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Thread: Quilt Box?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Durango, Colorado
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    Default Quilt Box?

    So in my quest to provide the best winter experience possible for my bees here in SW CO, I ran into the idea of a quilt box. Has anyone tried them? Good, bad, indifferent? They are used to suck up moisture in the hives during the winter.

    I have moisture boards - good or bad idea?

    Talk to me, peeps!

    On the winter thread, we get a lot of snow at times and very cold weather. Winters here last from October (we had a snow storm yesterday!) to mid-April.

    My plan for addressing moisture/ cold:
    * Moisture board above inner cover
    * Quilt box?
    * No opening the deeps until Spring - keep propolis in order.
    * Tar paper around hives
    * Two entrances - upper and lower
    * Custom bottom boards to close up the SBB
    * Wall of straw on pallets a couple feet from the hives on wind exposure sides
    * pray and hope they make it

    Anything else?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by SunnyR2000; 10-11-2013 at 02:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Evansville, IN
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    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    I have not tried them since we have fairly mild winters here (my bees were bringing in dandelion pollen on Christmas Day last year), but a quilt box is a perfectly good idea for very cold areas.

    Staple some screen to the bottom of a shallow super and fill it to the top with chopped leaves, fine bark mulch, planer shavings (not sawdust unless you can get sawmill, very coarse stuff) or any other similar porous organic material. No notch in the box, no hole in the next hive body, etc. Put the super on top of the hive with a telescoping cover on top.

    This gives great moisture absorption, no condensation, nice conditions inside the hive, and no howling wind inside on bitter cold nights. Heat rising from the cluster will slowly dry any accumulated moisture out of the "packing" and slow air movement will keep the bottom of it warm and dry. The combs on the sides of the hives will get cold enough to condense water vapor for the bees to use.

    I would also wrap the hives to keep wind out, and face the entrance away from the prevailing winds.

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
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    244

    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    I have used them since I started. This will be my third winter coming up and I have not lost a hive over the winter months yet. I did have a NUC die off last winter late February, but it was formed late in the year and really was not strong enough going into winter.

    I used this design for mine the first two winters - 2 hives first winter (that was the very warm winter), and 4 hives last winter.

    http://www.beebehavior.com/THSC_Unit.php

    This year, I have 17 hives going into winter (I expect some losses this year) and not enough time to build this style box. I'm going to use 2x6 and build a box that I will allow the bottom to be replaced. #8 hardware cloth in the winter, and 1/4 ply when I want to have a hive top feeder (like the fatbeeman design). I'll make the insides swappable to maximize the utility of them. I plan to fill the new boxes with cedar chips this year.

    Whatever you decide, make sure you have a top vent to let the moisture escape. If you just have an inner cover over the cluster and not anything to absorb the moisture, make sure your hive tilts back to front, or front to back so the condensation will run down the front or back wall and not drip back onto the cluster.

    Good Luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Battle Ground , Washington, USA
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    756

    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    I have put a queen excluder on top of my double deep boxes, then added a super and filled it up half way with shavings, leave the super lid cracked a bit and it wicked moisture up great.
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
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    2,610

    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    Ventillation and proper insulation practices is key to moisture problems. Although, most of the moisture will be consumed by the bees over the winter.
    As of yet, I have never had an issue with moisture. I may be just lucky in that regard.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morris Plains, NJ USA
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    240

    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    In viewing the many YouTube videos from the Russians on beekeeping, you will see that all they use are two layers of old carpeting or an old pillow above the frames. The hives are often close to falling apart and riddled with air leaks but they couldn't care less. The videos may be in Russian language but you will get the point when you see them push two feet of snow off of the hive, lift the pillow to check the hives. No winter feeding for them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Calgary, Alberta, CA
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    75

    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyR2000 View Post
    So in my quest to provide the best winter experience possible for my bees here in SW CO, I ran into the idea of a quilt box. Has anyone tried them?
    I would consider quilts necessary, and have them on every hive I run. In the winter, I fill with leaves for the insulation/wicking, and in the summer, I empty the leaves and they act as an air conditioner.

    I've created step by step instructions at:

    http://members.shaw.ca/metropropolis...th%20Quilt.pdf

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Viola, OR, USA
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    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    Why not use a standard Vivaldi ventilation board and fill with shavings or burlap? Isn't that the same as a quilt box?

  9. #9
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    Feb 2012
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    Calgary, Alberta, CA
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    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cascade Hunter View Post
    Why not use a standard Vivaldi ventilation board and fill with shavings or burlap? Isn't that the same as a quilt box?
    The Vivaldi looks like a good product. It is just one of the many variations of quilt.

    It may not be readily available to some, or some may feel they can build better and/or cheaper.

    If you prefer to buy rather than build, the Vivaldi looks perfectly fine.

  10. #10
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    Strafford County, NH
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    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    Metropropolis, that was about the best step by step with photos I've seen. I also like your idea of storing the entrance reducer in there.

