To help keep our bees warm over winter and reduce condensation in the hive, this year we thought we'd trial a method of insulating the hive recommended by Eric Smith at the Victorian Apiarists' Association (VAA). Eric is a very knowledgeable commercial beekeeper who runs the 'Beginners Corner' session at the VAA Melbourne section meetings. His sessions are a great way to learn about beekeeping and get your beekeeping questions answered. You can see Eric on YouTube here
To prepare our hive for winter we packed it down to 2 full-size boxes.
As part of the pack-down process we added some insulation as recommended by Eric. To do this we bought some wall insulation sheeting, called SilverWrap. The product details are shown below.
It's silver on one side and blue on the other. You can get it at hardware shops like Bunnings.
A piece was cut to match the footprint of the hive box. This was placed silver-side down directly on top of the frames in the top box. The hive mat was placed on top and the lid put back on.
Eric uses this method on all his hives during winter. He checks his hives by peeling back part of the insulation and seeing how active his bees are. Without the insulation they huddled in a cluster. Now that he uses the insulation he says the hives are much warmer and the bees are quite active.
Our hive doesn't catch much sun during winter so this insulation should help to keep things warmer and drier. It'll be interesting to see how active the hive is over winter....