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,