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......"