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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    66

    Default Hives Wet Inside

    Hi,
    I am a first year beekeeper. This is the first Winter I have had bees.
    I cracked the lids off my beehives today (Central California - 60 degrees) for about 15 seconds each. I didn't pull any frames, just took a very quick look to see if bees were there.
    One hive had a small cluster of bees on top of the frames.
    Two of the hives had significantly greater numbers of bees, but were profoundly wet inside. Droplets of water were all over.
    Is this a problem that I should address? If so, what steps should I take.
    Additionally, I lifted the hives a couple inches, and they seemed a tad light. Would feeding be in order?

    I appreciate any expert help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    fairfield,ohio
    Posts
    674

    Default Re: Hives Wet Inside

    Your hives need more ventilation. If these are langs, put a Popsicle stick under the outer cover to get some airflow.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: Hives Wet Inside

    Yep, ken is right on, you are having ventilation issues. The cluster is creating heat, which is making the water in the surrounding colder air condense. Prop the inner cover open and you should have less water stuck inside the hive. If the water droplets fall onto the cluster, they will die if they get wet enough and it gets colder outside. You will want to get the inner cover proped as soon as possible. I use 1/4 x 20 nuts to prop the rear of the inner covers.
    Allegany Mtn. Bee Farm
    Quality Queens and Honey from Western New York

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Hives Wet Inside

    Thanks.
    Heading outside now before it gets dark!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    546

    Default Re: Hives Wet Inside

    i drill a half inch hole in my top boxes this way it gets good ventilation and they can use it as a top entrance hole.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Neodesha, Ks
    Posts
    623

    Default Re: Hives Wet Inside

    If your hives are light, you might consider the Mountain Camp method of feeding Dry Sugar. It has worked great for me and helps them build up early. Keep us posted,

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland. U.S.A.
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Hives Wet Inside

    Tristan,
    Perhaps you would be up for a little experiment as you seem to be in possession of similar hives of same condition. You describe two hives with great #'s of B's both wet. I shall assume lang. I have seen above the call for ventilation, I contend that a better remedy exists

    -1st hive gets above ventilation remedy
    -2nd hive gets insulation remedy - Extra, empty, lang deep, wrapped w/ plastic wrap to get 6 sides, punch hole through top and fill w/ sawdust, ect.. Lay built up piece plastic wrap over frames top box to seal airtight, add insulation box, covers.
    I contend @ the end of 48 hours the insulated/airtight hive will be clearly shown to have the advantage.
    Cheers,
    Drew

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,337

    Default Re: Hives Wet Inside

    Quote Originally Posted by Maryland Beekeeper View Post
    I contend @ the end of 48 hours the insulated/airtight hive will be clearly shown to have the advantage.
    OK, I'll bite. What advantage will be seen in the sealed hive in 48 hours?
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: Hives Wet Inside

    Depending on your weather (and I don't remember where Stockton is), insulation may not do much for you. If you are in the fog belt, more ventilation will help.

    Insulation keeps the interior, particularly the top of the hive, warm. Since the box is warm, there will be no condensation. No extra airflow, but as I said, depends on your climate. If you get cold weather (below freezing for days at a time) the insulation is a great idea.

    The traditional insulation is a box with a screen bottom filled loosely with coarse wood shavings -- hand plane shavings in the old days, today you want to use planer shavings, not sawdust. Fluffy, absorbant, won't pack down is the idea here.

    One other note, my brother and I tossed out our plastic molded telescoping covers. Terrible condensation problems, I'd never use them without a "condenser" (box full of shavings). They are thermally transparent, and also convex, with the result that condensation forms and runs down to the edges and drips on the inner cover. Both of our hives had mold, my brother's was always soggy on top to the point the inner cover always had water on it. Once I made some wooden covers with metal on top, the water problem vanished. Better insulation, no condensation to speak of since the don't get that cold, and the wood absorbs quite a bit of water.

    I also cut a 3/8" by 1" or so upper entrance/vent hole in the side of the inner cover. No soggy hives this year.

    Peter

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland. U.S.A.
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Hives Wet Inside

    It will be dry.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    portland, dorset, UK
    Posts
    135

    Default Re: Hives Wet Inside

    It will be dry.
    arguably the condensation will be on the uninsulated side walls instead of being directly overhead. I'm not being pedantic, we are talking about two slightly different things.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Default Re: Hives Wet Inside

    Certainly moisture from respiration and heat create unwanted condensation that often kill a hives during cold spells. Ventilation by having an upper entrance is usually the solution. We have also found low lying areas with cold air drains and less air cirulation often add to the issue so we choose yard locations with that in mind. We don't like windy hilltops either as cold wind is a hive killer as well and will result in drifting during bee season. Higher elevations with wind breaks and upper ventilation works best for us.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Hives Wet Inside

    Stockton is pretty foggy. Nightime can drop below freezing, but days are nearly always up to the mid to high 40s-50s.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,665

    Default Re: Hives Wet Inside

    Adding that necessary ventillation should cure your beehive blues.

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