This questions has come up quite often and that is “Should I wrap up my hive for winter or not?” The answer to that question is in my mind usually yes. This is the case if you only have a few hives which would make your hive wrapping fairly quick, and you can always reuse the wrap. One roll of roofing paper will last for years to come even if you don’t reuse it each year. There are commercial wraps out there specific to beekeeping which in my mind are not worth the cost when you can get a perfectly good wrap for about $20 per roll. All I use is some black roofing paper and some painters (or duct) tape to keep it secure. I have in the past tried staples or nails, but who wants to put holes in your hive and the bees do not like the banging that the stapler or hammer will make on their home. Another easy fix is to get a few bungee cords that are the right size and you can reuse these for years too. One last thing to keep in mind is to make sure there is a small hole if you use upper entrances and make sure the wrap goes all the way to the top of the hive. That way the hive is not colder at the top so moisture does not condense at the top and cause problems.

Black wrap on the hives nice and tight

Black wrap on the hives nice and tight

As far as timing goes late fall is probably the best time to do this, but with the weather being so fickle lately, even early January is not too late to add that little bit of a wind block and heat absorbing black color to the hive. So, my answer to this question is that, yes, you should wrap your hive with roofing paper which can be reused to help keep the hives warmer which in turn causes the bees to use less honey, and allows them to build up quicker in the early spring. It doesn’t need to be perfect, although the tighter they are wrapped the better the black paper will help keep in the heat. There are of course other methods to keeping the hives warmer such as moving them, grouping them, surrounding them with hay, or stacking them which in my opinion is not worth the time and effort unless you have a lot of hives and big equipment. Here is a very good article on the subject wrap link

Enjoy!