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  1. #1
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    Default Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    Okay, several different things going on at once with this post, but it all really boils down to "should I drill a hole in this board?".

    Brief background, my hive has a plastic inner cover that has the raised line running across the top hole that keeps my plastic outer cover permanently ever so slightly askew to provide ventilation.

    Now, I'm building a candy board for this hive for overwintering, and all the candy board tutorial I've found talk about drilling a bee escape/ventilation hole into the top of the board to give some air flow.

    My question(s) is(are):

    1) Should I switch to a wooden inner cover without the ridge so that the outer cover sits flush, and drill the hole into the candy board frame
    2) Keep the plastic ridged inner cover and the crack it makes in the outer cover seal, and not drill the hole because they already have ventilation
    3) Keep the plastic inner cover and drill the hole as well?

    I am worried that if we have a mild winter like we did last year, the bees may stay partially active and go through their stores too quickly, hence having the candy board there as emergency backup. Just never done this part before, so I'm not entirely sure as to how all the variables work out.
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

  2. #2
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    Oct 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    Would think some minimal ventilation is required to remove excess moisture. I'd have some concern about the plastic inner cover as it can absorb no moisture as does wood and will easily drip. Candy boards are good insurance. Leave sufficient honey and fall feed 2:1 sugar syrup, so the bees fill any empty cells and candy board is only insurance.

    My suggestion is build a wood inner cover with a lip of the top side and under side. Cut at least a 2 inch round hole in the center, no screen over hole. Make the under side rim at least 3/4"(or whatever depth you want for candy) and use it as a candy board. Use a tin can(cut 3/4 deep) or something round to let candy set and remove.

    Make the top rim 3/8" and cut a 1.5 inch wide notch in top lip at front.

    Air will enter through bottom entrance, vent hive and exhaust through 2" hole in center and over the top side of inner cover and out the 1.5 inch opening. This will exhaust the moisture that will condense on the under side of the plastic inner cover.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    I have a wooden inner cover already that I could switch to. I can also easily put some foam lining in there if needed.
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    I'd use the wood inner cover for sure. Any drippping from under side of plastic cover will drip on to the wood and get absorbed, rather than drip on the bees.

    I'd also provide some limited ventilation via opening in bottom entrance and notch in inner cover. I'd be closing off screened bottoms in winter. The opening(s) via the bottom entrance reducer controls the amount of air entering and the ventilaion. Myself, I provide a 1/2 by 3/8 high opening on either end of the entrance reducer. Air enters on the sides and does not enter mid way and on the cluster. Simply nail a 3/8 strip that is 1 inch shorter on top, allowing 1/2 on either end, of a full width 3/8 piece of plywood.

    Some insulation via a piece of foam on the under side of the outer cover will help prevent condensation on the under side. Bees will chew on the foam so need to cover it with wood or keep bees away from it.

    Some condensation on side walls is probably a good thing as it provides a water source. However, too much makes interior too moist and an dripping on bees is deadly cold.

    Some ideas but a caveat as my winter is a lot harsher than yours. Best to check out experienced local bee keepers to see what they are doing.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  5. #5
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    The concept of a candy board is to have the cluster, when it reaches the top, in contact with food. You need to remove the inner cover completely so this can happen. As far as a top entrance/vent, yes, I would put that in the candy board. The candy board should have sufficient wires or nails to keep the candy in the lid.

    Personally, I think this is all too much work. Just put newspaper on the top bars, an empty box on that and pour sugar on the paper and save making a special cover and making candy.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#drysugar
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The concept of a candy board is to have the cluster, when it reaches the top, in contact with food. You need to remove the inner cover completely so this can happen. As far as a top entrance/vent, yes, I would put that in the candy board. The candy board should have sufficient wires or nails to keep the candy in the lid.


    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#drysugar
    The inner cover is above the candy board. The wood inner cover will also catch and absorb any excess dripping from plastic under side of his inner cover.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The concept of a candy board is to have the cluster, when it reaches the top, in contact with food. You need to remove the inner cover completely so this can happen.
    I assumed the inner cover went on over the candy board.
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

  8. #8
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    Oct 2011
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    Default Re: Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    What does your candy board look like??? Candy needs to be on under side and exposed to the bees. Candy is held in place via wire mesh or somewhat of a nail bed, so candy doesn't fall on the bees.

    Attached is a link to a combination candy board/ inner cover.

    http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&...50952593,d.cGE

    There is also candy boards that are a box with wire mesh to hold the candy. See following link. For this type, I'd recommend a wood inner cover.

    http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&...50952593,d.cGE
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  9. #9
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    Aug 2013
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    McDowell, NC
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    Default Re: Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post

    Personally, I think this is all too much work. Just put newspaper on the top bars, an empty box on that and pour sugar on the paper and save making a special cover and making candy.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#drysugar

    Do you mean to just put newspaper above the frames, and pour a bag of sugar onto the newspaper? No mixing??? If it works, I'd like to do that. How often would I have to open the hive and refill the sugar?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    I suppose there are different designs. Most of the ones I've seen around here were like a overly deep telescopic cover or a section of an old hive a few inches deep with a piece of plywood for the cover. Then some wire or nails or something (sometimes 1/2" hardware cloth or a section of hog wire) was used to support the sugar so it doesn't fall. Then the candy is poured into it while it is upside down and then it is flipped over and put on the hive. I suppose one could make it in a cross section of a hive (cut up the old hive bodies with the frame rests rotted out) with no cover if you have some kind of waxed paper or greased wood under it so you could remove it from what is under it, after the candy hardens Then you could put a telescopic cover on that. I see no reason to use an inner cover with it. either way. Either way, in my opinion, you want the candy exposed to the bees so they don't have to leave the cluster. So IF you wanted to use an inner cover, it would need to go on top of the candy to be most effective.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgolden View Post
    What does your candy board look like???
    I built my own. Let me grab a picture off the blog...



    Cover the mesh in thin wax paper, fill with the sugar candy mix, let dry, good to go? (in addition to drilling a hole in it)
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    Should work. Front hole will provide exhaust port for ventilation. Link shows using 3/8 strips so wire mesh doesn't sag to top of frames.

    If you have any concerns at all about condensation on under side of inner cover and dripping on bees, then install an inner cover. Can be as simple as a 3/8 piece of plywood with the dimension of a super. Cut a 2 inch hole in the center and add a 3/8 rim on top with a 1 1/2 opening in front rim. Push telescopic cover as far forward as it will go, so air can get out 1 1/2 opening.

    Another option is cut a 5/8 hole on front side of candy board. Put a 3/8 piece of plywood with no hole, on top of candy board. Insert a piece of styrofoam insulation with outside dimensions of super and then cover with telescopic cover.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    My current plan is candyboard with vent hole, wooden cover with standard mid-board opening, layer of half inch headliner foam, outer cover.

    I'd think that between the foam, the raw wooden inner cover, and the dry sugar candy board (what I found for making the candy was basically just dry sugar mixed with only enough water to make it clump, press into the board, let dry) that moisture shouldn't be a problem.
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Overwintering, Candy Boards, Ridged Covers, and Ventilation?

    >Cover the mesh in thin wax paper, fill with the sugar candy mix, let dry, good to go?

    It looks sound enough. I'd just put dry sugar on it, spray a little water on it to clump it, and put some more dry sugar on it... I don't see any difference in the outcomes except the amount of work to make the candy. But that system should work fine if the candy doesn't go through the paper and I don't think it will. You might want something solid under the candy board when you pour it just in case.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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