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1. Insulated tops made of foam board (1” fine and 2” better. Be sure to use something to separate bees from foam because they will chew it – reflectix or plastic/feed bags etc.).
2. No upper vents of any form – no quilt boxes, no moisture absorption contraptions of any kind.
3. Full open bottoms that allow bees the ability to regulate temperature themselves, be sure to add mouse guards (½” hardware cloth folded into the opening works well).
4. Adequate stores of honey, avoid taking more than you need and leave as much as you can for the bees. If short on feed add a shim, dry sugar, or sugar blocks in Dec/Jan.
5. Adequate forward pitch (front of hive lower than back) for excess moisture to drain from the entrance.