Winterizing a Beehive

How to Winterize a Beehive Located in New Hampshire and other Cold Climate Regions

By Mark J. Donovan

Winterizing a beehive hive is critical when the hive is located in central New Hampshire. Consequently, with it now being early November and the nights getting colder I decided to winterize my beehive today.

To winterize my beehive I flipped the inner cover so that any condensation water that may occur could easily drain out. I also placed the 2 inch wide shim on top of the inner cover, affixed a 1/4 inch grid screened wire over the large center hole, and then put two inches of pine needles on top of the inner cover, leaving the screen center hole area free from any of the pine needles.

Then I placed a section of one inch rigid foam insulation inside the top cover. Doing so helps prevent warm moist air that rises up from the base of the beehive from condensing and forming water droplets inside the beehive.

I also put a piece of 1/4 inch grid screen over the beehive opening to prevent mice from entering the beehive. Also note that I turned the reducer so that the base opening to the beehive is only one inch wide.

Wrapping Rigid Foam Insulation and Black Tar Paper around the Beehive

I then rapped rigid foam insulation around the beehive and temporarily held it in place using duct tape.

Next, I wrapped black tar paper around the beehive and again secured it with tape. In addition, I screwed a long thin board to the side of the beehive, over the tar paper and rigid foam insulation to ensure neither became loose.

I then placed a few bungee cords around the beehive to ensure the rigid foam insulation and black tar paper stayed firmly in place.

Ensuring Proper Beehive Ventilation

Water, and particularly frozen water, can easily kill honey bees. So I made sure that both the bottom and top holes were unobstructed so that there would be plenty of ventilation in the hive. The ventilation should help allow warm moist air to slowly exit the beehive, via the top hole, without first condensing and forming water in the beehive.

Checking Beehive in Late Winter/Early Spring

In late February or Early March I will open up the top of the beehive and place a pollen patty in it to supplement the bee’s food supply and to prevent them from possibly starving int the event they go through all of their honey.

Related Information

Additional Beekeeping Resources from

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