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Winters in northern Ohio can be brutal. December and January can be very unforgiving and it seems like lately winter stays around a little longer than it should. Hopefully the bees have proper stores, are in good health, and can survive the ever changing weather conditions found in our parts. It's hard to believe that they keep the hive temperature in the 90's when it's 10 degrees out but they do so my clustering together and keeping each other warm. When it's cold they are unable to leave the cluster for even a few seconds because they will freeze. When conditions are right they move to the honey stores and feed but can starve to death if conditions are too cold for extended periods of time. Not much a beekeeper can do now but prepare for next spring.

 

Mother nature is doing her thing and hopefully all is well inside the hives. The pine trees make a great winter wind block and they are off the ground to help keep them dry. They are also tilted slightly forward to help remove moisture that collects inside the hive because of differences in inside and outside temperatures. I wrapped them with some left over closed cell padding that I used below my Pergo flooring I installed in the house this past summer. It has a clear plastic moisture barrier glued to it and I faced that side to the outside to cut the wind and to shed moisture. Not a great R factor but it should help and it is very easy to work with, I'll let you know how this experiment worked this spring.   

This is the same hives the next morning! (12-23-04) I'd say I have around 20 inches here. The hive stand was completely covered on the back hive. I truly haven't seen this much snow since I was a kid. I brushed off the entrance area and let it go at that.