Some might say I am slightly obsessive about beehive insulation for the winter, but I am only guided by other beekeeper's experiences in my neighbourhood. Two years ago people were losing 2/3 of their bees due to the cold and they're still not insulating their hives. Now, I have come up with a third design that leaves them no excuses as it is incredibly cheap and quick to accomplish, easy to mass produce and re-usable year on year. This design will be especially relevant to bee keepers who experience harsh winters in Canada, Northern USA, Scandinavia, Russia, central Europe, Scotland etc. and have quite a few hives to manage.

The design is based on the principle of wrapping with fibrous insulation but rather than wrapping directly on the hive, there is an intermediary frame which allows the whole structure to be removed with great ease and speed. Hopefully this will inspire my neighbours to insulate their hives and save their bees from hypothermia.

Difficulty:..........Basic MIG welding skills

Step 1: Materials and Equipment


  • 10mm round mild steel bar x 6 m
  • One roll 500mm clear pallet wrap
  • Parcel tape
  • One roll glass fibre insulation or equivalent (This could be recycled duvets, blankets, clothing etc.)
  • Exterior non drip paint
  • String
  • 3m x 1m hessian sheet for 'alternative' rustic finish
  • Plywood sheet 500 mm x 500 mm x 12 mm
  • Rock weights 5kg
  • 600 x 600 mm concrete paving slabs


  • MIG welder
  • Steel cutting saw
  • 5" angle grinder
  • Set square
  • Scissors
  • Paint roller
<p>I made the bee cocoons! Easy to make and kind of comforting to make too, going to pop them on the hives soon</p>
<p>Hey that's really cool - well done!</p>
<p>Humidity is a bigger killer than cold in a hive. Bees do a great job of keeping themselves warm as long as it is dry enough and there is plenty of food. This is one of the big reasons that I have top entrance hives. Then again, I live in western Oregon which is just shy of being a temperate rain forest. High humidity is a concern for all but three months a year.</p>
<p>Thanks for your comment <a href="https://www.instructables.com/member/Jobar007/" rel="nofollow">Jobar007</a>. I'm keeping a close watch on the humidity and so far the cocoon hive is 10% lower than the control hive, which is great. It's wet, warm and windy here at the moment. I will update the temperature and humidity graphs as I get more data so watch this page!</p>
<p>This is awesome although would it be easier to make these out of wood? maybe if you could get hold of some second hand fruit crates or just a few lengths of 1x1 nailed together. </p><p>The Rustic hive reminds me of a soldiers camouflaged helmet which is pretty cool and it does look a whole load better than the green one which looks way too artificial, maybe thick matte paint of a darker green would look better (obviously dependant on cost). One way to do it cheaply would be to advertise free disposal of part used green paint and then you could paint them various shades which often looks better than them all the same.</p>
<p>Oh and thanks for your vote!</p>
<p>Thanks for your comment <a href="https://www.instructables.com/member/bcavaciuti/" rel="nofollow">bcavaciuti</a> - I agree with you on all counts, except for me, as a metal worker, it was incredibly quick to make the frame - about 15 minutes. I certainly did think about wood and when I started considering how to do it properly with joints etc then the metal option suddenly started to seem very attractive!</p><p>Recycled paint is a really good idea - we have a paint factory about 15 miles away who chuck out paint round the back for scavenging. </p>
<p>Oh your lucky bees, they have a nice keeper who makes sure they're warm. I love your simple design, looks like it should keep you bees in happy conditions!</p>
<p>Thanks Sweet - They certainly seem happy and have not stung me recently!</p>

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Bio: I live on an island in the Irish sea called Ynys Mon which was once inhabited by the Romans, the Vikings and is still inhabited ... More »
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