Bees have lived in well-insulated natural cavities for thousands of years.
We have created an insulating solution that is as close as possible to what the bees experience in nature when living inside a hollow of a tree.
After seeing the massive losses last winter all over the country we were determined to find a solution and give bees a chance to make it over the winter. In the process of trying to understand what was happening and with many days of research, talking to experts about insulation, breath-ability, humidity and condensation, we discovered some very important concepts about weatherization. After several prototypes, testing and then more prototypes, we now have in production a very effective winterizing solution to protect your bees, the “Beehive Cozy Cover”. In creating the Cozy Cover we sought to understand the bees in context to their original nest enclosure, the tree.
If you trust that the Beehive Cozy Cover is perfect for protecting your bees over winter then just buy it and read our Winterizing Beehives Research article later.
What is important is that you act on behalf of your bees now. Even if you don't buy the Beehive Cozy Cover, find a solution that is comparable that you can afford.
If you only read one thing this fall about overwintering your bees, this article should be it. Winterizing Beehives Research article We have put a huge amount of energy into understanding what happened to thousands of beehives across the US last winter and we have come up with a solution for this winter.
What I'm saying is “act now”, understand the problem and find a creative solution so your bees make it. The whole backyard hive movement to help the bees is in jeopardy of utterly failing in just a few years if we realize too late what is happening and don't have a tested solution. Sorry to sound so alarmist, but the climate events sometimes termed a Polar Vortex or Flash Freezes are killing bee colonies and we can do something about it.
Breathability is essential because it eliminates condensation. The quality weave allows the moisture to escape through the cover keeping the bees warm and dry. Some humidity in the hive is important, but having a hive wrapped in plastic or a non breathable cover causes to much moisture to collect in the hive.
These images shot with an inferred camera show the heat signatures of hives after a snow and a couple of very cold days.
The hive on the left is covered with a Cozy Cover. You can see the cold snow on the top and the smooth color of a breathable surface. It also shows the superior retention of warmth from the wool insulation.
The hive in the middle is wrapped in plastic and R19. Here you can see it loosing a lot of heat around the bottom of the hive where the insulation is not secure and also the cold blue blotches where moisture has been trapped in the plastic and has condensed, causing cold spots.
Finally the hive on the right is just wrapped over the top with R30 insulation in a plastic bag. It demonstrates a lot of heat escaping around the hive, especially at the front of the hive.
The economic justification is simple if you paid $120-150 for a package of bees, you want to insure they make it through the winter, so you don't have to buy another package next spring. Your investment will pay off each spring as you minimize your losses.
Using all natural wool is only about $30 more than using fiberglass insulation for the 3 layer option plus you give your bees an all natural protection !