Insulation of bees for the winter: when and how to properly protect the hive from the cold

Insulation of bees for the winter: when and how to properly protect the hive from the cold

Experienced beekeepers do not recommend neglecting the warming of bees for the winter. This is a very important and responsible procedure that helps to get a productive swarm. If the necessary measures are not taken, the probability of death of insects is high. At the same time, the cost of their restoration will be much higher than the cost of insulation. To carry out such a procedure, you can use different materials - foam, mineral wool, hay and others.

Basic Requirements

When insulating hives, it is important to choose the right material.

It must meet the following criteria:

  • keep warm;
  • protect from the wind;
  • ensure proper ventilation - it is important that there is a steam outlet from the hive.

The fact is that polymer materials prevent moisture from escaping. An excess amount of steam provokes undesirable activity of families during wintering. As a result, the bees absorb a lot of honey. This can lead to starvation in the spring, which will provoke the death of insects.

Because the use of foam is considered a very controversial decision. It has a minimum weight, is easy to attach and reliably retains heat. However, the coating does not absorb moisture. As a result, it flows to the bottom of the hives.

Moss, hay, dry leaves, straw are considered natural solutions. They can fill burlap covers and sew them up. Then place on the sides and on the roof of a closed hive for wintering in the wild.

Insulation methods

Today, there are many methods of warming hives, each of which has its own pros and cons. This allows each beekeeper to choose the most suitable option.

Plastic or Styrofoam

Usually, it is recommended to insulate hives with isolon, which is an elastic polyethylene foam with a closed structure, or polystyrene foam - expanded polystyrene. Plastic acts as a holder. The required material is placed between its sheets. Sometimes beekeepers use folgoizol, or foil isolon.

The key advantage of such materials is considered to be low weight with increased density. Their use does not burden the structure of the hive. In addition, the coatings have pronounced heat-insulating properties, which helps to keep the heat in the hive. They are easy to install. When using these materials, there is no need to use additional insulation blocks for the sides and nests.

However, the materials have an important disadvantage. They do not absorb moisture. When using coatings for hive insulation, this is considered an important negative factor. The fact is that the moisture that is formed as a result of the vital activity of bees begins to flow down the walls. This provokes an increase in their activity and increases food consumption.

Mineral wool, other fibrous materials

These materials are used quite often. Mineral wool, potato, linen or hemp tow are stuffed into textile bags and straightened well. In some cases, to give strength, the finished pillow is attached to a wooden frame.

Fibrous materials absorb moisture. At the same time, they are very slowly destroyed under its influence. This is where the key advantage of such materials lies.


This crumbly insulation needs to be placed in covers. They are recommended to be sewn from a sufficiently durable material. The resulting pillows are recommended to be placed under the cover of the hive. To protect the building from bees, you need to put a mesh under the insulation.

Use improvised means

Leaves, straw, moss are considered improvised materials that can be used to insulate beehives. They should fill the burlap, spread it evenly and stitch it well so that the insulation does not stray. Pillows should be fixed on the walls and roof of the hive.

In the absence of burlap, you can make a wooden frame and cover it with a dense fabric.In this case, the space should be filled with any improvised means. This type of insulation is considered the most budgetary. But the heater will not last long. After a while, it becomes caked and begins to let heat through.

When making holes in the roof, it is important not to overdo it to prevent drafts. When using straw, there is a risk that mice will eat it. In addition, materials of plant origin quickly become moldy.

Some beekeepers use film as an improvised tool, but this option is not very effective in the winter season. It is recommended to use it in the spring when it is necessary to maintain a certain temperature in the hive.

Required tools and materials

When choosing a material, it is important to be guided by the following criteria:

  1. Availability - there should be no difficulties with the purchase of material. It is also important that it is easy to work with.
  2. Thermal conductivity - it is important that the coating retains heat well.
  3. Hygroscopicity - this parameter should be small. Thanks to this, wintering bees will not increase their activity and consume honey too actively. Hemp tow is considered the best solution.
  4. Structure - it is desirable that the insulation is elastic and does not cake. Tow and dry moss meet these requirements.
  5. Rodent resistance - bees need to feel protected. Therefore, the material should be unattractive to rodents. It can be cotton wool or felt.

Insulation process

To insulate the hives with Styrofoam, it is recommended to do the following:

  1. Cut the desired parts from wooden beams.
  2. Assemble a wooden frame by fastening the elements with nails or self-tapping screws.
  3. Cut a piece of Styrofoam under each frame.
  4. Insert insulation into frames.
  5. Cover the joints with sealant.
  6. Hang frames on beehives.

To insulate outdoor beehives with fibrous materials, do the following:

  1. Sew fabric bags.
  2. Fill bags with insulation.
  3. For the roof, make a frame structure by securing the bag between the plywood sheets.
  4. Fix the pillows on the house.

Common mistakes

When insulating hives, inexperienced beekeepers make the following mistakes:

  • excessive heat and insufficient ventilation;
  • too much ventilation;
  • using fiberboard as a heater - so that the bees do not gnaw it, processing with drying oil is needed.

Insulation of hives for the winter is considered an important event. For the procedure to be successful, it is recommended to choose the right material and strictly follow the instructions for its use.

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