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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Creston bc canada
    Posts
    52

    Default different hives.

    It is interesting how different hives can be from one another.

    I started two hives from packages last spring , one was very quick to build up and produced well over 100 lbs of honey , the other was sickly and produced almost no surplus at all , but seemed to perk up in the fall , going into winter with a good population.

    Yesterday was very warm , the weak hive was flying cleansing flights in full force , nothing from the stronger hive , not a bee to be seen.

    The hive that was flying has all the bees in the bottom deep , I opened the other , thinking they would all be dead , and they were all in the top deep , probably a few thousand of them.

    The one that wasn't flying has water actually dripping water out of the entrance , and I have been cleaning out thousands of dead bees every few weeks , so i installed a top entrance for them , as they don't seem to want to go down and thru the bottom as it is too wet.

    Any guesses as to what would cause so much moisture in one hive , they both have ample ventilation , and do you think putting in a top entrance is the right thing to do?

    From what I can see , there is lots of stored honey in the uppers still.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Libertytown, MD, USA
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: different hives.

    Quote Originally Posted by jwbee View Post
    Any guesses as to what would cause so much moisture in one hive
    Locating it on top of a spring would do that. Just sayin'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: different hives.

    1) inadequate ventilation
    2) Poor insulation

    Your big hive had a whole lot more bees exhaling in it than the smaller one, and so there was a lot more moisture in the air inside.

    If the top cover wasn't insulated, when the warm moist air condensed on it, it likely then "rained" or dripped onto the cluster of bees... and cold, wet bees die pretty quick.

    The ventilation created by the top entrance as well as a piece of foam board insulation will mitigate this.
    The top entrance both allows an escape for th emoisture, and aloows some air flow to help evaporate any that forms.
    Insulating the top so that it is warmer than the sides will cause most of the moisture to condense on the sides of the hive where it can drain away harmlessly without wetting the bees, as wellas provide them with drinking water.

    Tilting the hive slightly toward the bottom entrance if you have one to facilitate drainage og any condensation from the floor by shimming the back edge up a n eighth or quarter inch can also be helpful.

    If you have both top and bottom entrances use the smallest entrance hole on your entrance reducer to avoid having too much ventilation.
    It also makes the removal of dead bees by the workers on warm days easier.

    When you use a top entrance, you really don't need a bottom one, though.
    I've wintered bees in subzero weather with only a top entrance, and a quilt box of shredded leaves for insulation/moisture absorption.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,467

    Default Re: different hives.

    I agree proper ventillation is key. A bottom entrance in conjuction with an upper entrance/ventillation opening will keep the moisture down to a minimum. With only one opening there is no air flow and moisture will build up. For an example....try blowing into a pop bottle, then trying it with a hole in the opposite end. Huge difference.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,924

    Default Re: different hives.

    Find out what successful bee keepers in your area use as a winter setup and then emulate that. Here in the south I don't think you can have too much ventilation. Sometimes it's like that though, the hive that is booming today is failing next month and vice versa.
    since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: different hives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Beeman View Post
    I agree proper ventillation is key. A bottom entrance in conjuction with an upper entrance/ventillation opening will keep the moisture down to a warm . With only one opening there is no air flow and moisture will build up. For an example....try blowing into a pop bottle, then trying it with a hole in the opposite end. Huge difference.
    That's absolutely true in an empty pop bottle.

    If you put a bunch of bees in a cold box in the winter, the temperature of the cluster will cause air to rise above it, carrying moisture laden air with it.
    If the box has no upper vent or entrance, that moisture in that warm air condenses on any cold surface at or below dew point temperature, such as the lid and sides.

    With an entrance or vent at the top, the warm moist air exits and continues rising, until the moisture condenses out side, drawing cooler air in from below, or, if there are no lower leaks or vents, through a part of the upper opening.

    Adding a lower opening of any significant size can cause a draft, chilling the bees and causing them to need more food stores for heating fuel or if the stores run out, causing them to die.

    I've had good results w/ the setup I described both in subzero winter and balmy single-digit-to-low-teens winter conditions.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    LaGrange; Oldham County; Kentucky
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: different hives.

    Hi there. This is my first spring so I'm rather new, too. Wanted to share that when I placed my hives initially, they had a forward tilt. Over the winter, they settled with out me realizing, and melting snow/rain went into the hive. I figured it out and fixed it, but just wanted to share. When I lifted the rear of the hive, water spilled out. I now keep a level in my bee box along with hive tool and brush!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Creston bc canada
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: different hives.

    Thanks for the replies all , I should mention that there is an inner cover made of 1" insulating foam and the hive is tilted forward , that's why the water was running out the bottom entrance.

    The hive is back to back with another hive and the two are wrapped in 1" styro insulation.

    When I removed the honey supers this fall , it seemed touch and go whether all the bees would fit into two deeps , the population was so huge.

    I think I should have split that hive in the summer , or left an extra super on until later in the winter.

    They seem to be doing OK , but aren't taking their cleansing flights like the other hive on warm days.

  9. #9

    Default Re: different hives.

    in Maine we use a homasote inslulation board over the inner cover with a groove in it to absorb moisture, act as a chimney for moist air, and allow an additional upper entrance. homasote is a fiber building material that comes in a sheet and is 98% post consumer recycled paper/cardboard.
    Some beekeepers alternatively use a shim and put layers of newspaper to absorb moisture (and by layers I mean entire editions of the paper - maybe two or three.)
    It is a quick and easy fix to put a moisture absorbing substance over your inner cover, I'd do that (under your foam board) asap. I have the homasote insulation board on every single one of my colonies, every winter.

    Best to you and your bees,
    -Erin
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

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