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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    York, ME
    Posts
    68

    Default Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    Hi - can we place the homasote board on top of the inner cover without an entrance hole (like the one on the inner cover) or should we drill a hole for ventilation? I have heard of making a groove in the board for moisture release - that assumes some kind of hole. My thinking is I don't want to put a hole right over the center of the brood, as is the hole in the inner cover. So if a hole is best, I thought I'd drill it on the side with a groove from the hole to the side of the board. We are buying sheets of homasote board at the lumber yard rather than pay for it from the bee supplier. Any advice from other doityourselfers?

    Thank you!
    B-

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Brady, washington
    Posts
    708

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    I would just leave it alone if you want good ventalation use a sbb and it works well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,082

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    I don't know what a homasote cover is, but if you're in cold country you want to let moisture escape out the top. Otherwise it might ice up or rain down on you're bees.
    Some people just put a Popsicle stick under one end of the inner cover for ventilation.
    Dan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,678

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    I've routed a channel from the center to the edge that I then match up with a notched inner cover. I also put a few shims (about the thickness of a frame end) so that there is air space between the outer cover and the homasote which will hopefully help dry the homasote.. (order of placement: inner cover, homasote, telescoping cover)

  5. #5

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    Hi Barb and Ken -
    I agree with Andrew.
    Router a groove from the center of the homasote inner cover to the outside so it matches with the notch in the inner cover - this creates a "chimney" for the warm moist air to escape through.
    This picture shows the routered groove for nucs, not the full sized colony but hopefully you get the idea.
    Best,
    -Erin
    http://s76.photobucket.com/albums/j3...=030809057.jpg
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    York, ME
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    Picture is worth a 1,000 words - thanks. I guess this also allows bees to exit along the routed out pathway if it connects to the notch on the inner cover. Much appreciated.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    Forgive my ignorance but why exactly are you adding a third cover to your hives?
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    York, ME
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    The homasote absorbs moisture - very important in our cold, long winters.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Dexter, Maine
    Posts
    1,037

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    That isn't much of an area if your trying to use something to absorb, you may want to consider some cedar shavings. Many people I know put a screen, like window screen then a piece of burlap,then about 6 or 8 inches of cedar shavings.
    Of course I'm a new beek, and never seen any homasote.
    Last edited by brac; 10-05-2009 at 06:53 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wilmington, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    A healthy hive should not allow the inner lid to collect moisture since they're maintaining 90 degrees in there. You want that flue affect in your hives so the condensating moisture travels the front of the hive away from the bees. Moist air goes in and directly up when heated.

    Just for laughs, why not build a chimney flue on a hive outer cover ?

    I personally would not drill holes in the hives. It makes a mess and there's heat loss in cold climates. Langstroth has a great design, use it well.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    York, ME
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    From what I've read, the bees do not maintain inner temp at 90 - you need to read Bee Culture's last two issues - available on line - and read the articles about overwintering and what happens inside the hive - the bees only heat the cluster, not the hive, and as they breath, just like us, the breating creates moisture and in winter, that moisture can be a killer. So for me in Maine it is vital I have a moisture sump at the top of the hive - and preserve the top exit for the bees....

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    Overwintering a colony using "homasote" is common throughout the NE US.

    This 1/2-inch "board" placed on top of the inner cover (covered by TC) is said to absorb moisture from the hive (wicks it to the edges where it then evaporates). The only exposure to the hive environment is through the oblong hole in center of IC. That doesn’t seem to be enough "exposure" to me, but this method is recommended by many.

    I think "the board" is providing insulation that prevents condensation from forming rather than "removing" moisture.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wilmington, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    90-93 degrees in the cluster. From "Beekeeping for Dummies" book. Page 130 at the bottom quotes: "During winter, the temperature at the center of the cluster is maintained at 90 to 93 degrees F."

    The hive surrounding the bees must be closely related in temperature to the inner walls. Maybe not 90 degrees; however, 60-80 degrees possible. They need at least 50 degrees to do cleansing flights.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    The cluster maintains the 90 degree range ONLY when rearing brood. A broodless cluster hold a "cool" 70 degree range. ONLY the inside of cluster is heated. The outer "shell" of cluster gets into the 40s. Air inside hive can be the same as "outside" temp (very cold).

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    Since this type of board is touted as being extremely weather resistant I wonder just how much moisture it can absorb.
    "Because it was impervious to weather extremes the board caught the eye of U.S. military officials"
    The incredible strength and moisture resistance of Homasote® upon which Byrd relied is underscored by a letter the Company received in 1947 from a military engineer who had spent two tours of duty ay Byrd's Little America site in Antarctica
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wilmington, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    Maybe we need to insulate the outside of the supers then.

    I've got some old white plastic covered water heater insulation I'll wrap around them this winter, however still exposing the entrance and inner lid half-moon.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Dexter, Maine
    Posts
    1,037

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    I really think that wanting someting on top of the hive to absorb moisture is a bad idea, you want to remove the moisture, not keep it.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    York, ME
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    Ok - I too looked up specs on homasote - it contains flame retardants, of course - and 0.1% copper pesticide - and is designed to be moisture resistant - so now I am wondering if it will indeed absorb moisture? I have a call in to the manufacturer to ask what those words mean - if indeed it wicks moisture to the edge, great! If not, then I may use newspapers - but then the question is, with newspapers over the inner cover - how do you create a tunnel for air and bees to exit? I thought maybe I could saw a piece of PVC pipe in half and lay that down from inner cover square hole on edge to center of inner cover....and then put down newspapers. It sounds like some people do not use their inner cover in the winter - but put a screen on, newspapers or burlap with sawdust and then top cover????

    Ideas?

    Thanks!

  19. #19

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    Homasote absorbs a lot of moisture.
    In general, I check hives in winter every few weeks (3 or 4) and just look at the homasote and activity under it, without removing the inner cover.
    On the occasion where I find a soaked homasote board I replace the homasote and the telescoping cover (leaky telescoping cover is usually the culprit.)
    Homasote left out in the rain will soak through and be wet like a wet towel but dry just fine in one day of no rain and sun without breaking down the way pressed paper or cardboard would.
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    407

    Default Re: Do we put a hole in the homasote cover?

    I've never heard of Homasote, so I looked it up on wiki. Interesting. Where does one obtain this product?

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