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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Exton PA
    Posts
    17

    Default Hive ventilation going into winter

    Hi, I am new to the forum. I have two backyard hives and I live in SE PA where the weather is fairly humid. This is my first year with hives. The hives are 8 frame standard issue, with screened bottom boards, notched inner cover and telescoping cover. Each hive is one deep plus one medium super---they started as four frames and have built up both boxes. Now that the weather is cooling down, I have noticed that water condensation is forming at the top of each telescoping cover and mold is growing. The water drips too off the top cover onto the inner cover. As you would expect, the moisture is worst in the morning after a cool night. Clearly the ventilation is inadequate, and this concerns me as I would expect next year for the hives to grow, creating even more condensation. So my questions are thus... am I correct in assuming that the ventilation is inadequate for the area in which I live? Should I remove the mite board that is under the screen, since that also blocks air moving upward? Would that not make the hive cooler in the summer too and reduce bearding? Should I cut another notch on the inner cover (opposite end)? I have to assume other people have this problem which makes we realize that hive designs are not one size fits all.

    One other question--both hives are close to being fully drawn and I wonder if I should add another medium? It's rather late in the season so I am not sure this would be a good idea.

    Thanks for any advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    Water dripping on bees is bad, but at the same time so is too much airflow through the hive, especially in cool weather. After seeing lots of moisture and mold last winter I decided to build moisture quilts:
    http://www.honeybeesuite.com/how-to-...ngstroth-hive/

    My design is a bit different, using 1/8" hardware cloth instead of fabric, 1x4s for the frame, and including a 1x6 across the center with a round hole cut for inverted-jar hive-top feeding. It is essentially a four-in-one spacer rim for patties/candy (1" space between top bars and screen), ventilated inner cover (with feeder hole plugged), hive-top feeder (with half-gallon jars and an empty super on top below the telescoping cover), and moisture quilt (feeder hole plugged, filled with cedar chips). If it works as planned this winter I'll share the design in more detail.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seneca, sc
    Posts
    830

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    Wet bees will die quick in cold weather, but dry bees with enough feed will live in very cold weather, well below zero. Put a piece of 1" styrofoam between your telescoping cover and your inner cover it will stop the condensation. Turn the notch on your inner cover down toward the brood chamber, this will let the condensation out. Just my two cents and what I do.

    David

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Exton PA
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    Mark, thanks, this is an interesting idea. If you are happy with it I would be thankful for pictures at some point.

    David, I have some styrofoam left over from a purchase, I will try that.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Asheville, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    552

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    I would add that I wouldn't put another box on them this time of year.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Exton PA
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    Quote Originally Posted by jadell View Post
    I would add that I wouldn't put another box on them this time of year.
    Thank you you for the advice.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,494

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    Andrew, your hive should be tipped forward so the condensation runs to the front wall, down and out the hive. I do not like the blanket or wick idea because it doesn't get the moisture out of the hive it traps it until it can't trap it anymore. I know, some people swear by it but most people don't use this method. If you insulate the top cover you will get much less condensation.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,985

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    I have several things in mind for this winter.

    1. candy boards if I find I need them. they also serve to absorb excess moisture.

    2. possibly a quilt board fo some sort but I am a bit in agreement with Ace. Moisture causes more problems than just getting bees wet and killing them. Most likely best to get it out of the hive. Btu I do have some reservations as to how completely this is accomplished. I have also seen information that says the bees use some of that moisture through the winter as well.

    3. simply placing a small wedge under the inner cover to allow ventilation. At least something along that line.

    I live in an extremely dry climate so I am expecting moisture in the hive to be relatively easy to manage.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    I have about 70 colonies that I winter in michigan. Each has one of these allseason inner covers year round. In fall I buy bails of straw and stuff about a 3" think square or book in each. It vents, absorbs and insulates.

    http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/stor...ame-p-266.html

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,494

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    deleted. Post was not related to the link.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Paw Paw, SW Lower Michigan
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    Quote Originally Posted by danno View Post
    I have about 70 colonies that I winter in michigan. Each has one of these allseason inner covers year round. In fall I buy bails of straw and stuff about a 3" think square or book in each. It vents, absorbs and insulates.

    http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/stor...ame-p-266.html
    I like this top, however with all those vent holes wouldn't robbing be an issue with the insulation out? With the insulation in do you tape closed the center hole over the frames to prevent the bees from chewing on the insulation?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    Quote Originally Posted by NonTypicalCPA View Post
    I like this top, however with all those vent holes wouldn't robbing be an issue with the insulation out? With the insulation in do you tape closed the center hole over the frames to prevent the bees from chewing on the insulation?
    all the vent holes are screened with #8 wire so no on the robbing. I also use the covers for storing mouse guards and robber screens for each colony.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    666

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    From my expereince, robbing is not a problem.

    I place an inner cover on top of my brood supers and then place a vent box similar to above product on next. I then place extracted frames in a super above the vent box. Hive is in a shed, so use a well vented(3 1/2 inch screened center opening and 2 x 1 3/8 screened holes) inner cover only on top of extracted frame super. My thinking is to keep the super of extracted frames cool, so bees move honey down in the day but will not set up home in them.

    In summer, only have the same well vented inner cover as my hive top.

    No robbing issues in strong hives.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Exton PA
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Andrew, your hive should be tipped forward so the condensation runs to the front wall, down and out the hive.
    When I set up the hive I did do that, but I have not checked since to see if the hive has settled. I will put a level on the cover tonight. Thanks for the reminder.

    Thanks also to all the responses and good advice and options to consider.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewJ View Post
    David, I have some styrofoam left over from a purchase, I will try that.
    Make sure you screen off the hole in the center of your inner cover, so the bees can't get to the styrofoam...

    Good luck!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    styrofoam wont breath. This is why I use straw. As for tipping the hive forward. Mine are on 4 way pallets so this is impossible but with a vented cover and straw it isn't nessessary. I dont get moisture build up. Snow doesn't even melt off the covers. This system along with a couple of other things I do has kept my winter deadout well below 10% beating the state average by over 15%

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    459

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    Quote Originally Posted by wanderyr View Post
    Make sure you screen off the hole in the center of your inner cover, so the bees can't get to the styrofoam...

    Good luck!
    Will the bees chew the styrofoam?
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    Quote Originally Posted by zhiv9 View Post
    Will the bees chew the styrofoam?
    yes they will I have used fiberglass insulation and they chew it also

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    595

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    Quote Originally Posted by danno View Post
    yes they will I have used fiberglass insulation and they chew it also
    Someone had said that the bees will chew the white styrofoam insulation, but not the pink or blue. Is this true?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Hive ventilation going into winter

    The love chewing the blue 2" thick stuff.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

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