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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    5

    Exclamation Mold and condensation

    Hi all,

    I think I have a bee problem. Went to look at my bees today, seeing as it's so nice and sunny. The temp, though, is only about 42 deg. They were flying alright, but looking in the window of my Top Bar Hive I saw tons of condensation and quite a bit of mold. I removed the entrance reducer to give them more air and the bottom of the hive has many dead bees and black mold. What do I do? Do I keep the entrance reducer off the next several days and let it air out better? Should I put it on at night to better block the cold (it will be 29 deg. tonight) and remove it in the day for drying purposes? Do I remove the top and a couple combs to let it dry even better--I worry it's too cold for that.

    The weather forecast for the next several days is...rain. Hive info: this is a TBH I started last spring. It built up beautifully, filled the 3 foot hive body with comb on every bar, gave excess honey and they still have plenty of stores that should last through spring (seeing how sparingly they've used the stores they have till now). I drilled a hole near the top on the entrance side of the hive to act as a chimney to remove condensation, but it doesn't seem to be working. I think that may be because I didn't drill the hole until fall (did it with a hand auger) and it opens up right at a comb, so there may not be enough space for the condensation to leave.

    Thank you for your suggestions.

    Beth in Connecticut

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,384

    Default

    I think you are on the right track. Let some of that warm moist air out the top.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default keep or remove entrance reducer

    Thank you Michael! I replaced the entrance reducer several hours after having taken it off, and there was a noticeable reduction in the condensation by the time I did so as viewed through my window in the hive. Having posted my dilemma on organicbeekeepers as well, though, I have a question raised by a response there. Dee Lusby suggests keeping the entrance reducer off and cleaning the dead bees off the bottom of the hive. For those on this list who do not also read Dee's, may I also ask here, is it ok to leave the entrance reducer off? Here in CT it gets into the 20's at night, sometimes the teens. My hive is situated such that it is unlikely a rodent could get in (the hive is tied to a platform which is mounted on a post which is sunk into the ground and is about 2 feet off the ground).

    Should I take the entrance reducer off in the day time when it is warmer and replace it at night? It's in my back yard so it's not a problem to do so.

    Thank you very much for your sage advice!

    Best regards,

    Beth

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,384

    Default

    The purpose of the entrance reducer is to cut down on robbing and maybe to keep the mice out (if it's small enough). If it's warm enough for the bees to fly the mice will probably leave them alone and you could leave it off or put some 1/4" hardware cloth on for a mouse guard. If the other issue is being robbed. If there isn't a problem with that then it probably doesn't matter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Thank you.

    Thank you, I will remove the entrance reducer and see how that helps them out. Will also clean out the bottom of the hive per Dee on suggestions from her list. Hopefully this will be enough. My best regards, Beth

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,020

    Default hive temperature as a factor in varroa control

    I'm not so sure about letting the air out at the top. There is evidence that hive temperature may be an important factor in varroa reproduction - see http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=247

    If there is condensation, that says to me that the inner walls of the hive are too cool, which means that, for whatever reason, the bees were unable to maintain a sufficiently high temperature in the cluster.

    There could be several reasons for this, including:

    - the volume of air inside the hive is too great for residual bee heat to keep it warm
    - there were insufficient bees in the cluster to maintain adequate heat
    - there was insufficient insulation on the top of the hive to keep the heat in

    Since I started using two follower boards to enclose the colony within the central part of the TBH, together with low entrances and no top ventilation, I have had no condensation problems at all and so far, no losses, in a notoriously damp region of England.

    This is not to say that other solutions may work as well, but clearly there is some reason for your hive being damp inside.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  7. #7

    Default Re: Mold and condensation

    I too experienced mould in the hive. This is what iv noticed amd did;
    http://chopwoodcarrywaterplantseeds....-hive.html?m=1

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