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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Moyock NC USA
    Posts
    76

    Default Hive Condensation

    Hello fellow beekeeper's, I checked my hive today, after some bitterly cold weather, as most of the nation has experienced. The bees looked great and I have been feeding them with the mountain camp method. But I do have one question. I did notice a little condensation on the under side of the inner cover, and the newspaper was damp, and had a little bit of mold on it, is this normal? and if is not what can I do to fix this. I have read it might need more ventilation, I use a 3/4 inch block on the inside of the outer cover but I was wondering if I need to some how vent the hive better to control the condensation. I use an entrance reducer and the opening is about 2". any info would be greatly appreciated.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Prince William County, Va.
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Hive Condensation

    I have read on this great resouce that insulating the top of the hive allows for condensation to collect on the much cooler walls of the hive/supers. This apparently sends the moisture dripping harmlessly down the walls of the hive rather than dripping directly from ceiling onto the cluster.
    Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default Re: Hive Condensation

    In your other thread about winter feeding, http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=235373 you still had a feeder on about the first week of November. This seems kind of late even for N. Carolina. I like to finish feeding before the weather gets cool; no later then the last week of Sept. around here. This allows the bees to evaporate moisture from the 2:1 syrup while the weather is still warm. October has longer nights of cool temps and the shorter days can be cool to. I tried to feed later one year and it seemed to add too much moisture to the hive; condensing on the feeder, inner cover,..etc. This was before I provided a top entrance/exit for winter of course.

    With the MC method, I believe the newspaper and sugar is directly on the top bars, so any moisture under the inner cover should drip on the sugar.

    Seems to me a 3/4 inch upper vent is enough. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wilmington, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: Hive Condensation

    The dry sugar should act as a moisture collector and turn it into candy. The moldy stuff I'd try to remove and slip more newspaper under it.

    I guess the optimal way to reduce the risks of condensation dripping on the cluster is to do two things: Pitch the outer cover slightly (I'd imagine about a 1/4") towards the back wall (prop the front up 1/4"), and the hive bottom to pitch towards the entrance. Shimmed from underneath the base in back outside. Sounds confusing, however it's a double pitching attempt to redirection water. The best ventilation is not going to get rid of moisture. If your colonies are fine, then I'd leave them alone and reassess things in Spring.
    Honey is the best thing ever discovered ! www.greenanything.net/honey-bees.php

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Default Re: Hive Condensation

    >The best ventilation is not going to get rid of moisture . . .
    Yes, that is what "proper" ventilation does. "Pitching" the hive is just "controling" something that not have occured.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wilmington, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: Hive Condensation

    "Yes, that is what "proper" ventilation does. "Pitching" the hive is just "controling" something that not have occurred."

    They can control all they want, however will not stop the outside temperature & humidity factors. My idea was to manage the architectual structure to sustain maximum condensation diversion.
    Honey is the best thing ever discovered ! www.greenanything.net/honey-bees.php

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,736

    Default Re: Hive Condensation

    Without starting an exhaustive thread on condensation, the direct answer to the question is yes, it is normal from time to time. And yes, you add more shims, tilt the hives, open the entrance up more, add more newspaper, sugar, etc. There will be times in a healthy hive where the moisture builds up faster than the ventilation can remove it. The bees can use some of that water so the presence of some moisture is a good thing.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wilmington, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: Hive Condensation

    So what you're trying to say is that the bees will occasionally break away from the cluster regardless of the area of condensation to drink ?
    Honey is the best thing ever discovered ! www.greenanything.net/honey-bees.php

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,736

    Default Re: Hive Condensation

    Bees with break cluster to find more capped honey, water, whatever. In dead cold...I'm talking about cluster cold of single digits, there's not much going on. But in reasonable temps, the bees are more active than we think.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

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