    I was concerned the bees might chew thru aluminum screening, so I opted for the hardware cloth but it's closer to 1/4 than 1/8 so we'll see how that goes. Might need a lining cloth/pillow case. I don't think you'd need a cross bar with hardware cloth tho.

  11. #11
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    May 2012
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    Durango, Colorado
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    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    Quote Originally Posted by NewbeeInNH View Post
    Metropropolis, that was about the best step by step with photos I've seen. I also like your idea of storing the entrance reducer in there.

    I was concerned the bees might chew thru aluminum screening, so I opted for the hardware cloth but it's closer to 1/4 than 1/8 so we'll see how that goes. Might need a lining cloth/pillow case. I don't think you'd need a cross bar with hardware cloth tho.
    Mine are building wax and/ or propolising part of the inner cover ventilation hole. I checked their feed yesterday and noticed a pile of bees hanging from the quilt box. They don't appear to be chewing through the aluminum. I did notice a few shavings from the quilt box on the bottom board yesterday, but not so much to be concerned.

    The only homemade version I have is the one I built to ventilate my hive last year. It was so hot last year...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
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    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    SunnyR2000:

    Those are some great ideas. My only concern would be the straw bales close to the hives. Here, in NW Ohio, those are often used in the same manner to insulate well housings and some times mobile homes. The issue is that they also become rodent city. You mentioned you already have mouse guards on the bottom - make sure you have them on the top, too.

    Mouse damage is not pretty (and I hate the little rascals, too).

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    Quote Originally Posted by merince View Post
    SunnyR2000:

    Those are some great ideas. My only concern would be the straw bales close to the hives. Here, in NW Ohio, those are often used in the same manner to insulate well housings and some times mobile homes. The issue is that they also become rodent city. You mentioned you already have mouse guards on the bottom - make sure you have them on the top, too.

    Mouse damage is not pretty (and I hate the little rascals, too).
    Agreed. Hopefully, the electric poultry net fence along with placing the straw on movable pallets will help keep the mice at bay. Thought having a wind block was worth then risk?

  14. #14
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    Aug 2012
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    grand rapids, michigan
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    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    Anyone see any downside to using regular window screen across the bottom of the box instead of coarser harware cloth? There'd be no concern of the insulating material getting in to the hive.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    Quote Originally Posted by frankthomas View Post
    Anyone see any downside to using regular window screen across the bottom of the box instead of coarser harware cloth? There'd be no concern of the insulating material getting in to the hive.
    That's what I did, seems to be working.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Viola, OR, USA
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    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    Resurrecting this thread with another rookie question. How are you winter feeding with a quilt box installed. Are you putting fondant directly on the frames, than a spacer and than the QB?

  17. #17
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    I put mine over the empty super containing the candy or fondant. I also fill the empty space in the super with pieces of burlap.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  18. #18
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    Feb 2012
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, CA
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    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    Quote Originally Posted by NewbeeInNH View Post
    Metropropolis, that was about the best step by step with photos I've seen. I also like your idea of storing the entrance reducer in there.
    Well thank you! There are a few more on my site, and more in the pipe: members.shaw.ca/metropropolis/‎

    Quote Originally Posted by NewbeeInNH View Post
    I was concerned the bees might chew thru aluminum screening, so I opted for the hardware cloth but it's closer to 1/4 than 1/8 so we'll see how that goes. Might need a lining cloth/pillow case. I don't think you'd need a cross bar with hardware cloth tho.

    You make a good point. I used #8 Hardware Cloth myself, and my suggesting Aluminum screen as an alternative was unhelpful. I'll have to revise that.

    In regards to the crossbar.... My initial versions lacked a crossbar, and I found that the screen was being attached to the top bars, which put stress on the staples when lifting the quilt off.

    The crossbar gives extra support to the screen, but repositioning inwards draws the screen taut, keeping it off of the top of frames, and allowing the bees a little space to move as well.
    Last edited by Metropropolis; 10-17-2013 at 05:48 PM.

  19. #19
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    Strafford County, NH
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    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    Quote Originally Posted by Metropropolis View Post
    In regards to the crossbar.... My initial versions lacked a crossbar, and I found that the screen was being attached to the top bars, which put stress on the staples when lifting the quilt off.
    Aha. Good to know.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Cambridge Mn USA
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    31

    Default Re: Quilt Box?

    I built 3 of these just wondering bees, quilt box, inner cover, tele cover in that order. Is this right ? Also have made entrance reducers for 1 bee width is this correct or do I need wider than 1 bee width ? Quilt boxes have 4 1 Inch screened holes is this enough ventilation or should I put more ? Get's mighty cold here in winter hope to get the girls through. Also going to wrap with 15 lb felt. Any tips would bee appreciated. I know there are people on here that live in my state maybe you could chime in.

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