Wet winters - protecting the hives?

So winter is setting in here on the Canadian West (Wet) Coast and it usually doesn’t get very cold, hardly below freezing. But it is wet and windy for weeks.
How do you protect your hives from the worst weather and water?
I’m concerned about an entrance reducer increasing moisture in the hive.

Any thoughts?

Wales is very wet too.
My hives are either wood insulated all round with PIR home insulation or poly. I have screened floors and a reduced entrance. I never get any condensation in the hive

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I have been curious about providing more shelter for my bees too. Whether it is necessary or not, I figure it can’t hurt to provide a bit of protection from the weather.

I came across this link that you may find helpful http://honeybeesuite.com/tag/hive-cover/ .

I live in South Australia, so not nearly the rain fall you get, but I am interested in providing protection from extreme heat and wind. I’ve been googling ‘bee houses’’ ‘bee shelters’’ ‘‘bee shed’’ and finding a range of creative structures.


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I like the idea of bee houses too. I started looking at them last year. I’ve made a couple of boxes with thicker walls so can do a comparison between the ‘normal’ Langstroth & thicker walls. I like the Top bar design of @Jaydub too.

I would love to hear how your experiment goes.

I will be building something like this structure on the property since it works with Langstroth styled boxes and getting access to the tops. The property is rural and quite hilly. I want to be able to store supplies nearby and have stable footing when I work with the bees. Being in Australia though the structure will have a lot more tin and hardiboard! :slight_smile:


wow this is nice but a little too ambitious for me right now :slight_smile:
However the individual one from honeybeesuite looks like a great idea

Keeping a hive well insulated & protected in cold wet climates sounds fairly standard to me. I like Jape’s idea of a low wattage heat mat. I was wondering how it would go if a hive was well insulated but had no entrance reducer & a solid floor. Then the entrance opened up into another well insulated empty box (a super) with a low wattage heat mat in it. Then that box had a reduced entrance that pointed downwards so that cold wind wouldn’t blow in. That would mean the bees are circulating warmer air throughout their hive. Just a thought.

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If I could I would love to build something like this, I think I may have even collected the same image in researching the idea. Although i might use a different method of stumping? Something a bit more stable? :wink: Please keep in touch with how it goes… Oh & just took proper look at roofing materials, definitely more corrugated iron needed…

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Beautiful bee house! I made a quilt cover & will post a pic later - supposed to wick moisture up & away from the cluster.

So here is what I ended up doing. It should work for this winter and then we have to see


Thats a good Idea. I was going to have an outer frame but I could do that and just rubber bungee it.:+1: How big were your pieces?

Those tops look mighty thin. The bees are going to lose a lot of heat that way.
If those were my hives I would put a nice thick layer of foam insulation straight on the top board
In fact I would do this

Or even make just the one and compare the bees performance/survival over the winter if you are not convinced about insulation

I got a plastic 4ft x 8ft piece and cut it in half so each piece is now 4x4 and just used a strap to keep them on, inexpensive and so far it seems to work great.
my hives do have a pitched roof but if you have a flat roof I would put something on top (brick?) to give a curve

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Thanks Dee, warmth is not the concern in my climate, it hardly ever drops below freezing here, but it it rains for weeks. moisture is the biggest killer of bees around here

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Hardly ever drops below freezing here either and Wales is the wettest part of the UK.
What temperature do the bees keep the brood nest and what temperature is around freezing?
That’s the way I look at it…lots of potential heat loss
How come the rain gets in the hives?

So they do…only just spotted that. You could fill the void with decent insulation

I also wondered why rain would get into the hive with the pitched roof. Some have had leaking issues. I was thinking of running a bead of silicone or something along the seams or seal the roof. The copper is beautiful but I imagine pricey. I thought I read it was like 90’s F something like that. I was worried they would be too hot in my area.