Results 1 to 9 of 9
  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
    46,763

    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
    46,763

    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
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    807

    Default

    Hi Guys,

    Just a few thoughts.

    In a northern climate, Lang hives are often tipped forward so moisture will drain out rather than accumulate.

    A tbh has a significantly larger floor area per volume when compared to a Lang hive. And they are often much more air tight than a Lang hive. Condensation, off the sidewalls, could accumulate, in large quantities, if the tbh's floor slopes the wrong way.

    That happened with one of my tbhs when I moved it to a winter location and didn't tip it properly. Next spring, I had about 4" of very stale water accumulate at the far, rear corner. Combs, back there, had some mold on them and the wood had mildew. But the cluster, near the entrance wasn't affected.

    It was a mess to clean up and required giving the hive some temporary additional ventilation to dry it up. The bees can easily clean up the mold and mildrew when they need the comb.

    If there's a bee problems and lots of them die while wintering inside the hive, it's a big, wet, stinking mess no matter what kind of ventilation exists or which way the hives are tipped.

    In a tbh, I haven't found winter condensation to be a problem to the cluster. There's not much winter moisture. And at wetter times during the spring, it won't drip on them if the cluster is large enough and they are healthy. See my Lang observations at:
    www.bwrangler.com/bee/lwin.htm . But in a tbh, moisture can sure make a mess if it accumulates elsewhere.

    Regards
    Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, I know better, so I do better.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Mold and condensation

    I have mold on the back wall of my TBHs, and on some of the yet unused bars. I live in Southern California, and it's usually very dry during the day but we're having foggy nights and mornings right now (our June Gloom.) I made the TBHs from old toy chests I bought and the lids do not fit tightly, allowing for some top ventilation. The entrances are three 1" holes I drilled in the front toward the bottom of the space. The bottom of the hives are sealed. I do not use follower boards.

    So, too much ventilation or not enough?? What's the best way to reduce this condensation/dampness in our very dry climate??

  9. #9

    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

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads