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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Sad Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    What a mess.

    I was overdue in an inspection to see if there was evidence of a new queen (I lost mine a few weeks ago). Yesterday, we had record high heat of 109F. Today, it will be 104F.

    I inspected the hive this morning when it was 86F. Two bars of honeycomb were in a heap on the hive floor. I scooped it out as best as I could. I took some home, and left more then half in a bowl next to the hive.

    Scooping out handfuls of comb was interesting. My gloved hands were covered with bees who were none too happy about getting robbed. I could feel their vibrations through the leather.

    I was unable to complete the inspection (I didn't want to stress them out too much) so I put the hive back together and left. I still don't know if the hive is queenright.


    My questions:

    1) Was leaving honeycomb in a bowl the right thing to do (so they can reclaim the honey) or will it invite robbers?

    2) My hive is in full sun. I was following advice that full sun deters mites. I was not counting on Central Texas burning off the face of the earth. The roof is wood and it has aluminum roofing material on top of it. What other material should I add, either to the top or bottom of the roof to cool it down?

    3) Will I ever find evidence of my queen? Will I ever learn to light my smoker? ---Okay, you don't have to answer #3.

    I have the roof propped up on one side and there is water under the hive. Some things I have learned. I should never perform an inspection in extreme heat (I'm glad I didn't attempt that yesterday), and it's probably a good idea to always check the hive after a day of extreme heat.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    429

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    1.Leaving the honeycomb in a bowl near the hive was a mistake but you already know that.

    2.I use some scrap insulation board on top of mine.At the very least a plywood shade board would help.I am not totally convinced that full sun means full Texas or Florida sun.

    3.Yes,you will eventually find your queen or evidence of her presence and no,you will never learn to keep your smoker lit.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cupertino, CA, USA
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Cram it full of pine needles and shove a barbeque lighter into it. Use bellows until thick smoke rolls.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,324

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelShantz View Post
    Cram it full of pine needles and shove a barbeque lighter into it. Use bellows until thick smoke rolls.
    This is indeed what many people think would solve all problems with TBH but it is a very harsh measure your advocating! When making top bars, drilling three 3/8 holes thru them vertically and put dowells down short of the bottom or sides of your tbh. The bees will encorporate them in their comb and they will support them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    This is indeed what many people think would solve all problems with TBH but it is a very harsh measure your advocating!

    LOL, I'm not sure, but I think MichaelShantz was not suggesting that I fill the TBH will pine needles and take a torch to it, I'm pretty sure he was talking about the smokers.

    Unless it's I who is mistaken. Hmmm....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,490

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by KatGold View Post
    LOL, I'm not sure, but I think MichaelShantz was not suggesting that I fill the TBH will pine needles and take a torch to it, I'm pretty sure he was talking about the smokers.
    Unless it's I who is mistaken. Hmmm....
    Thanks, I needed a laugh today.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,949

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by gone2seed View Post
    2.I use some scrap insulation board on top of mine.At the very least a plywood shade board would help.I am not totally convinced that full sun means full Texas or Florida sun.
    I had collapse problems with a TBH here in MA - wasn't even 100. One of the reasons I quit them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Branson, MO
    Posts
    576

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    I use plywood top board with about 2 inch spacers to keep it off the top bars. Provides shade on the top bars and allows wind to pass to prevent mold.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    429

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by camero7 View Post
    I had collapse problems with a TBH here in MA - wasn't even 100. One of the reasons I quit them.
    I guess I need to clarify....mine are all Langs,but shade boards should help for either type.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by gone2seed View Post
    ... no,you will never learn to keep your smoker lit.
    Yeah, I was afraid of that.

    I'll go out in 20 minutes to retrieve the honeycomb I left behind. Thanks.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    You can leave them the honeycomb in a bowl, but leave it inside the hive, not outside.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by SantaFeBeek View Post
    You can leave them the honeycomb in a bowl, but leave it inside the hive, not outside.
    So, should I? Is it better for them to leave it inside rather than take it away?

