A lively discussion on beekeeping in cold weather at the January club meeting got me thinking more about keeping bees alive for spring than what to do in January. I confess, in following my lazy beekeeper plan, I don’t do anything special for my bees based on outside temperature. My goal is to have healthy fat bees going into winter. They are amazing little beasts and have survived millions of cold winters and several ice ages without me. So I don’t wrap, close screen bottom boards, protect them with wind breaks or anything just for winter. I’m not concerned about cold and can’t change it even if I wanted to.
I am however concerned about high humidity and condensation in hives when it gets cold and stays cold for several weeks. To avoid this problem I keep the upper vent holes open and add a small wooden block that keeps the outer cover slightly lifted off the inner cover. It might only be 1/16″ or less space but it is enough to vent off the humidity generated by the cluster. By now the clusters are high in the hive and I want them to also be dry.