The bees are almost wrapped. They have their foam on, and I think I’ve really sorted out my wrapping method this year.
The hives each get foam on three sides plus tar paper, that wraps the front of the hive too and absorbs heat. The foam I’ve figured out how to get it on quick and easy. First, the three sided “box” is made.Look at my fancy two step carving- a nice seal. Foam is so easy to carve. Then I tape that together with Tuck tape, including a strip up the whole seam.
All that crap needs to come off the hive first- the strap holding the supers together (in case of wind), and the scabs on the eke, and the arms that hold the lighting board. Nothing screwed into the hive parts any more. Then the foam hugs the hive, right up to the bottom of the outer cover, and two straps of Tuck tape right across the face of the hive hold it on – avoid the handles and openings so nothing sticky is accessible. Done. The tar paper will be next stage, but in the meantime, they just got a big R-factor upgrade.Naturally, I did this one after dark, with a headlamp, because temps were falling, and I forgot the critical step: sealing the bees inside the hive, temporarily. I was hugging the hive, jostling the foam into snug place, and then bzzzzz! What’s going on out here? My sleeve came away from the upper entrance with eight cranky bees on it, and more came out the bottom door. Then I had to be very patient (I was in no mood to be patient- in the dark with a headlamp in falling temps), while each bee decided there was nothing to be concerned about and wandered back inside, one after also exploring the inside of my sleeve. I did not get stung. After they went in, I sealed them in and finished up. They all have absurd and excessive extra “coverings” at the moment because of the forecast rain and snowstorm (right now hammering down). It’s important to not get any water down between that foam and the hive, soaking into the wood, before I get the tar paper wrap, and I want to wrap them dry. It’s very wet right now. My lids all need a rebuild before they’re winter ready too, so in the meantime- draping.
My big idea this time is to wrap the tar paper in such a way that I can still get the lid off. Then I can feed them through the winter, and monitor the moisture in the straw. If we get wild episodes of warmth like we did last year, I’ll be able to take those lids off without unwrapping them. We’ll see if I can do it.