    I was afraid they'd build all over and around the bowl.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Put it at the back of the hive and let them clean it up for a day or two or three, then pull it out when it's empty. They may try to build around it, but not much will happen over the course of a few days. I do it all the time with burr comb or pieces of double comb on one bar, etc. You don't have to leave it in a bowl, either, just prop it up against the back so that they can get to both sides and they'll do the rest. They will clean up any spillage, as well.

    Whether you should depends on how much stores they have. If they have plenty, take it inside and enjoy it yourself. If they need it, give it to them.

    Good luck!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,235

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Interesting.... I don't do TBHs but I think that I can tell what the problem is. I have standard Langstroth hives and have observed many natural ( feral ) hives over the years. The ferals can produce huge vertical combs with no problem. We occasionally have temps up to 114F and have never seen one collapse.

    So why did yours fail... Perhaps your center to center spacing is too wide. If wider than nature intended then the comb becomes too fat and gets very heavy. Feral combs are rather precisely spaced ( but I don't know what that spacing is ) and are never excessively fat. In a Langstroth hive, the spacing is also rather precise and not too fat unless someone chooses to eliminate a frame.

    Maybe your top bars need to be shaved and pushed closer together ?

    Just me thinking out loud -- Fuzzy

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    I bought my bars through http://backyardhive.com/. I trust they've got it right....I hope.

    Where in the Silicon Valley do you live? I used to live in San Jose. Of course, there are many micro-climates out there, but I never saw it get that hot. Yikes!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Hey Kat,

    Looking at the hive design on that website, I would definitely put a couple of 2x4s or something between the top bars and the roof. It looks like that roof sits directly on the bars and would transfer heat to them pretty effectively. Make a little space between them for airflow during the warmer months and you probably won't have that problem in the future.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Yes, I just built a second roof to put on top of the other roof. The second roof has 2x4s nailed into some plywood that I painted white. So I'll have a cushion of air between the two roofs. What do you think of that?

    I could also wrap the white roof with foil, but I don't know how much more that would help.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    As long as you have some shade for the bottom one and ventilation between the two, you should be fine. Good luck!

  19. #19

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by KatGold View Post
    Yes, I just built a second roof to put on top of the other roof. The second roof has 2x4s nailed into some plywood that I painted white. So I'll have a cushion of air between the two roofs. What do you think of that?

    I could also wrap the white roof with foil, but I don't know how much more that would help.
    I'd recommend (and am planning on) building a short shading structure over my hives. Granted this won't work in a large outyard, or at least it would be inefficient in that situation, but so would TBH's. Just build something like a canopy and stretch shade cloth over it. The shade cloth should give you a pretty good temperature reduction. Just like standing under a shade tree. On that note, my hives currently sit in almost full shade all day. No comb collapse problems yet!

    Now for an engineering blurb, recall that heat transfer occurs in three ways: conduction, convection, and radiation. Radiation is traveling by waves, so how we get heat from the sun. Conduction is through a conductive body, like a steel rod. Even the most insulated materials are conductive. So simply laying a piece of insulation on top of your hive really may not do much good. It may actually make it harder for the bees to cool the hive. Your best bet in the summer heat is to block the radiation. If you had a laser thermometer, it would be interesting to take a temp reading on the face of your hive where the sun hits it, and then you could figure up the heat transfer coefficients to know how much of that is transferring into your hive. Blocking the radiation of the sun cuts your maximum temp down to only what the air temp is (109 deg. F). Beeswax melts at 144-147 F.

    I haven't tried it yet, but I am confident (possibly naive) that by hanging a shade cloth a few feet above my hives, I will have no comb collapse issues, at least none that are not provoked by something beyond heat, like shaking the hive. If all else fails I guess you'll just have to rig up some air conditioning for the hives.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,767

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Luckily I have a walnut tree that provides shade to my hives during the mid day sun. They seem to be doing alright in the 97 degree heat today. Sad news about the collapse.

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