Just to clarifyÂ…
What is adequate ventilation for a hive here in Missouri in winter? WeÂ’ve had a long cold period here[like many of you have]. I currently have the inch slot on my entrance reducer and the inner cover openings. Is this enough? I also noticed that a lot of bees didnÂ’t make it back to the hive in the past week. They were Â‘strewnÂ’ across the snow several yards around the hive. My entrance was also buried in snow.
Ventilation, winter or summer, is a controversial issue, not one with a simple answer. I have had good luck with some ventilation during the winter. I usually have some sort of DE Vent kit or a homade variation. This is an inner cover with about three times as much area of vent in it covered with #8 hardware cloth. Then a box, about the size of a medium or shallow with a couple of holes an inch or so in diameter with #8 hardare cloth on them and a piece of plywood on the top or a migratory cover.
This has worked well for me in Eastern Nebraska.
Some have theorized that some condensation inside is a source of water for the bees. Others have observed condensation freezing on the inner cover then melting and dripping on the bees.
I think part of the reason for the controversy is the simple fact that there are differences in climates and differences from winter to winter.
My guess is that an upper slot and an inch opening at the bottom should be sufficient for your climate. You could add a popscicle stick on top of the inner cover to make a bit more ventilation there and to tip the cover a bit so the water will run to one end.
>> I currently have the inch slot on my entrance reducer and the inner cover openings. Is this enough?
Yes, thats all you need to do. That is exactly what I do. Not only does the upper enterence provide adequate ventalation, it acts as a winter enterance. Important when you have lots of snow through out the winter, like here.
>>I also noticed that a lot of bees didnÂ’t make it back to the hive in the past week. They were Â‘strewnÂ’ across the snow several yards around the hive. My entrance was also buried in snow.
Sign of a healthy hive. In my opinion, most of those are old dying bees anyway.
Just to clarify . . .
Does popcicle stick go on TOP or BOTTOM of inner cover?
Ventilation in frigid temps does not make sense to me....
It's moisture management for my hives...
I use absorbent material on the top of the frames to capture buildup that dries out naturally depending upon relative humidity.
I'm using newspaper this year, with sugar on top.
It's a take from the way it's done in the UK for many years. They use fabrics... Cotton or other natural blanketing material...
I'd like to add that I will not use newspaper next winter...
I will use my hemp cotton fabric to cloth the tops.... putting sugar under this...
I recognize flaws in the way I did it this year.
I too am using a couple of layers (maybe 10 sheets total) of newspaper on top of the inner-cover to absorb/release moisture. On one hive I cover the newspaper with a piece of plywood - on this hive the newspaper gets soaking wet, but I don't think it drips. On the other hives (without the extra plywood cover) the paper just gets a little damp. Both approaches seem to be working ok. What "flaws" have you found in your approach?
>Does popcicle stick go on TOP or BOTTOM of inner cover?
Let's assume the hive is level side to side and tips a little (about 1/4" to a foot) to the front. If you put the popsicle stick on the back of the TOP of the inner cover it will help with the slope, so the condensation will run to the front, and it will make a crack of ventilation in the space between the inner cover and the outer cover. In this position it will NOT make a draft directly into the top box. You could also put one at each of the back corners to make the top a bit more stable. Of course you will have to have a brick or something on the cover so it won't blow off. I usually put the outer cover on during the active season without an inner cover so the bees will propolize it a bit. Then When I put it on the inner cover it will stick a little so it doesn't blow off so easily. You don't want TOO much propolis on it, but a little is helpful. But now that you put the popsicle in you can't count on propolis to help hold the lid on. Around here I'd have to put a concrete block on to guarantee it won't blow off the lid.
The cloth inner covers are still in use by some. A piece of canvas works pretty well because they won't chew it up so much. Usually they were used in place of the inner cover. It's why beekeepers in the UK will call it a "quilt" board.
Why not put stick between inner cover and top hive body?
You could. It's all a matter of how much ventilation you want/need. Especially in the winter. You want "just right".
Well this might sound silly to our readers but the sugar becomes moistened upon the damp/wet newspaper and I'm concerned they've (no doubt) consumed newsprint ink.
I'm worried the ink is hurting them.
(NO ONE LAUGH!)
[This message has been edited by Daisy (edited February 10, 2004).]
As I just learned, it is probably much better to have a little too much venitlation than to have too little. One of my hive entrances got clogged with dead bees. (I'm rarely at the bee yard in the winter) and I just opened the hive to find three frames of live bees and a gallon and 1/2 container full of dead ones. I also had a nice build up of mold on several frames. Yummy!!
Hey michael, how many bees in 1 1/2 gallons?
>Well this might sound silly to our readers but the sugar becomes moistened upon the damp/wet newspaper and I'm concerned they've (no doubt) consumed newsprint ink.
Newspapers are all printed with soy ink now. It is edible for humans and bees.
>(NO ONE LAUGH!)
I'm not, and I'm serious about the answer.
>As I just learned, it is probably much better to have a little too much venitlation than to have too little.
I think just right is best, but I agree a little too much is better than a little (or a lot) too little.
>Hey michael, how many bees in 1 1/2 gallons?
A lot. Didn't you count them?
Question about using newpaper:
If I place some newpaper (several sheets) and some sugar (about a cupful) OUTSIDE, under protection from rain and dew, the newspaper becomes damp, and the sugar becomes damp.
How do you know this arrangement is REMOVING MOISTURE FROM HIVE?????
(Dont tell me, "because the hive is dry!")
>If I place some newpaper (several sheets) and some sugar (about a cupful) OUTSIDE, under protection from rain and dew, the newspaper becomes damp, and the sugar becomes damp.
>How do you know this arrangement is REMOVING MOISTURE FROM HIVE?????
I've never used this method, but if the sugar is wet it did remove moisture from the air, wherever it was. If the air is inside the hive, then it removed moisture from the hive. If the air is outside the hive then it removed moisture from the atmosphere outside the hive. Sugar and honey are hydroscopic. Honey even more than sugar.