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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    winston salem, nc usa
    Posts
    76

    Default Mildew Inside Hive

    Hi All
    It's about 54 degrees during the day here in NC. I have 3 hives and in the process of checking them today I noticed 3 things:

    1) The pollen paddies from Daddant in each of the hives had started to mildew. Have only been in the hives about a month
    2) The inside of the top covers were mildewing as well. I believe moisture was collecting inside each hive.
    3) A few hive beetles had started laying in the pollen paddies. Some larvae had hatched.

    I tossed out the pollen paddies and replaced them with new paddies. How do I correct the moisture problem and what are your thoughts on the hive beetle larvae in the paddies?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Mildew Inside Hive

    don't use the patties from Dadant. It is recommended to dry feed in your area...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Yukon, Oklahoma
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Mildew Inside Hive

    If you don't vent, then you might want to look at that. Just make sure the vent opening is small, so the bees don't have to worry about guarding the opening. We keep hive beetle traps in the hive until we no longer see any hive beetles.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    winston salem, nc usa
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Mildew Inside Hive

    RAK I finally had a fairly warm day where I could get inside the hives. I took your advice and removed the Pollen Paddies. I then put in a piece of parchment paper and added some powdered sugar. I figured the powdered sugar would help draw out the moisture.

    Thanks for the insight......

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,703

    Default Re: Mildew Inside Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by bluescorpion View Post
    I then put in a piece of parchment paper and added some powdered sugar. I figured the powdered sugar would help draw out the moisture.
    You are moving in the right direction, dry sugar will help absorb moisture. But, powdered sugar generally has cornstarch added to prevent clumping of the sugar. Cornstarch is not digestible by bees, so its not recommended to feed large amounts of powdered sugar. Ordinary granulated sugar is a better choice.

    I agree with the advice above to also provide some kind of top vent to allow moisture to escape. One option is simply a small shim under the lid.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    winston salem, nc usa
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Mildew Inside Hive

    D'OH!!! Thanks for the heads up Rader. I'll have to get out there tomorrow and replace the powdered sugar......

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,927

    Default Re: Mildew Inside Hive

    Although I'm farther north than you, I've come to the conclusion that moisture is the enemy, not the cold. I cover my hives with a cheap tarp with the south side open. I have the bottom entrance wide open and a small upper entrance. Last winter - not a true test because it was milder but also wetter - my hives were bone dry in March. In fact I was worried they were too dry. But the hives brooded up well and I had 100% survival in my production hives. This winter I'd also covering my nucs the same way. Time will tell if it will work, but we just had a wet snow followed by rain and the hives are dry. Hoping for good survival again this winter. No losses so far, but several weak hives - before wrapping.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,779

    Default Re: Mildew Inside Hive

    Yes, moisture is the problem. Unless the hive is a dead out, there will always be some moisture from the live bees and a little is not a bad thing at all. As mentioned, too much though is worse than too much cold. I rarely use patties because of the mildew / mold problem. Unless the bees are going to go to town with a pollen patty and consume it right away, I don't bother. And usually, the reason they don't eat it all up is either because it's the wrong time of the year or they have REAL pollen to collect and don't want my offering. When I do feed pollen (and it's not often) I feed it dry and away from the hive. Another thing to think about is the size of the colony / cluster. One colony might never produce enough moisture to cause a problem while one hive over you're in trouble. Lot's of factors in play here. Size of colony, amount of nectar / honey exposed to the air, location of cluster and of course, ventilation. Most of my colonies winter over with an open bottom board but have some amount of protection on the prevailing wind side. If I find a colony with mildewy and even wet sides and top, I'll add a Homasote board over the colony to wick moisture away and top with a shim before I put on the outer cover. The shim has screened holes drilled into the sides which help. Even then, the moisture often doesn't make it high enough before condensing on the sides. I'll take drippy sides before a drippy top though! Sometimes your best efforts don't always solve the problem depending on the colony and the weather but your best efforts rarely hurt. Again, eliminating all moisture is not a good thing. The bees need some water to work with and the natural workings of the hive help in that area.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belews Creek, NC, USA
    Posts
    338

    Default Re: Mildew Inside Hive

    Hey Blue...
    Are you using screened or solid bottom boards? Does your inner cover have a vent notch on it and if it does, is it open? Pollen patties?? My girls are bringing in pollen every time it gets around 55 degrees. Since you're about 20 miles from me you know this winter has been mild. I've seen blooming trees everywhere...Winston Salem has quite a few around 40 and downtown. I'm afraid we'll have to be on top of our game this spring as I think everything is going to start happening mighty early this year due to the weather.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    711

    Default Re: Mildew Inside Hive

    Cam is right. Moisture is a killer in winter. I use my own "goble style" covers with my own insulated outer covers. Just yesterday I peeked under the outer cover to see how much moisture. Not alot but enough. So I placed a 1/8" square by 8-10" long over the slot on the edge of the inner cover. Just proping th eouter cover a bit. More ventilation.
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

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