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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
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    476

    Default Covers and condensation. Is this right?

    I will be adding granulated sugar onto of the frames of one of my hives this Fall and Winter. On top of that, a 5 inch tall "spacer" box to house the pounds of sugar. On top of that, a solid wood notched inner cover for ventilation and for a top entrance. I will be taking a beekeepers advice and cover the hole in the center of the inner cover so the bees can't crawl through and eat my styrofoam insulation. On the very top, my telescoping outer cover with a sheet of 1/2 inch pink foam insulation press into the under side.

    Now on to the question. Will covering the hole in the center of the inner cover with a piece of thin plastic(milk gallon) prevent the pink insulation from doing it's job? Which is, I think, to hold condensation. Or will I be okay since I will have the notched inner cover for ventilation and the real reason for the styrofoam in the outer cover is to insulate and not hold moisture? Thanks, I am rambling now. juzzerbee

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,576

    Default Re: Covers and condensation. Is this right?

    the pink foam doesn't absorb moisture, so no, covering the hole won't matter.

    the foam will keep the 'ceiling' in the hive from getting cold enough to get condensation on it, which is good because you don't want that condensation there dripping on the bees and killing them. excess moisture will exit your notch.

    i was told to put duct tape on the foam, so that the bees wouldn't chew the foam through the hole in the inner cover. i didn't get around to it, and i never saw any pink crumbs being removed from the hive. it turned out that my bees didn't chew the foam, but it sure wouldn't hurt to cover the foam in that one spot.

    you are doing pretty much what i do, except i put notches in the front and back of the inner cover, and screen them to keep moths and beetles out. the bees use propilis to close and open the screens as they see fit.

    ps: i decided to fit the foam inside the frame on the top of the inner cover instead, and the top cover rests on the foam.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Babylon ny
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Covers and condensation. Is this right?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    the pink foam doesn't absorb moisture, so no, covering the hole won't matter.

    the foam will keep the 'ceiling' in the hive from getting cold enough to get condensation on it,
    ps: i decided to fit the foam inside the frame on the top of the inner cover instead, and the top cover rests on the foam.
    I'd disagree. That depends on climate. In AL half inch in the cover may be enough. In WI, definitely not. Experience from a climate colder than AL but slightly warmer than WI - 2 to 3 inches more are needed. Better safe than sorry for WI I'd add a purpose made section with more foam. I have seen one of major makers produce such section but have forgotten who. Worth the effort and cost in cold climate. Enough insulation on top will prevent the condensation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,576

    Default Re: Covers and condensation. Is this right?

    excellent point.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Dorset, Vermont
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Covers and condensation. Is this right?

    Here in Vermont I use a notched standard inner cover for top entry/exit and ventilation. To prevent overheating in summer and condensation in the winter I fit a piece of stryrofoam insulation inside the entire telescoping cover. I glue a piece of coroplast (political sign material) on the side of the styrofoam that faces the bees to prevent chewing. My bees DO chew styrofoam anywhere they find it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
    Posts
    476

    Default Re: Covers and condensation. Is this right?

    Thanks and great points everyone. Now I am thinking maybe I should put 2 layers of half inch foam between the inner and telescoping(I already purchased a sheet of half inch). I am concerned though that my telescoping will "ride" too high off of the hive with a full inch of insulation. I will see and decide when I start cutting and placing the foam to know for sure though.

    Squarepeg- If you screen the holes in the inner, how do your bees use it as an entrance then? Also, what is the reasoning that you place the foam on the inner and not in the telescoping? Better insulating? Also, do you find having 2 holes in the inner is better? Why?

    When do those of you in similar climates to me (Wisconsin) place the insulation and tar paper on your hives? I have heard November is the time to do it. Thanks, juzzerbee

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,576

    Default Re: Covers and condensation. Is this right?

    >Squarepeg- If you screen the holes in the inner, how do your bees use it as an entrance then? Also, what is the reasoning that you place the foam on the inner and not in the telescoping? Better insulating? Also, do you find having 2 holes in the inner is better? Why?

    good questions. i'm not worried about upper entrances in alabama, because it's doubtful that my hives will get buried in snow. on the other hand, we have lots of days in the summer with heat indices above 100. the two notches, along with a wide open, but partially screened bottom entrance, reduces bearding for me.

    yes, better insulating. could you not use some of your 5 inch rim for insulation?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,205

    Default Re: Covers and condensation. Is this right?

    Juzzer, I have the foam insulation on the tops already - I use 2 inch. I'll put some tar paper on around thanksgiving. I would not worry about the telescopic cover riding high. They will seal the inner cover to the hive body, and that will be enough. However, if I open the hive late in the season and am not sure they will get to seal the cracks again I wrap a layer of plastic food wrap around the gap - ensuring I don't block the upper entrance. This is enough to keep out the draughts.
    On those cold January days I will peep at the upper entrance and see a ring of frost around the edges of it. This is reassurance that they are breathing. I then press my ear against the hive body and hear the confirmatory low hum of bees being bees. Then, as I have mentioned last year, I burst into my rendition of "AH AH AH AH stayin alive! stayin alive! AH AH AH AH stayin alive! stayin alive! Finally I crunch through the snow back down to the house and get out of my covered overalls, Sorel boots, and Russian army hat. Do not worry too much they are tenacious and want to live.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
    Posts
    476

    Default Re: Covers and condensation. Is this right?

    Cool, thanks everyone. That helps give me more confidence in setting my girls up for the Winter.
    I find myself doing things at my hive like singing as well when I realize things are going very well. AH AH AH AH stayin'! juzzerbee

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