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  1. #1
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    Sep 2012
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    Montgomery county PA
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    14

    Default Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?
    I was thinking that rock salt placed in a frame or top feeder could be a good way to remove humidification in a bee hive during the winter months. Has anyone ever heard of this?
    Drone1

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greene, Missouri, USA
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    405

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    Hmmmm. No, but sounds interesting.
    No one famous.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Montgomery county PA
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    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    Is this Scott?

  4. #4
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    Feb 2012
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    Hartford, CT
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    600

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    Bees need salt but not rock salt. You could use a salt lick.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Mena,Arkansas,USA
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    22

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    Ask saltybee. He should know.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    491

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drone1 View Post
    Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?
    I was thinking that rock salt placed in a frame or top feeder could be a good way to remove humidification in a bee hive during the winter months. Has anyone ever heard of this?
    Drone1
    Seriously bad idea. You will kill the bees. The rock salt will absorb moisture from the wide, wide world. The salt will melt and drip into the hive. NaCl is toxic to bees in low concentrations. (viz: German research quoted in the essential free pdf, Fat bee, skinny bee). Don't try it.

    The key to moisture management is to allow vapor to escape without losing heat. The medieval beekeepers solved this centuries ago -- insulate with straw at the top of the hive, the moisture makes it way through the "natural fiberglass fill" and the heat is retained. Same reason roofs have ventilation above open fiberglass batts.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Montgomery county PA
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    14

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drone1 View Post
    Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?
    I was thinking that rock salt placed in a frame or top feeder could be a good way to remove humidification in a bee hive during the winter months. Has anyone ever heard of this?
    Drone1
    The rock salt wouldnt be used for the bees to feed on , it would de used to prevent precipitation in the hive during the winter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Montgomery county PA
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    14

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    oh wow..I didnt know it was toxic. I was thinking of putting the salt in a feeder so that the saturated salt would not drip on the brood

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Montgomery county PA
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    14

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    like a division board feeder

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,972

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    Bees like salt.
    Old time swarm hunters used to bait bees with corn cobs which had been soaked in brine and then dried out.

    I've never heard of placing it in a hive, though.

    Adam

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    1,114

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    My state apiarist said in mississippi they use to throw handfuls of animal salt on solid bottom boards of hives to control SHB. Apparantly it dessicates and cuts the larva. He said he noticed little or no ill-effects to the bees and dramatic decline in SHB populations. A very cheap and quick control method in big operations. I've personal never tried it or know if this method is effective.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Rupert, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    I agree with chestnut! Bad idea. At best, I am afraid it will be a mess, at worst, a real disaster for the bees. Don't know where you could put it in the hive that bees wouldn't come into contact with it under winter conditions. Salt can "migrate" a considerable distance with a little water. Provide a hole for ventilation near the top, and skip the salt, or any other desiccant for that matter.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    491

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drone1 View Post
    oh wow..I didnt know it was toxic. I was thinking of putting the salt in a feeder so that the saturated salt would not drip on the brood
    Hives are not closed systems like pill bottles with dessicants. The water potential of the salt will absorb water from the entire sky above Montgomery County, until it reaches saturation equilibrium for the hive temperature. You are drawing massive amounts of water into the hive-- limited only by the quantity of salt you used and your colony temperature.

    However since hives are semi-closed systems the salt slurry will move to semi-equilibrium with the brood cluster. In other words, you will be making the brood wetter by importing outside water via the salt vapor potential and sharing it with the brood.

    I repeat -- the key to hive management is to *remove* the vapor, not import it into the hive. Dry winter air will absorb all the moisture you want to remove, if you give it a route out of your semi-closed box, and you aid the bees by not losing heat in the process.

    The classic problem with "internet Help lines" is confirmation bias. You want your idea to be true, and you are shopping for agreement. Vapor physics don't seem to make a wit of difference in these situations.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lower Lake, California, USA
    Posts
    162

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    When I was a kid a lot of farmers used rock salt but they didn't use it to remove moisture. It was to keep the kids from pilfering the watermelons!!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,438

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    Ever see what happens to salt when it absorbs moisture? It will turn messy.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,275

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    Use granulated sugar instead of the salt. Works great for absorbing moisture in the hive. I've done it several times over winter and never had problems with it, other than the sugar gets rock hard by spring, in my area.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    Try using one of these:
    http://www.drizair.com/products.html

    I lost a hive to severe moisture problems last year , and it was well ventilated , I have built a 4 inch spacer to go above the top brood box , with an insulated cover.

    I will place this unit in the spacer box and fill around it with straw or some sort of natural insulation to reduce the open air space.

    The bees can't access the salt , you have to refill with salt every so often and dump out the water.

    I have VERY wet winters here and have tried everything else , I will post on my results over the winter.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Montgomery county PA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Has anyone ever heard of using Rock salt in a bee hive?

    Thanks everyone for the advice..I think I will stay away from the rock salt. I have been making a sugar candy board with a wintering inner cover with good success over winter. I didn't lose any hives due to condensation. But it is a lot of work. I had 7 hives last winter. This year I have 17 going into winter and 4 nucs. I might try the dry sugar on news paper,,just to save time and money.

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