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Wintering Bees in UK


I’m a new bee keeper. Got my first NUC in July - late because of the poor start to the season. I live in an exposed area of North Devon and would like to know - Should I build a shelter around my bee hive to protect them from the wind/rain and cold weather? And if yeas what is the best way to do this?


G’day @Sue_Dave I know a Beek in Wales who is on the estuary, very windy. They put building insulation into the wooden hives and the rest of the hives are Poly and Beehaus.

Last night I wrapped my girls in the wooden box in Insulation I bought from B&Q, My other hive is a Poly, but I don’t get severe winds, I will get snow here in the Midlands

2 Layers of Wrap just folded back from the entry ready for the colder weather, I will leave the entrance open but I want the girls to get used to the change so they don’t get lost coming home.

I have used 2 layers - it is 7.5m long so will do 2 -3 hives


Thank you so much for such a quick answer. Will get it sorted. Didn’t want to make any rookie mistakes. We have pretty fierce winds here! Did know I could get so protective about bees!!


Beekeeping is addictive!

Washington State Bee Keepers

Make sure there is some ventilation you don’t want condensation. I have a Screened Bottom Board (SBB or also called OMF Open Mesh Floor) and the wooden brood box is on a slatted rack as well so there is ventilation but not a draft. I also have a foam quilt under the lid between the crown board and roof.

They are £2.60 each @Thornes

Some Beeks use other quilts


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First. Is your hive poly? Then do nothing.
If you have a wooden hive then make sure you have decent insulation over the crown board; 50mm PIR or better still 100mm.
Wrapping the hive is controversial but there is much research to show it is beneficial.
Now there’s wrapping and wrapping. I’m sure Valli hasn’t finished hers yet but leaving it open like that is of no use at all. You need to cover the whole box without gaps, leaving just the entrance free. It is important to cover the top. Thermal foil is better than nothing but again making a “cosy” from PIR is undoubtedly the way to go. I have my wooden hives covered like that and if you take the cosy off the side walls are warm to the touch. It just shows how much heat is lost through the wood.


PS if you want a picture I’ll post one
PPS Dexter, I had a look at the Mann lake ones. Not much insulation though. Tarp would be cheaper.


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I didn’t mean you Dexter. I meant the OP


Thank you so much, If you have a photo Dee that would be great as well.

Valli - I didn’t fully realise how addictive it is, my husband and his brother had some hives, but they were quite a journey away. We have recently moved and have good space to have hives at the bottom of the garden. I started with a NUC late in the season, but hope to build up the hives in the spring.


My hive is wooden by the way!


Made with 50mm Recticel.
In addition to the box illustrated I have a square of 50mm straight on top of the crown board giving 100mm insulation on the top.
Hope this helps


I didn’t want to scare the girls, let them get used to the shiny stuff the rest is rolled up at the side ready to attach with a normal stapler

@Dee what is PIR?? is that the stuff from Builders merchants - I think that is what HHH uses - My B&Q doesn’t seem to sell it


Hi @Valli, don’t be frightened of scaring the girls by adding the foil insulation. I don’t believe it will make one iota of a difference to the girls. It’s the entrance the bees are wholly focused on. Move it 6 inches to either side & the bees will go where it used to be. I discovered with a 350mil wide entrance, the bees will go back to the same position on that entrance they departed from.


Jeff has it. It’s only the entrance they see.
PIR is Polyisocyanurate…Celotex/ Recticel/ Kingspan


PS I presume that multi storey colony that you are wrapping is confined to the bottom box.
Is that cream layer a feeder with insulation in it?


It is a Poly with the last of their syrup I thought they would finish it off. But the poly will insulate as well. It was just a way to stack all my kit off the ground


Thanks for this valli
I have one colony that might benefit from some soft insulation twixt crown and roof…so I went searching.
I found a sheet of this stuff that will do ten hives on eBay pick up for £2.00 :smile:
It’s good stuff. Not huge insulation value but forms a good bridge between a see through polycarbonate crown board and some rigid insulation.


Sorry about the delayed reply - thank you so much for your replies xox