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Frequently asked Questions

What distinguishes the BeeSlipTM winterization cover from other winterization methods?

Poor moisture management in the hive over winter can lead to a host of problems, including loss of the colony and beekeeping equipment.


Espace Abeille has devoted countless hours of R&D to developing a wintering cover better adapted to bee biology and the harsh winter conditions of North America. The cover has been the subject of scientific research with the CRSAD (Centre de Recherche en Santé Animale de Deschambault), which has established that the cover’s performance is equal to and superior to other wintering methods such as the Bee Cozy, thermofoil packaging and rigid insulation boxes.


The BeeSlipTM winter cover features :

  • Better humidity management inside the hive throughout the winter season.
    • The relative humidity inside the hive remains between 50% and 80%, which is optimal for the bees’ well-being.
  • Better control of the colony’s internal temperature.
    • The temperature of the cluster remains above 15 degrees Celsius, reducing the need for food to maintain temperature.
  • Minimal presence of mold on beekeeping equipment
  • An acceleration in spring egg-laying.
  • Simple installation.


The key to this performance lies in the design of the cover:

  • The air space created by the fabric between it and the hive acts as a “rain screen”, a widely-used construction principle for buildings.
  • This air space creates a temperate zone that adequately protects the hive from winter weather (wind, snow, freezing rain) without limiting ventilation.
  • This air space also ensures that hives are not smothered by heavy snow accumulation in certain regions.
  • The top of the cover is waterproof, preventing the weather from entering the hive from above. The sides of the fabric act as windbreaks, keeping snow and rain from entering the hive while optimizing ventilation.
  • A ventilation hole is integrated into the top of the cover to ensure cleanliness in spring.

What distinguishes the BeeSlipTM winterization cover from other winterization methods (continued)


Traditional methods generally use “vapour-barrier” materials, which retain moisture. Even with a ventilation opening in the hive, these materials won’t evacuate the condensation and humidity forming around the hive. What’s more, these materials are fragile and won’t last as long as the Espace Abeille cover.


The product has a lifespan of at least 10 to 15 years with minimum maintenance, making it a durable solution for overwintering bee colonies.


Installation is quick, taking around 1 minute per hive. It’s also designed for quick spring inspections, so you can see the condition of your hive’s resources without disturbing them too much.

What are the cover configurations and costs?

BeeSlipTM covers can be used to winter bee colonies individually or in groups of four, with one or two supers.


  • BeeSlipTM – 1 Colony / 1 Raise
      • Without Base – $159 + tx
      • Standard base – $179 + tx
      • Base Royale – $199 + tx
  • BeeSlipTM – 1 Colony / 2 Hosts
      • Without Base – $179 + tx
      • Standard base – $199 + tx
      • Base Royale – $219 + tx
  • BeeSlipTM – 4 Colonies / 1 Raise
      • Without Base – $289 + tx
      • Standard base – $379 + tx
      • For Palette migratoire – $299 + tx
  • BeeSlipTM – 4 Colonies / 2 Hosts
    • Without Base – $319 + tx
    • Standard Base – $399 + tx
    • For Palette migratoire – $329 + tx


The cover for 2 colonies is currently under development.

The price of the covers seems high, why should I buy one?
  • The BeeSlipTM cover reduces the risk of colony loss by eliminating these factors: 
    • Poor humidity management.
    • Better control of the hive’s internal temperature.
    • Limit the spread of mold on beekeeping equipment.


  • The loss of a colony means an economic and productivity loss for the beekeeper: less harvest, extra effort to rebuild.
    • The purchase of bee nucs to replace the loss of the colony
      • The cost may be higher than the cover.
      • The availability of nucs is not guaranteed.
    • Dividing surviving hives to rebuild the herd
      • The time required for this activity is considerable
      • Loss of colony productivity for the production of hive products (honey, propolis, royal jelly, wax, etc.).
    • Replacement of equipment damaged by mould.


  • Installation is simple, fast and more robust than other wintering methods.
    • Save time and effort for fall installation and spring removal.
      • This allows the beekeeper to invest his energy in what really matters: caring for the bees. 
    • Guaranteed protection against the harshest winter weather.
    • Resistant cover against vermin and small rodents


  • The BeeSlipTM cover boosts hive performance in spring
    • Allows quick spring inspections without disturbing the bees too much.
    • Increases the hive’s internal temperature in spring to speed up egg-laying and bee emergence.


  • The BeeStandTM base is Open Source, and plans are given free of charge on the cover packaging or available for download from our website. This allows beekeepers to manufacture part of the product themselves and adapt it to their own needs.


  • The cover is the result of a rigorous R&D process, and its functions are based on bee biology and scientific facts.


  • The 5-year warranty is a guarantee of product quality.


  • The product is made in Quebec with local expertise. This is a commitment that each product will be of the highest possible quality for optimal durability. 


  • The product is a sustainable, eco-responsible solution, with a purchase price that pays for itself over its lifetime of at least 10 to 15 years. All materials are recyclable, and each part is interchangeable to counter programmed obsolescence.
Is it absolutely necessary to use the prefabricated base to winterize a hive with the BeeSlipTM cover?

