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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    michigan
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    Default temperature and humidity data to help reduce stress, where to find guidelines?

    I'm starting two hives this spring in the banana belt of Michigan (the southernmost edge, right along indiana).

    Obviously, I'm interested in staying treatment free.
    .
    I've read the usual books and thousands of posts in various forums. Typical newbie...

    I'll be doing one Langstroth using all 8-frame mediums and letting the bees build all their own wax in the hopes of reducing mite problems, etc with smaller bees. The second hive will be a 4' Kenyan top bar using one inch thick plywood to give them a bit more insulation and temperature stability.

    I have two bee packages on order from Wolf Creek, so hybrid/mutt/small cell bees.

    Now that you have the general picture, here are the questions.

    1. One hears various things about moisture control vs ventilation vs condensation, the importance of temperature in the brood nest and/or the hive in spring/summer/fall/winter. Use insulation or don't insulate. I haven't run across much data about what hive temperatures should be. Same thing for humidity levels. So, I'm handy with collecting data and measuring things, but would like some basic grounding in what, if anything, I should be shooting for in terms of temps and humidity in the 4 seasons in my area. If I can reduce the stress on the bees in this way, they will have a little more energy to fight other problems. I recognize that there will be varying opinions, and perhaps no authoritative single source, but I really haven't seen anything convincing. Maybe I'm not looking in the right place.

    2. I am in the middle of corn and soybean country. How much do I have to worry about pesticides and herbicides and fungicides and neonicotinoids, etc, killing my bees despite my best efforts? Any way to reduce the risks?

    Thanks in advance,

    troy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,956

    Default Re: temperature and humidity data to help reduce stress, where to find guidelines?

    Welcome to Beesource!

    Here's info on hive temperature:
    http://files.uniteddiversity.com/Bee...emperature.pdf
    Look for the page numbered 186 for a summary table. The entire document is only 8 pages or so.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
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    Jan 2013
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    michigan
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    Default Re: temperature and humidity data to help reduce stress, where to find guidelines?

    Excellent, good start.

    troy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: temperature and humidity data to help reduce stress, where to find guidelines?

    I'll give you this much: #1 is a waste of time. #2 you can't do much about. You'll have your hands full with real beekeeping without worrying about things you can't control, so don't.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    2,927

    Default Re: temperature and humidity data to help reduce stress, where to find guidelines?

    1. As I understand it the bees manage both already.
    2. as often as the neighbors use them. and it is unlikely you can change their minds.

    Can you reduce the effort needed on the bees part to manage temperature and humidity of the interior of the hive. I think you can. I also think it would be an advantage in certain specific situations. But not for general beekeeping.

    Everyone does what they do for their reasons though. So if fiddling with the humidity of a hive is what makes your clock tick. so be it. For some reason I have the numbers 90 degrees and 50% humidity rolling around in my head. Someone the other day said 80 to 90% humidity will prevent mites from reproducing.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    michigan
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    Default Re: temperature and humidity data to help reduce stress, where to find guidelines?

    I appreciate the input Sol, well really, all the input.

    If temperature and humidity control is a waste of time, why do many northern beeks wrap their hives every winter??

    Finest regards,

    troy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
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    Default Re: temperature and humidity data to help reduce stress, where to find guidelines?

    They think it helps. Lots of beekeepers don't wrap and also do fine. Some even put their hives in warehouses to keep them the right temperature. Some preach that cold cannot kill bees and yet wrap their hives. Some say cold does kill but don't wrap. Some say lots of contradictory things and some don't say much at all.

    You can't [realistically] control humidity in hives. Bees do that. What you can do is provide adequate and appropriate ventilation.

    You also can't [realistically] control temperature. Bees do that too. Additionally, bees do these things largely within the cluster, not in the hive as a whole.

    You can provide a hive in a form that does not cause condensation to drip on the cluster (by insulated lids or proper ventilation or both).

