Winter Shelter for Bees in Top Bar Hives
Winter shelter is important for Bees to survive a prolonged cold season and recurring cold snaps that occur well into the spring. This early Spring has seen a number of extended cold snaps that have taken their toll on hives that were not properly sheltered from the bitter winds.
A sun trap is the ideal protection for Bee hives, all it consists of is a wind break from the North, East and West and exposure from the sunny South. The wind break can be made of any material that will stop the wind, such as wood fencing, stone or block walls, straw bales or even a good heavy hedge that will block the wind.
I have often thought that installing the hive in a shed is a good way to keep the hive out of the weather. The bees just need to be able to get in and out through a short tube through the wall of the shed. Excessive heat in the shed on hot summer days could be an issue so thought would be needed to enable lots of ventilation, perhaps removable windows or a roofing material that will not trap heat, such as sod.
What ever approach is used, keep in mind that Top Bar hives do not travel well, due to the unsupported comb at risk of breaking and falling to the floor of the hive. Top Bar hives are really intended to be in a fixed position, they can be moved but are very heavy when full of comb and is best attempted with two people and with minimal jarring or bumps while driving.