Winter boxes are boxes that prevent moisture from dripping on the bees and provide space for mountain camping. The boxes prevent moisture from dripping on the bees because there is chicken wire stapled to the inside and on top of the chicken wire is wood chips. The wood chips absorb the moisture before it can drip on the bees. This is important because bees can handle cold, but they cannot handle moisture.
Our brother, Nathan, made our winter boxes. They are made to fit on top of normal sized, ten frame deep and are four inches tall.
Abigail is drilling holes in the sides of the boxes. She drilled five holes on both of the long sides of the boxes. The holes allow for ventilation.
Bethany sanded the inside of the holes.
Here is a picture of the boxes after the side holes were drilled. The holes are evenly spaced because of how the wood chips have to be arranged.
Abigail is drilling the upper entrance hole. An upper entrance allows the bees to leave the hive to relieve themselves easier after they move to the top deep.
We angled the upper entrance to prevent water from dripping into the hives.
Mom and Bethany stapled the chicken wire to the top half of the box. The chicken wire had to be small enough so that the bees could not climb into the wood chips.
Here is the boxes filled with wood chips. We used the wood chips we buy for our chickens.
We stapled cloth to the top of the boxes. The fabric acts as a moisture absorbent as well.
Abigail created trenches of wood chips from one hole to the opposite hole. The trenches allow for better air flow.
We duck taped the fabric down. We did not staple it all the way down because we wanted to have access to the wood chips all winter.
Here is the quilt boxes on top of the hives. We later filled the extra spacing in the winter boxes by mountain camping the hives. (Blog post coming soon.)
When the winter boxes went on, we took off the inner cover. The winter boxes act like the inner covers.
The screens in front of the hive entrances are robber screens. We put robber screens on the hives because in the fall nectar is scarce and hives may try to rob each other. Any bees not from the hive they are trying to get into, will not be able to figure out how to get into the hive because of the robber screens.
When we first made the winter boxes, we were unsure how much of a benefit to the hive they would be. After going into the hive this winter, I can say that they definitely do their job and absorb a lot of moisture.