    And it's not only northern beekeepers who wrap. Beekeepers all over do it. Much of the time it is in a little thought through attempt to 'help the bees.' My temperatures drop below zero, I have upper and lower entrances most of the time, and I don't wrap. The bees are fine once given a few years to be weaned off all the 'helps.' They can be tougher than a lot of people might imagine.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #8
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    Jan 2013
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    michigan
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    Default Re: temperature and humidity data to help reduce stress, where to find guidelines?

    Solomon, I agree there are a lot of things done in bee keeping with no real evidence for doing it or not doing it.

    For my day job, I'm an eye doctor. But my "hobby" for the last 20 years is alternative energy and superinsulated buildings. I have a better than average understanding of dew points, heat loss calculations, what insulation actually does, the advantages and disadvantages of thermal mass in a heated structure, water vapor control and migration, vapor barriers, etc etc.

    I was hoping to take some of the mystery out of hive ventilation, moisture control and thermal stability in climates like mine. I expect it will take at least 4 years, and up to 8 or 10 years, before I have enough data from enough kinds of hives to make meaningful noises about it in public.

    That's the plan anyway.

    Finest regards,

    troy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: temperature and humidity data to help reduce stress, where to find guidelines?

    Interesting Troy, I have the same hobby. Perhaps that's why I have so many seemingly counter-intuitive ideas about hive ventilation and heating. I certainly do get enough flack for saying the things I said above, but fortunately this forum is less trafficked so it's not as bad. Something I'm thinking about right now is how to effectively insulate a shipping container to make a conditioned honey house out of it. Perhaps you have some ideas about that.

    In my view, a lot of the discussion stems from the anthropomorphization of the bees. The queen is not the head of government, drones are not only useful for one thing, a hive is not a house, and insects are not pets, farm animals, or children. Once you can disabuse yourself of these ideas (and others) you can really understand bees in a way that allows you to work with them to the ultimate mutual benefit of all parties involved.

    The way I set up my hives is with an opening at the bottom and an opening at the top. Too much moisture is most assuredly worse than too little. Sometimes people come up with fun little gadgets like solar powered fans which suck air out of hives and maybe even cause the bees to make more honey. But they are not necessary. Similarly, people have come up with ways to heat hives in the winter. Again, not necessary and in my view, detrimental to the ultimate adaption for survivability of the bees. These are fun things to play with, but in treatment-free beekeeping, the goal is bees who don't need help to do what they should be able to do on their own and that is survive.

    There are some easy keys to understand if you have provided too much or too little ventilation. Too much (as seen with screened bottom boards) and you will see the bees abandoning sections of comb where the air blows in and chills the brood. Too little and bearding occurs along with other problems like swarming. Of course bearding is unavoidable at certain times in the year, but you'll figure it out. One thing I would like to see is no more mentions of "breaking the seal of the hive in winter and killing the colony." That doesn't make any sense to someone who keeps hives wide open top and bottom all winter.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: temperature and humidity data to help reduce stress, where to find guidelines?

    I always figured wrapping was just a way of ensuring the hives stay sealed and water cannot get in, nothing to do with really adding insulation etc...

  11. #11
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    Jan 2013
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    michigan
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    Default Re: temperature and humidity data to help reduce stress, where to find guidelines?

    I would be happy to chat about your conex shipping container insulation ideas at your convenience. I'll send you a pm.

    troy

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,644

    Default Re: temperature and humidity data to help reduce stress, where to find guidelines?

    Keep it out here to see....

    Spray foam would be a great way to insulate one. They sell a 600 BF kit for about 650 that works great. My problem is that everyone I talked to said you need to cool it,,,, heat noit a problem... and a dehundifier..... and decent airflow....

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: temperature and humidity data to help reduce stress, where to find guidelines?

    With the goal of keeping it on topic here in TFB, I have started a new thread in Coffee Klatch. http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ping-Container
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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