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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    54

    Default Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    Hello,

    I have two hives on my roof in DC, and i'm concerned about overheating when the temperatures are in the high 90s and humid. Both of my hives have screened bottom boards and sit on bricks, so there is a ventilation space under the hives. I'm a little concerned about leaving the telescoping covers propped up in case we have a wind storm, so yesterday I drilled 1 1-inch hole in each of the the two deep boxes of each hive. Has anyone ever tried this? Is it overkill? As luck would have it, we have rainy weather now 1 day after I made the holes, and now I'm concerns about chilling. Should I leave the holes open or should I cork them?

    DC Beekeeper

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Portsmouth, NH
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    Vent holes/upper entrance holes are good. I use a smaller hole than 1", which is the same size as a standard wine cork. I keep a handful of corks with me in case I need to stop robbing or move a hive. I put all my holes just to the left of the front handle. I also leave the honey supers corked to help prevent robbing, but I don't know if this is necessary.

    The bees will reduce the hole to a size they are comfortable with, so don't worry about it too much. In the winter you only need one entrance hole on the top super. I just wrap over the others.
    Backyard beekeeping and honey bees.
    www.BlueLineApiary.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,788

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    Now that you have drilled them, leave them open. AS was already stated, the bees will close them up if they wish.

    A proped up cover/inner cover w/ a cinder block on top requires quite a heavy wind to blow off of the hive. But I see holes in hive bodies all the time and have purchased lots that are that way. Never drilled a hole in a hive body or super myself tho.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,317

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    If the hole is for ventilation then just screen it. If it is an entrance hole I wouldn't be corking and uncorking because you screw up the bees that are using it and slow things down.

    Roof top, what is it? Black asphalt, stone, metal, wood, and color?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,788

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    A screened hole will get propolised. Leave them open. All year round.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Phelps Co. Missouri USA
    Posts
    856

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    I use something similar to this;

    http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/stor...ver-p-232.html

    I have 4 larger holes in the bottom, covered with # 8 wire, do not use a inner cover, I can set syrup jars on the wire with a extra box. refill never disturb bees.

    PCM

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,317

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    I would think a one inch hole would be hard to defend against bumble bees but what do I know. If the bees plug up the screen it might be that they didn't need the ventilation but here again what do I know.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,788

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    Have observed what I said for many years and the bees do just fine. Generally, honeybees don't have to defend their hives from Bumblebees. And when they do, it's usually only one lone bumble which any colony should be able to defend itself from. Don't worry about bumbles.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    Thanks for all of the insightful responses. It seems that with some experimentation in the set up (screened/open) the holes can be a good thing. The 1" diameter felt a little big, but I was trying to match the hole size to most common size corks I have.

    The rooftop is tin painted grey - not as hot as an asphalt roof, but it gets pretty darn hot up there in the spring and summer.

    I'll keep watch over how much the bees cover up the holes and adjust the strategy as necessary.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    Just make sure they have good access to water. If bees are surviving in TX this year they should have no problem with your rooftop.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    Hilreal,

    That is a good point. There is no source of water for the bees on the roof other than rain. I did put a bucket full of water in between the hives (with corks for the bees to float on), but after a week the water became very foul looking and I removed it. Do I need water up there, and, if so, how can I prevent it from becoming disgusting?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    Definitely provide a water source or they will find one that may make you an unpopular beekeeper.

    Bees don't really drink the water, so foul looking doesn't bother them much. My girls love the mud puddles much more than the nice supply of water I give them. You might want to use a drop or two of chlorine or HBH to keep it from getting so slimey.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,788

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    Where in DC do you live? Not to far from the Zoo, if I remember previous posts correctly and don't have you confused w/ someone else. I would think that just about anywhere in DC there would be some standing water available in roof gutters if nowhere else. Pools, puddles, streams like Rock Creek, and other places.

    Most provided water is not used by the bees. And bees seem to prefer flying away from their hive to find what they need. So, putting it between the hives isn't necassary. Bees fly. As I keep telling the peoplle I pollinate for.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,317

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by DC Beekeeper View Post
    The rooftop is tin painted grey - not as hot as an asphalt roof, but it gets pretty darn hot up there in the spring and summer.
    I would lay a sheet of white coroplast down on the roof say 3x4 ft. Then use a couple of 4x4's so the hive is about 7 inches off the deck allowing air to get under the hive. Lay an outdoor thermometer on the hive top and look for the max reading. If it goes much over 100 deg. F I would think about how I could shade the hive.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    DC B,
    Down the road from you in S Md.
    I drilled the 1" holes in some of my supers. More for less traffic in the brood nest than ventilation. Won't do anymore. The bees really do not use it much. Most have propolised it down to half. As the nectar flow wains, I will close them to alleviate another entrance that the bees will have to defend from robbing and I have some SHB. The link shows what I and the TBH people call a Quilt inner cover. Basically a box with screened vent holes and a filler of sawdust/whatever. I do not use the top entrance as I see it. I used these last summer, through the winter, and am happy with them. So much so that I am replacing all hives, as I can, with these. I also run a 5" bottom entrance and have less bearding than the "standard" Lang. No screened BB. No traffic jams.
    Just options and what works for Me.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Ventilation holes - a good idea?

    Thanks all for the additional information regarding watering the bees. The two bee books I have read both tell me to provided water lest the bees start drinking out of a neighbor's leaky spigot, yet I never once saw the bee touch the water I provided in the bucket. I do have a gutter where water usually stands, and, as sqk points out, there are plenty of other places the bees could get water. So I think I'll hold off on bringing back the bucket.

    One thing I have definitely learned keeping bees for 3 months - it's way more complex than I thought it would be, and there's more to learn than I thought!

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