hive isn’t so much insulation or warmth, but weather sealing. Specifically I want it to keep the wind from blowing into any of the unsealed cracks between boxes. While it’s been a bit cold recently, it hasn’t been too windy, but it’s bound to come soon. And I’ll be leaving town for a bit tomorrow, so I realized I had to rush and get this done quick.
Picked up some roofing felt to do the trick. It’s light and flexible enough, can be stapled to the hive, and the black will absorb some solar heat and help warm the hive up a few degrees on sunny days.
Easy enough to score and cut with a knife to around the size needed.
If you look at the ground in front of the hive, you can see something to note.
Dead bees. This is actually a good sign; dead bees outside the hive mean that inside, the undertaker bees are still doing their job and moving dead bodies outside the hive. If the cold killed them all off, it’s more likely you’d just have a giant pile of bee corpses inside the hive with nothing outside it.
Just need to make sure the upper ventilation hole and lower entrance aren’t covered up, and my awful wrap job is complete. Are there better ways to do this? Absolutely. I’m going to have to rip all the staples out by hand in spring, which will be a good time, and the job overall is not my cleanest and best work. But it’s hopefully better than nothing.
My worry is still that the drought this summer will have kept the colony from getting enough supplies to grow properly to support themselves through winter; I took a glance inside through the bottom entrance a week ago and saw them balled up and looking ok for now, but there’s plenty of winter left to go. I might crack the hive open if there’s a warm day in January and see if they need any help, like fondant or pollen patties, but there’s the need to be careful and not make things worse by disturbing them too much. Worst case, if they don’t make it, the frames of drawn out comb can be frozen and stored to try again with some new bees.