Okay, so maybe we're silly, and maybe we're spoiling our girls, but with a freak chance of snow in the forcast for the San Francisco Bay Area (wasn't it spring just a few weeks ago?), we were worried about the bees. (We're always worried about the bees; you might say we are hovering beekeepers.) We taped bubble wrap around the back half of their hives, hoping that it would help cut the wind and provide a little insulation. We also slid the sticky boards part way into the hive to keep drafts from chilling the bottom of the bee cluster.
We know that good top ventilation is the most crucial thing in the hive during winter. It keeps the warm moist air created by the bees from condensing on the inner cover and dripping down on the huddled colony. Our hive top feeders/insulation attics have been working really well, and the bees seem to be warm and dry these days.
I know that beekeepers who live in areas where snow falls in heaps and heaps will be shaking their heads and laughing at us. But our hives are fragile right now. Like any other nervous parent caring for sickly children, we want to give our girls every possible advantage.
Keep warm, bees!