Tuesday, January 22 2013:
One of the biggest challenges to raising honey bees in northern climates is enormous problem of winter survival. The cold stress can really harm a colony as it tries to overwinter and when it tries to rapidly build up in the early spring.
One way to mitigate this problem is to make some drop-in insulated frames. I learned about this from Mr. Anatololy Soladyankin, a recent Russian Immigrant. By using some simple low cost items, you can make your own.
The first step is to gather some clean and sanitary empty deep frames. Using a heavy duty stapler gun, attach a piece of cardboard to one side of the frame and trim it. Turn the frame over and attach one side of the frame with the other piece of cardboard - but not all the way. Stuff newspaper, old magazines etc into the void then seal it. Trim the excess and test fit it into a hive box. Once you have two - the hive body is ready to receive a Nuc in the spring.
I am planning on doing a temperature and weight study this spring to prove this technique quantitatively. At least for now, this works well but it would be important to have the actual data to prove it as well.