The cover has been designed for optimum use with the BeeStandTM prefabricated base. 


However, you don’t need to combine the base to overwinter successfully, as long as the fabric of the cover is well tensioned by a fastening system customized by the beekeeper.

What are the insulating values of the BeeSlipTM winter cover?

Once correctly installed, the cover will offer R13 insulation on the top and the air space will give around R1, the equivalent of thermofoil. 


Since there are no points of contact between the sides of the cover and the hive (thermal bridges), heat transfer by conduction is greatly limited, increasing the effective insulating value and considerably reducing the risk of condensation on beekeeping equipment.

Is it possible to consult the scientific study conducted by Espace Abeille with CRSAD?

Certainly! The evaluation report for winter 2020-2021 has been completed and available in the “Articles” section of our website at the following link:

How does the cover work?

The cover can be installed on a Langstroth or similar-sized hive. It provides better humidity and temperature management inside the hive throughout the winter season.


Ideally, we use an Espace Abeille base or place the hive on it. This can be done in spring, summer or winter. 


Then slip the cover over the hive, make sure it’s centered and insert the elastic cords through the metal eyelets. Once installed, the cords are attached to the hooks on the base for perfect tension.

Where can I get a Bee Space product?

Mainly through certain distributors of bee products chosen on the basis of their work ethic and corporate values.


See the distributors list.

When is the ideal time to winterize the hive?

The best time to winterize the hive depends on the temperature and the region. Generally, overnight temperatures must be consecutively below zero to overwinter. So it’s important to keep an eye on the temperature.


In southern Quebec, wintering lasts from mid-November to April. In more northerly regions, this period can extend from late October to May.

Does the cover require maintenance after the winter season?

Yes, but only a light cleaning with mild soap to remove the bees’ blemishes. Then store it in a dry place away from UV rays.


For soap, do not use dishwashing soap.

I have over 300 beehives to my name. How am I going to get into my money?

Bee Space slipcovers have been designed to be durable and efficient, both in terms of time and performance.


We invite you to consider the following elements:

  • The cost of materials for your current winterization solution and their environmental impact
  • The time required to install, inspect and de-install your current overwintering solution
  • The cost of replacing colonies at the end of winter
  • Purchase of hives due to excessive humidity
  • The cost of moving your colonies for the winter (more common in the U.S.A.)
  • Production losses due to late departure or colony replacement
How does the warranty work?

Espace Abeille covers come with a 5-year warranty on the fabric and a 1-year warranty against manufacturing and material defects. 


The 5-year warranty is degressive, meaning that for the first year of use, 100% of the fabric is covered, the second year 80% and so on.


Warranty coverage is explicitly explained in the product instructions. Proof of purchase must be retained for warranty claims. 

Is it better to winter indoors or outdoors?

Both methods have advantages and disadvantages:


  • Interior winterization : 
    • Advantage : 
      • Better-controlled environment
      • Little variation in temperature and humidity
      • Risk of colony loss lower than outdoor wintering
    • Disadvantages : 
      • Requires substantial investment in the building and the right mechanical system.
      • Space limited by the building
      • Effort and time required to handle hives in spring and autumn.
      • Colony start-up slower than colonies overwintered outdoors, generally one honeyflow less.


  • Outdoor winterization
    • Advantage :
      • Moderate investment to protect colonies from bad weather.
      • No limitation on colony size
      • Little or no hive handling in spring and autumn.
      • Stronger colony start than overwintered colonies, generally one honeyflow more.
    • Disadvantage: 
      • Must protect each colony from the elements, can take time depending on the method used.
      • Wide variations in temperature and humidity.
      • Greater risk of colony loss than indoor wintering.
Are there different colors for the BeeSlipTM covers?

To ensure optimum performance, Espace Abeille has decided to offer only one color: black. This color offers more adequate energy performance for a better colony start in spring.

What preparations do you need to make for a successful winter?
  • Depending on the strength of your colony, decide whether to overwinter with one or two fusegates. 
    • In our opinion, overwintering with one supers is ideal, as there is less space to manage temperature and humidity. However, wintering with two supers leaves more resources, but there is more space for the bees to manage, which can increase the rate at which resources are consumed.
  • But be sure to leave enough resources for the bees to feed properly over the winter.
    • If you have a hive scale, the ideal weight of a hive filled with resources and bees is over 32kg, and 46kg for a double hive.
  • Remove excess honey supers with a beehive remover and extract the honey.
  • Apply treatments against parasites and varroa mites. Ask beekeeping equipment retailers about the best methods to use.
  • Remove the queen excluders, especially if you are overwintering with two supers.
  • Feed the bees a syrup made from sugar and water using a feeder. Feeding should continue until daytime temperatures fall below 10 degrees Celsius. Once feeding is complete, remove it before dressing your hives.
  • Install an inlet reducer, with the opening facing upwards so that the carpet of dead bees doesn’t block the ventilation.
  • Position your hive away from prevailing winds on the site where you winter your hives. 
  • Protect your hives with a covering that keeps the temperature down without over-insulating, and maintains ventilation at all times.
  • Refer to the Wintering checklist.